While some of the books I review on my site are furnished by the publishers, authors, or publicists for the purpose of review all of my reviews are truthful, honest, and my sincere opinion.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Review: Life in Spite of Me by Kristen Jane Anderson

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

About the Book

She wanted to die. God had other plans.

Why does my life have to be so painful?
What’s wrong with me?
It’s not going to get better.
It could all be over soon, and then I won’t hurt anymore.

Kristen Anderson thought she had the picture-perfect life until strokes of gray dimmed her outlook: three friends and her grandmother died within two years. Still reeling from these losses, she was raped by a friend she thought she could trust. She soon spiraled into a seemingly bottomless depression.

One January night, the seventeen-year-old decided she no longer wanted to deal with the emotional pain that smothered her. She lay down on a set of cold railroad tracks and waited for a freight train to send her to heaven…and peace.

But Kristen's story doesn’t end there.

In Life, In Spite of Me this remarkably joyful young woman shares the miracle of her survival, the agonizing aftermath of her failed suicide attempt, and the hope that has completely transformed her life, giving her a powerful purpose for living.

Her gripping story of finding joy against all odds provides a vivid and unforgettable reminder that life is a gift to be treasured.

Includes notes of encouragement Kristen wishes she had received when she was struggling most.

“Life, In Spite of Me is a remarkable story of life beyond despair and hope that triumphs over tragedy.”
—Louie Giglio, pastor, Passion City Church/The Passion Movement

“Suicide is a liar and a thief. It promises peace to those who are escaping but delivers unimaginable pain and rejection to those left behind. Kristen Jane Anderson’s riveting story unmasks the thief and gives hope a face.”
—Dr. Dennis Rainey, president, FamilyLife Ministries

“When I first met Kristen, I was overwhelmed with her smile, and then I saw her wheelchair. It was a defining moment for me. I had not heard her story or why she’d ended up at Moody. But it was her smile—and it is still her smile—that dismantles me. Kristen has something. It is something otherworldly. She had every reason to die, but now she has every reason to live. I hope you’ll read her story, see her smile, and know why she lives.”
—Michael Easley, former president, Moody Bible Institute

To learn more about Life in Spite of me please visit WaterBrook's website.

Read the first chapter here.

My Review

This was an amazing book. It was so scary, touching, inspirational, and a million other things that aren't coming to mind right now. It was so full of raw emotion that I cried on many occasions while reading this one. I've never contemplated suicide, I've never been raped and yet I connected with everything Kristen was talking about. The way she tells her story I couldn't help but get pulled into it.

I can't imagine having to deal with what she was going through at such a young age. While she didn't have the coping mechanisms to deal with everything it was clearly apparent that there was a reason for her to go through what she did. As she deals with the aftermath of her suicide attempt she seemed to learn what the purpose of her life is.

The writing was pretty good. Again, the raw emotions that came through from the telling of this story were so real. The coauthor is Tricia Goyer, and while there were a few parts that "felt" like her writing for the most part I don't think Tricia's influence in the book really changed the story. That wouldn't have been a bad thing, as I like Tricia's writing style, but given that the story was Kristen's to tell I'm glad the outside influences on her writing were minimal.

I don't know if Kristen will write another book or not, as her life is taking her down a much different path, but given the chance I would read her writing again.

This is a must read. It's such a touching and inspirational story. I'm glad she lived to share her story with the world!

Life, In Spite of Me: Extraordinary Hope After a Fatal Choice

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