Book Reviews:


Kirkus ReviewsAn uplifting story of one woman's compassionate aid to wounded children.

Almost 15 years ago, part-time singer/songwriter Montanti was battling severe depression and panic attacks brought on by the deaths of her mother, grandmother and first love. Unable to write or perform her music, she was forced out of this "very dark hole" by a friend who asked her to help with a fundraiser for war-torn Bosnia. Seeing pictures of children who had lost limbs during the war triggered an emotional response, allowing Montanti "to hear a faint melody.” From there, she embarked on her own crusade to aid these wounded children. She quit her full-time job and started the Global Medical Relief Fund, a nonprofit organization run from Montanti's walk-in closet that would bring wounded children to the United States to receive free prosthetics. Aided primarily by the Shriners, Montanti opened her home, life and heart to these children, giving hope to the victims and their families. Despite the difficulties in obtaining documentation needed by Homeland Security and reams of red tape to access exit visas from foreign countries, Montanti has successfully helped more than 150 children from around the world. Bosnians, Haitians, Afghanis and Iraqis have all shared her home, with music and laughter serving as the universal languages. When asked why she has done so much for these children, the author replies, "how could I not?”—she believes "there are actions we can all take in our daily lives to help others in need and create a global family."

A moving testament to the will and single-mindedness of one woman determined to help those in need.

Publishers WeeklyAfter her parents’ divorce and the deaths of her mother, an old boyfriend, and grandmother, Montani was holed up in her small Staten Island apartment working as a medical assistant and suffering from debilitating panic attacks and depression. Her fog lifted when she wrote and performed a song for a local Bosnian relief fund-raiser in 1997. She was inspired to do whatever she could when she found a letter from a 14-year-old Bosnian boy named Kenan who had lost his arms and a leg in a land mine. He had outgrown his donated prosthetics and desperately needed new ones. “I want to help,” Montanti said without hesitation, realizing her own problems paled in comparison. Soliciting donations from companies, surgeons, and airlines, the Global Medical Relief Fund was born. Kenan and his mother flew to New York City and stayed with the author while he underwent physical therapy and fittings. With no money, no office (except her closet), and, eventually, no job, the GMRF went on to bring more than 150 children to the U.S. to be fit with prosthetics. The author’s spirits are as changed in this straightforward and sweet narrative as the lives of those she helped—and she finds hope, happiness, and love along her difficult but rewarding journey. (Aug.)
Library JournalMontanti, Elissa with Jennifer Haupt. I’ll Stand by You: Changing the World One Child at a Time. Dutton. Aug. 2012. 288p. ISBN 9780525952954. $25.95. MEMOIR

Billed as a memoir but more, actually. Fourteen years ago, to overcome her grief after the death of several loved ones, Staten Island lab technician Montanti decided to help collect school supplies for children in Bosnia but discovered they need something different. After helping a child horribly maimed by a landmine, she founded her one-woman organization, the Global Medical Relief Fund, which has since helped bring 150 injured children from war zones in Haiti, Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere to this country for treatment. Already lots of coverage, including two 60 Minutes segments; this book shows us what can be done.


More to come.


Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Dutton Adult (August 2, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0525952950
ISBN-13: 978-0525952954

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