This Life I Live (Rory Feek, © 2017, W Publishing Group)
Disclosure: I received a free copy of the above book for review purposes. This review reflects my own personal opinion, and I have in no way received financial compensation for it.
It is rare for a husband and wife team to become a successful duo in the music industry. It is equally rare for their private relationship to be as successful as their public career, even more so in the face of overwhelming hardship. Yet that is precisely the story of country music duo, Joey + Rory, as captured by Rory Feek in his recently released book, This Life I Live.
Part autobiography, part love story, This Life I Live chronicles Rory’s life from childhood to adulthood, until he met and married the love of his life, Joey Martin. In the book, Rory openly shares painful memories from his early, rather rocky childhood. It is no surprise that these experiences later shaped his young adult years, where he walked an aimless path that left him empty and hurting. A single dad of two teenage girls by his late 30’s, and relying on strategies like “duct tape parenting,” he came to know there had to be more to life than what he was living, yet he was powerless to know how to find it. Coming to realize that he needed God’s help to change, and praying to “experience love that wasn’t terrible,” a slow transformation began to take place. Rory’s path soon crossed Joey’s, and he began to see what life could be like when God was allowed to guide it.
That’s not to say that Joey and Rory’s life together was automatically “happily ever after” from that point on. Happiness took a lot of hard work, coming through an unwavering commitment to each other through the difficulties. In the book, Rory recounts their struggles in becoming a blended family, and of being unified in pursuing careers and personal dreams. In an unexpected turn of events, the couple was invited to audition for CMT’s “Can You Duet” television show in 2008, and their career as an award-winning husband and wife duo began. As they began to receive recognition for their musical talent, their joy was made full by the birth of their beautiful daughter, Indiana. Indiana was born with Down’s syndrome, and as Joey and Rory accepted and adapted to this new reality, they received the devastating news that Joey had cervical cancer. The strong foundation they had laid in earlier years would be essential as they endured their biggest trial so far, fighting cancer head on. The remainder of the book recounts Joey’s cancer journey, which sadly ended in March of 2016, and Rory’s subsequent challenge to go on living as a single father of now 3 daughters.
Like the signature overalls that Rory is known for, the This Life I Live story is shared in an open and unpretentious manner. Rory does not skip the more hair-raising details from his past that others might cover up out of fear of what others may think. To him, it sets the context for his personal transformation in the light of God’s and Joey’s love. While it takes until about half-way through the book to get to that turning point, I found myself cheering as the couple blossomed through a relationship of trust and putting each other first. Rory shared an important reminder for anyone wanting a serious relationship to take note of: “In order for me to be with a great woman, I was going to have to learn to be a great man.” Rory tells it like it is – that we must work on our own brokenness if we are to live in wholeness with others.
This touching book will appeal to country music fans, to those who enjoy a real-life story of love and redemption, and to those wanting to know how a surviving spouse can live with hope after the death of their loved one. To purchase a copy of This Life I Live, visit http://www.thislifeilivebook.com. To learn more about Joey + Rory, and how Rory is living after his wife’s passing, you can follow Rory’s blog here. My prayer is that Rory continues to find himself surrounded by God’s grace, mercy and strength for the path ahead.