Title: Life, In Spite of Me
Author: Kristen Jane Anderson as told to Tricia Goyer
Published: 2010 by WaterBrook Press
Genre: Inspirational Biography
This was book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah.
Kristen is by all outward appearances, a happy teen who enjoys life. But deep down inside she's been hiding her real feelings. She experiences the death of her beloved Grandma, and then the most shocking event of all, when a friend commits suicide. Not knowing how to deal with her feelings, she turns to smoking, drinking, and hanging out with friends until all hours of the night. During one of these party nights, she is raped by a young man she once thought was a great guy. Her grades suffer and so does her relationship with her parents. One night she leaves a note for her mom telling her that she went for a walk. What happens instead is that Kristen finds herself drawn to the railroad tracks that weren't far from her house. Feeling like life is not worth living, she lays herself across the tracks and a train runs over her, severing her legs from her body. In shock, she's not sure whether she's alive or dead, but one thing she is sure of, is that she felt a force holding her body on the tracks. This is Kristen's story of how she decided that her life was worth living and how she dedicated her life to Christ.
When I picked up this book I honestly had no idea that Kristen lost her legs to her suicide attempt, her cover photo did not make me do a double-take at all. I found myself in shock that a person could actually feel that helpless and lost that they would lay their body across the railroad tracks in hopes of dying. Kristen's story is powerful, there is no doubt about that. But what is missing here is depth. The story is too straightforward and actually feels emotionless. I'm sure that was not the intention, however, that is how I felt as I read this book tonight. I applaud her bravery by sharing her story with others. It takes a lot of strength and honesty. I'm just not sure that it translated well with this book. I wanted to feel her despair, understand how lost she truly was, and walk each agonizing step with her as she learned to use her prosthetic legs. I would love to listen to Kristen's story in person and I feel that she has an uplifting and inspirational message to share with others. If you know someone who appears depressed or suicidal, this book may just give them hope. She does offer her own words of encouragement throughout the book and there is a resource page at the end. I'm glad to have read her story, as I think she has touched the lives of people in need. I just wish that the written story would have packed more of an emotional powerhouse.
To read Chapter One click here