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Critics' Praise for A Single Desperate Prayer

"An honest, sometimes raw account of a young girl's first years as a street kid that is both heartbreaking and life - affirming - A SINGLE DESPERATE PRAYER makes readers believe that faith can take you far. Ultimately A SINGLE DESPERATE PRAYER is an uplifting memoir of one person's journey to faith and how love guided her to it."


As a little girl, the author is sent to knock on neighbors' doors for drug-making ingredients. When the author is given a puppy, she lets it fall out the window, because there's not enough food for another mouth. Eventually orphaned—a blessing?—she thrives in state care. In a charming passage, Ritz discovers Jesus as she learns to read. That said, religion is not the subject of this book. Its a candid, clear-eyed guide into the everyday horror of a young life in post-Soviet Ukraine. The frank prose is tough, tender, and full of grace.

- Eric Hoffer Book Awards

Written in deceptively simplistic prose, the book’s great strength is the arc that its heroine follows from orphanhood to maturity, from poverty to adoption. Rather brilliantly, Ritz’s story is structured in such a way that it mirrors the main emotional beats of Dickens’great novel David Copperfield—the death of a mother, the desperation of street life, the discovery of artistic gifts, the acquisition of social status, and the joy of being welcomed into a new family. These beats arranged in this way can never fail to touch the heart, and Ritz’s unsentimental portrayal of drug addiction, sexual abuse, and suicide adds a powerful modern gloss to what is, at its core, a coming-of-age story. This is a book to make one grateful to live in an advanced nation, featuring a heroine of uncommon strength and resilience.”

-The US Review of Books

“Ludmila’s initial search for sustenance and the heart - wrenching separation from Alyona, highlight her resilience and vulnerability, making her a character I constantly empathized with and rooted for…the narrative is intriguing and captivating."

 - 5 out of 5 stars. 

- Onlinebookclub

“This is a poignant early life account, told in a colloquial first person present tense, as though child Ludmila has come from the past to recount her experiences. The present tense of the writing makes it even more impactful and evocative. You aren’t given many hints about what the future holds, but you find joy in moments with Alyona and watch as she rediscovers hope through a newfound Christian faith. From where this narrative ends you know that there are more big changes to come, hopefully for the better, as Ludmila finds that the “single desperate prayer” of the title starts to come true. As her prayer included seeing Alyona again I did feel that perhaps this book ended slightly too early, I expected some update on whether the sisters were reunited but it may be that the author plans to cover this in another book. You are however left with a bright feeling of hope, as Ludmila’s world is changed and a new sister enters her life.”  



More than a memoir, A Single Desperate Prayer is a riveting account of one resilient girl’s life in a Crimean Ghetto, replete with equal amounts of tragedy and triumph. 

Told through the eyes of a child, the reader witnesses Ludmila’s growth and maturation as she starts from practically nothing, learns how to beg in the streets, loses all of what little she had, is left to the wolves, and then saved by grace - all before her fifteenth birthday. 

Witness the miracles that her single prayer brought to life. Without being preachy - because children certainly aren’t - Ludmila lets you see what happens when you open yourself up to the power of faith. You’ll be on the edge of your seat; you’ll laugh; you’ll cry. You’ll get angry at the injustice, and you’ll champion our heroine. 

You can’t help but love and celebrate Ludmila as she learns how the forces of good work in a world that seems totally dark, and how a heart transformed can withstand anything.

 This page - turning story is sure to enrich every reader’s life with its powerful message of determination and hope. 

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