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Editorial Reviews

Here If You Need Me, written and read by Kate Braestrup, no doubt delights fans of the Unitarian Universalist minister who also serves as chaplain of Maine’s Game Warden Service. But this is a book that deserves a wider audience than those already familiar with Rev. Braestrup’s work. Here If You Need Me has meaning for anyone who has known the grief of losing a loved one or anyone who has witnessed the resilience of the human spirit. It is a soul-comforting book to listen to and one to keep in mind as a gift.

Braestrup’s reading of her memoir — about the loss of her husband and how profoundly her life changed — is reminiscent of a radio play. The author’s talent for mimicry gives voice to Game Warden Service radio dispatchers, Game Warden colleagues, her four children as they begin to live their lives without their beloved father, a vapid girlfriend of a missing drug dealer, a bereaved wife, a not-so-bereaved brother, and more characters along the way. Listener warning: it helps to have tissues handy as it is possible hear Braestrup’s voice clench and almost break during certain detailed and personal descriptions of her first husband’s unexpected death.

Here If You Need Me also deals with Braestrup’s confrontation with death — and with love and miracles — as part of her out-of-the-ordinary job. It focuses on the humanity of the individuals in the Maine Game Warden Service who devote their lives to taking care of the outdoors; work that often includes rescues and, sadly, recoveries. The result is thoroughly engaging storytelling with even a few laughs.

More than “just” a memoir, Here If You Need Me serves up a palatable portion of theology, encouraging listeners to give thought to the notion of miracles and where exactly God might be in the midst of tragedy. More than anything else, though, the book is a message of hope: of doors and windows being opened, new chapters beginning, and of love continuing, as always, to grow. —Carole Chouinard

Publisher's Summary

When the oldest of Kate Braestrup's four children was 10 years old, her husband, a Maine state trooper, was killed in a car accident. Stunned and grieving, she decided to pursue her husband's dream of becoming a Unitarian minister. She eventually began working with the Maine Game Warden Service, which conducts the state's search-and-rescue operations when people go missing in the wilderness.

Whether she is with parents whose six-year-old daughter has wandered into the woods, or wardens as they search for a snowmobile rider gone under the ice, or a man whose sister left an infant seat and a suicide note in her car by the side of the road, Braestrup provides solace, comfort, and spiritual guidance when it's needed most. And she comes to discover that giving comfort is both a high calling and a precious gift.

In this account of her life and the events of her unusual job - sometimes joyful, sometimes heartbreaking - Braestrup is warm, unsentimental ("No one is immune to the Plucky Widow story!" she acknowledges), and generous. Here If You Need Me is a funny, frank, and deeply moving story of faith and hope.

©2007 Kate Baestrup; (P)2007 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Braestrup's insightful essays are extraordinarily well written, mingling elements of police procedural and touching love story with trenchant observations about life and death....always with compassion and a concern for the big questions inescapably provoked by tragic events." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • William
  • florence, SC, USA
  • 08-25-07

Very Enjoyable

I picked up this book and was thrilled with it, it is a wondderful book that is written in a way you come to understand the suthors veiw and it opens deeper meanings to ponder. I recommend it highly, the book is written by a UU minister, but does not come off preachy it comes off as a book written from the heart.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Worthy re-read

I first read this 4 years ago and liked it a lot. Since then, my mother died and I was diagnosed with cancer. Listening to Kate Braestrup read it this time was a new experience, rich with insight I am now able to appreciate differently, with more gratitude. I plan to listen again soon-- savoring the resonating offerings, proffered with such delicious words and gentleness, without shying away from some of what is genuinely hard about living our very human lives.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

True Grit and Tenderness

This audio book listen is a combined listen of grit, tears, heartbreak, and triumph not only of a woman and her family but the town and spirit of life. Definitely one of the best "reads" I have had in a long time and it definitely kept me coming back for more each day. It is hard to believe that this is a fairly new novelist since the storyline moves along in a present tense format, while Kate artfully interjects reflections combined with her own insights and spiritual questions. Don't shy away from this book if you are wary of a "religious" read or if you are concerned this is a "woman's perspective". The theme of the book holds to the truest sense of exploration of religious and spirituality issues and questions from her "concerned" family, friends, and self which addresses what we all have thought at one time or another with great finesse and care. The novel is careful not to draw conclusions or make judgments of any class, religion, or stance but to respect each and every living creature with honor and remembrance that is fitting and desired. The author reads the book giving each turn of phrase and chapter the appropriate inflection of a word or turn of phrase. Both intensity, pacing, and emotion is added to the text through the reading that may have been lost by a third party reader who had not lived and experienced the joy and loss that we experience with and through the woman who is Kate and her loving and quirky family who jumps from the pages. Five stars and happy listening. It will be joyous and you will be glad you did.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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The author has had an interesting life, although a tragedy occurred that ended up being part of the reason her life took the path it did. She sounds like a really nice lady. She did a nice job narrating her own work, as sometimes that doesn’t work out as well. Good listen.

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Warm and Loving view of Life and Death

Really rich story. The author's sense of humor carries one thru the sad or disturbing bits.

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As a chaplain, I resonate with this book

What did you love best about Here If You Need Me?

Her honesty and authentic care for those she serves and her humor

Who was your favorite character and why?

Kate herself

Have you listened to any of Kate Braestrup’s other performances before? How does this one compare?


Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

the unflenching expression of love by her children after a fire accident. It's all about love.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • jeaan
  • atlanta, georgia, United States
  • 01-15-13

very good audiobook!

Would you consider the audio edition of Here If You Need Me to be better than the print version?

i don't have the print version.

What did you like best about this story?

it is easy to relate and understand.

What about Kate Braestrup’s performance did you like?

it was clearly communicated.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?


Any additional comments?

she was very humble and empathetic.

  • Overall
  • Heather
  • Putney, Vermont, United States
  • 08-27-11

Just magnificent.

A beautiful book. The author's voice is unusually well fitted for narrating an audio book. I'm always a little apprehensive when I see narrated by the author books. The book is interesting and profound. It's somewhat simple and yet, not. It's just wonderful. I recommend this one highly.

  • Overall
  • Elizabeth
  • Dillsburg, PA, United States
  • 09-14-10

Soothing and Touching

Kate Braestrup's calm and quirky voice contributes to the profound and comforting message of this book. With light humor and sometimes shockingly real descriptions of death and dying, Braestrup takes us on a tour of the life a recently recently bereaved park chaplain and mom of four kids. Her observations about the afterlife and coping with loss are open-ended and accommodating to a variety of religious viewpoints. I lost my father suddenly in 2007 and I found this to be the most helpful, and most honest book on grief and death that I have read.