Chasing the Daylight Joanna Rakowski book review
book review

Book Review: Chasing the Daylight

CHASING THE DAYLIGHT by Joanna Rakowski is a bittersweet journey of a woman as she finds the courage to chase her dreams. Check out what Tomi Alo has to say in her book review of this indie memoir.

Chasing the Daylight

by Joanna Rakowski

Genre: Nonfiction / Memoir

ISBN: 9781669869405

Print Length: 412 pages

Publisher: Xlibris

Reviewed by Tomi Alo

From ballerina to soldier, experience the bittersweet journey of a woman as she finds the courage to chase her dreams. 

 Joanna Rakowski’s debut memoir, Chasing the Daylight, sparks a will in its reader to keep pushing and chasing their dreams. The book is a detailed account of her journey to becoming a Military Intelligence Officer.

Rakowski, originally from Warsaw, Poland, immigrated to the United States in 1995 after marrying her husband Alec. Before coming to the United States, Joanna spent most of her life pursuing her passion and deep love for ballet. She lived and breathed all things relating to ballet and even went to school for it. 

However, coming to the US wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for Joanna. It wasn’t easy bouncing right back from where she left off in her ballet career due to a number of reasons. As she struggled to fully assimilate into the new culture and different language, she felt distanced from who she once was.

Fate led Joanna on a new path, one where she could find herself again, separate herself from the fragile ballerina back in Poland, and transform her into “a hard-core US Army soldier” who is ready to serve her country with all her heart and might.

Divided into eight parts, the book covers most of her military training right from the point of her enlistment into the army to the end of her training as a military officer. 

Through Joanna’s reflections and encounters, we gain insight into themes such as courage, strength, leaping into the unknown, perseverance, self-reflection, hope, dedication, and fighting for what you want. Chasing the Daylight is a powerful testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the pursuit of one’s dreams.

I can sit here and gush about so many things that I loved about this book, but what stood out to me the most was Joanna’s will to succeed and her courage to go after what she wanted. To still have hope, will, and strength on a completely new and different journey is never easy. Many people don’t like change and are scared of the unknown. Many end up being stuck in the endless cycle of what-ifs, feeling unfulfilled and defeated. 

I loved how Joanna didn’t succumb to this mindset, despite her failures and setbacks. I am happy she was brave enough to pursue a completely different life outside the one she has always known. Finding hope and drawing strength from the smallest things, even while unsure and uncertain about what tomorrow would bring. 

“It was my first “military sunrise”. I wondered how often I would be able to see them. Would they bring me hope in moments of loss and despair? For now, however, this sunrise symbolized the rising of my will. The will to succeed.”

It’s easy to get absorbed in Joanna’s story and feel her losses and wins with her.  Her writing style is calm, like reading a journal, and it’s never stressful or overwhelming.

I’m inspired by how Joanna slowly but steadily made waves in the military space, achieving one small victory after another. I was silently rooting for her and happy with each achievement. What an amazing, bittersweet journey. I am grateful for her sharing it with us. This memoir is a captivating and inspiring experience that leaves a lasting impression.

“Even though I had never seen the battlefield, I was still a hero. I had the courage to pursue my dream as far as it would take me. I had the courage to change and reinvent myself, from a fragile ballerina to a hard-core U.S. Army intelligence officer. And now, I would have the courage to change again.”

I would recommend Chasing the Daylight to anyone seeking a reminder that anything is possible with determination and perseverance and to those who would use the book as a form of inspiration to keep chasing their dreams.

Thank you for reading Tomi Alo’s book review of Chasing the Daylight by Joanna Rakowski! If you liked what you read, please spend some more time with us at the links below.

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