So Many Angels: A Family Crisis and the Community That Got Us Through It

By Diana Stelfox Cook

She Writes Press

Reviewed by Fred Beauford

Diana Stelfox Cook

This Was No Big Apple

All it took was a single phone call, and Diana Cook’s seemingly perfect marriage was over. Her husband, a grade schoolteacher and hockey coach, called to say that he was in jail for attempted solicitation of a fourteen-year-old boy over the internet.

All at once all hell breaks loose. What to tell her two young boys? What will her friends say? Will he lose his job? Will he go to jail? How could he do something like that?

But the worse was soon to come. After picking up her sons and after telling them that, “Boys, Dad and I had a big fight, and he’s not going to come home tonight,” the phone rings.

“We had been home an hour when the ringing phone startled me. I saw the Boston Globe on the caller ID screen, and I was stunned. I picked up the phone, and said “Hello,” and a reporter barked at me, “Would you like to comment on your husband’s arrest?”

A few minutes later the phone rang again, only this time it was from a reporter from a local television station.

Now it was time to call for help. First, it was Marylee. Then her friend Patty showed up “at seven in the morning with the local paper in her hand. Jed (the husband) was on the cover.” Soon her house “was full of friends who had brought food and stopped by to see what they could do.”

One of the things they tried to get Diane not to see, as she sat on her couch crying: Don’t look out the window! “I ignored them,” she wrote. “I felt compelled to look. I was shocked and totally unprepared for what I saw: every local media outlet had sent a truck… There were more than a dozen giant news vans parked on both sides of my usually quiet suburban street.”  

I was immediately drawn into this often-sad tale, and not just because of the ease of writing in this memoir and first book.

I am a New Yorker. The Big Apple. Something like what happened to her, and the uproar that it caused in my neck of the woods would have been buried in a paragraph on page 20 the next day, if at all, unless the perpetrator was a well-known celebrity. Then the tabloids would have a field day.

Cook had many problems to overcome, but was able to put her new life in order. But just when things had settled down and she was working full time, and caring for her two young boys, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Still, through it all she learned that, even in her darkest moments, she was not alone. Her community was there to help her and the boys. This is a book well worth reading, especially for us big city types. We have a lot to learn from it.

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