Maria Luhrs-Ruban
Book Venture Publishing (2018)
ISBN 9781640698659
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views (11/18)

Johnny Baccaro is young, healthy, single, and has endless potential until it is all taken away in an instant.  “Crossed That Bridge” by Maria Luhrs-Ruban provides an incredible account of Johnny Baccaro’s journey of recovery after being hit by a car while jogging which leaves him with severe injuries to his spine and a useless left leg.

Although Johnny comes from a loving Italian family who support him 100 percent, nothing prepares them for his defeatist attitude and the constant babble about being handicapped. Regardless of what positive information the medical staff provide Johnny displays a hostile, negative and sometimes volatile behavior.

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The author has done an excellent job in her research about spinal injuries and provides just enough medical information to readers without bogging down the text. As a Psychologist who has worked with individuals and families who experience life-changing events, her narrative on Johnny’s negative attitude certainly mirrors what I have experienced.

I found Annie McNeal to be the saving grace of this story with her positive outlook, supportive behavior and unconditional love for Johnny and his family. Given that she was a blind date for Johnny, she turned out to be his strength; she looked at him as a person, not as a handicap.

I love stories about Italian families, the dominant role the mother plays in the family, and the portrayal of how to fix anything is by cooking. I wasn’t particularly fond of Johnny who took his anguish out on everyone and second-guessed what others thought. He appeared to be somewhat spoiled to me.  There were a lot of people revolving in and out of the story which for some may be hard to understand the depth of various relationships introduced. Overall, the flow was good, and the writing was informative without being too overwhelming.

“Crossed That Bridge” by Maria Luhrs-Ruban is a story about healing and coming to terms with changes in one's life that will impact not only you but those around you. I recommend this read as it is as true to life as can be.