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Life’s best journeys start without a destination, but with two suitcases–one for desperation and one for courage.

"Feeling misunderstood is a terrible burden. It keeps us from connecting with others, from feeling seen, known and valued. Instead, we become entangled and entrapped in a place beyond the reach of anyone who could embrace us, because, and not in spite, of who we are. And if we don’t have words for what’s on our hearts, it helps to simply hear the voice of a survivor.  While listening to their story, we hear an echo of ourselves that carries the invaluable hope that if they made it through, we can, too." 

Heading into a new life of uncertainty after losing her family in the fires of divorce, abuse, cancer and temporary mental illness, Clarissa embarks on a worldwide quest for identity, and peace with her past and Germany's history, juxtaposed with discoveries of her ethnic roots in America. Taking to "the ends of the earth," her tired soul comes back to life amidst the magnificent beauty of New Zealand, unaware that her journey to "Middle-earth" would ultimately lead her to make the biggest decision of all by discovering who she never knew she could be.

Clarissa's uniquely captivating story is of a young adult who, in the face of incredible losses, found herself out of options. It is a skillfully crafted portrait that is both tender and courageously honest. Her voice stands out as one that masters the balance between funny and sincere, wise and innocent, otherworldly and relevant. 

Quotes + Excerpts from Fiery Cocoon

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Clarissa’s German-American family is portrayed with a captivating warmth that is rare. The images are vivid and incredibly moving as she literally brings everyone in her family (back) to life. This non-traditional narrative is told with passion, tenderness, pain and humor. You can’t help but devour the book.
— Stan West, Journalist & Documentarian, Chicago, IL
It would have taken anyone a lot of strength to survive an adolescent season this harrowing. I can’t imagine the courage it took to allow herself to be this vulnerable and honest.
— Harry Rickets, Author & Professor at Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand
Here is a beautiful faith journey exquisitely told through beautiful word paintings seeping with the intrigue that only a non-native speaker recklessly in love with the English language can offer.
— Laura Knoerr, Author, Elgin, United States

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