From Grief to Glory: An Otto-Biography
Cataclysmic events, some representing life's most grievous tragedies, have struck Otto Rieke's family. Tragedy and grief, viewed retrospectively, have rendered the subsequent glory of life all the more glorious. Life would have been unlivable, and this book unreadable, were they a mere cosmic pity party. After enduring a full circle along the rim of hell on Earth; and having survived almost in tact, hopefully this book will portray the Riekes' ascension to the glory that has been most of the family's, and Otto's own precarious existence on planet Earth. The author's essentially privileged, fulfilling, and competitive existence (prior to the anguishing events of mid-life), are narrated fully from birth with a comedic flair, and did prepare him for the survival of the really "tough stuff." The Rieke's did not just endure it all, but have thrived, and have ascended time and again. Life continues as a search for the ultimate Truth, and for the Glory that is only God's to possess completely. The family lives to seek its share of that glory. It is Otto's hope that this book is fun and non-controversial. He has attempted to accomplish that by staying on topics about which he claims expertise: politics, religion, and sex. If anything he says offends you, then you need to, either: 1. Repent, OR, 2. Sue him He apologizes only to those who were not offended, but who should have been. The author further hopes that you take the "slight" as it was intended, and hurt all the more. However, seriously, it is also hoped that this book is as entertaining as the exuberant feeling that its writing experience has given Otto. Family is who the Rieke's are. Family is the root of our society, and the family home is the first and most important school that our children will forever attend. Our parents are the first and the most important teachers that our children will forever have. Otto's stunning, wonderful wife of an earlier twenty five years, and of such unpretentious beauty, Mary Beth, and Otto raised five absolutely beautiful children, all of whom have encountered life very successfully. They are successful most of all by being good and loving people, as well as in all their spiritual, academic, athletic, personal, and professional endeavors. All of the Rieke children graduated from St Peters Catholic grade school, and local high schools, Rockhurst, St Teresa's, and Notre Dame de Sion, all of which are in Kansas City, Mo. They and their spouses subsequently have graduated from various universities, including Rockhurst University, Central Missouri State University, Tulsa University, Syracuse University School of Journalism, Missouri University Medical School, St Louis University, The Medical School of Washington University in St Louis, Dartmouth College Medical School, and finally a post residency Fellow at the Harvard School of Medicine. The Rieke children, including their respective spouses are blessed beyond what would seem possible all in one family. The calamities referred to above, and subsequent grief, have chronologically seemed to coincide with - and maybe have been the genesis of, a subsequently inspired inner spiritual strength - indeed an almost supernatural strength to survive. Persistent strings of well earned successes at all personal levels of character, and by all worldly measure, might well be rooted in the strength of the Riekes' souls to survive. The family members have ascended to new lives with the strength to carry on, to love, and indeed to thrive. That, and the author's love relationships with them all, is the grandeur, the glory, of this book. No names have been changed to protect the innocent; there are none. Otto has an unparalleled flair to entertain, and to tell riveting stories with great passion. He will seize your very soul. If you can remain calmly seated while reading this book, then it is a failure. Get ready for the ride.
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Reviewed by Carol Thompson for Readers' Favorite
From Grief to Glory an "Otto-Biography" by Otto Rieke is an amazing story and one that will pull you in from the first sentence. Rieke, in his author bio, says it better than anyone else could.
"Whether by circumstance, disposition or both, Otto Rieke has led a curious and comical life, and recounts it with great passion. First and forever foremost, Otto, and his wife of many years, parented five beautiful children. They currently have four grandchildren, each of whom is a uniquely wonderful light in life. Otto was High School Valedictorian, Magna Cum Laude graduate from Rockhurst Jesuit University, and has performed graduate work in Mathematics, Nuclear Physics, and Political Science. He has earned varsity letters in all sports. Otto is a veteran, a veritable war hero, as the "gunning guard" for the Brigade Bombardiers at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo, while the real war, the one in Vietnam, raged without him...He was born and raised in Jefferson City Missouri, but has yet to grow up...The Rieke family has suffered cataclysmic tragedies in life, which have rocked hearts, minds, and spirits."
Rieke writes with such prose, intelligence, wisdom, and emotion that it's easy to forget your own surroundings and become lost in his world. Rieke captivates the reader with tales of his life, beginning with his ex-wife's run-off (which he tells with wit) and the death of his two sons (heart-wrenching) to his more resolved life, with twists, turns, drama, heartbreak, and everything else in between. Rieke's writing is so engaging that it's difficult to stop reading until the end. It is a riveting story and one that puts life in perspective. I would give this more than five stars if I could.