Inspirational Book Review: Realer Than Real, by Ryan Wilkins


This post was featured on Her View From Home, December 26, 2013.

In 2004, Ryan Wilkin’s life, and the lives of his family were changed forever. Ryan is the oldest son in the Wilkins’ family, with two younger sisters, Amber and Kayla. Realer Than Real, A True Story Of Grace, Hope, and Healing, by Ryan Wilkins is an amazing testament to the human spirit, the power of faith, family and love. The Wilkins family was a normal Nebraska family, with three active kids, and a loving mom and dad. One night they received a phone call that no parent ever wants to get. Their youngest daughter, Kayla, had been in a terrible car accident, and they later found out she had suffered a life-threatening head-injury. Facing their worst nightmare, Ryan, and his parents prayed that Kayla would make it. Several agonizing hours passed. The Wilkins family barely made it through the tragedy of losing Kayla. A few years later, their other daughter, Amber was in a similar accident, and also sustained a life-threatening head injury. Two daughters in similar accidents years apart, yet this amazing family turned to faith, and instead of allowing the life-changing events to define them, they turned to God to strengthen them.


Kayla in Her Cheer Uniform

Realer Than Real is a true story of a Nebraska family, both heartbreaking, and genuine, sprinkled with humor throughout the entire book. Realer Than Real is impossible to put down once you start reading it. Ryan and his entire family are kind, giving, honest, God-loving people.


Amber’s Car in Impound After Her Accident

Even if you don’t share Ryan’s personal beliefs, I don’t feel it matters. Ryan is so passionate about his faith, and so sincere it doesn’t matter. Realer Than Real ignited my faith, reminding me what is truly important in life, and what should come first. Ryan and his family open their hearts to their readers, sharing many details regarding their personal struggles in healing. This book is a true story of finding hope, forgiveness, love, and trust, but most of all this book is about finding and strengthening faith in the midst of tragedy. I have already recommended this book to ten people, and would suggest this book to everyone! Seriously, this is a MUST read!


Ryan and Kayla on Kayla’s First Birthday

Order Realer Than Real, by Ryan Wilkins.

From the back of the book: “Compelling, gritty, heartbreaking, beautiful, humorous, and altogether God-honoring . . . a real work from the heart” are just a few words readers have used to describe Realer Than Real, a true story of a Nebraska family’s journey to find grace, hope, and healing amidst tragedy, regret, and disappointment.   The tale is told by Ryan, the Wilkins family’s only son, who chronicles a life-changing loss the family suffered in 2004, the tragedy’s impact on the family, and the unique, winding, complex spiritual paths each family member walked before intersecting in the wake of new misfortune.  With candor and perceptiveness, Ryan develops characters the reader feels he or she knows.  He displays a remarkable willingness to be transparent and vulnerable in all aspects of the personal struggle, grief, and suffering that his family endured, individually and collectively.  He seamlessly weaves humor and insight around heavy subjects—including death, disability, divorce, and abuse, among others—and breathes life into the family’s high and lows, incredible miracles and devastating tragedies, in a way that is both honest and instructive. Cumulatively, the Wilkins family’s struggles and setbacks over the past decade seemingly defy all probability that one group could endure so many traumatic events over a relatively short period of time and come through it stronger, not weaker.  But through reliance on their Christian faith and an outpouring of community support, the family withstood and grew through these trials, learning much about God and themselves in the process.  With insight and vulnerability, Realer Than Real captures the struggle, pursuit, perseverance, and restoration that accompany faith.  The book will captivate readers across walks of life, inspiring them to behold their blessings and to trust God through their trials.  “Once you begin reading, it is almost impossible to stop.”

Check back in January, I will be interviewing Ryan about his family and about the book!


Trish Eklund is taking a nontraditional approach to parenting children after divorce and remarriage. Raising her two daughters of ten and fourteen with her husband, ex-husband, and his wife, they consult one another on all parenting decisions. Trish has been featured on, and She is a regular writer on, writer and co-editor for Her View From Omaha. Follow her on Twitter: @trishiewriter, Google +, and Pinterest.


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