Book Review: Melissa
Suicide. It’s an unwelcomed topic in any conversation. It is an unwelcomed enemy in any family. Especially healthy, well-balanced, Christian families like that of Southern Baptist Convention leader Frank Page.
Frank Page, who is Executive Director for the SBC’s Executive Committee, has written an important, compelling, heart-rending book about his family’s personal tragedy of losing his adult daughter Melissa to suicide in November 2009.
From sin to prescription drugs, depression to spiritual warfare, Dr. Page’s book (Melissa: A Father’s Lessons from a Daughter’s Suicide) covers the waterfront in factors that converge to make people suicidal. His book is pastoral in tone but is by no means “preachy.” In fact, if you walk away with one singular impression from the book, it is how much Page and his wife Dayle love Melissa. His perspective is decidedly Christian and draws heavily from the Scriptures, yet the book is approachable for a person of almost any faith.
After all, a tragic number of families in America know the type and kind of grief Dr. Page and his wife Dayle have faced. Suicide is, after all, one of the leading causes of death today, especially among men and youth.
As he says in “Melissa,” you do not get over this kind of grief, you get through it. In his book, Dr. Page walks us through his family’s journey with this precious young lady, who was made in God’s image (Gen. 1:26). He does not gloss over their problems along the way but shows how God never stopped working in her life.
The book also contains powerful letters at the end of each chapter that speak to people with suicidal tendencies. It also ends on a note of “hope” and “peace,” leaving the reader to walk away refreshed.
In reading Dr. Page’s book, the reader will be better equipped to help neighbors, friends, family members and strangers when a crisis may arise. To that end, I highly recommend this resource for people in ministry and every Christian.