Thursday, May 20, 2010

Review: Life, In Spite of Me

Title: Life, In Spite of Me
Author: Kristen Jane Anderson as told to Tricia Goyer
Pages: 209
Published:  2010 by WaterBrook Press
Genre: Inspirational Biography
This was book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah.

My Synopsis:
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.

My Thoughts:
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.

Kristen's Video
To read Chapter One click here


  1. Wow, that sounds like a very emotional story, but too bad it wasn't written that way. I would like to read her story too.

  2. Didn't realize at first that this was a kind of memoir and true life story. How brave of her to tell us all. Nice review.

  3. I'd love to hear her speak about her life. I imagine it was hard to read.

  4. Thanks for sending me the synopsis of this book I read it...I was wondering if it was going to be fluff or deep...(as U never know when it comes to 'real' life stories).....i was also hoping to read your thoughts on it...soooooooooo thanks for the honest review (as U always do!! LOL!) and glad to know that I was somewhat on target for this one... :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

  5. Wow, what a story. Too bad it lacks the depth you'd hoped for.

  6. It sounds like such a touching book. Great story

  7. Wow, I do not think I could read this, even though I am sure it is inspirational. I don't know how the book couldn't have packed more of an emotional powerhouse because your review did!

  8. Wow...sounds like a powerful read! I'm adding it to my wish list....Loved your review!

  9. This could have bren a powerful message of hope for other young people. Perhaps the lack of emotional depth in the book is part of the problem leading to her suicide. Too bad editing didn't catch that.

  10. I would have never realized she had no legs by the cover either.

  11. Your review has made me feel so much better. I too was left sort of blah by the depth of emotion and I wasn't sure if it was just my personal issues with the big man upstairs.

    I appreciated the brevity, but that also meant that there was so much of her actual journey left out.

  12. What an incredible story. I guess her time her on earth was not meant to be over. She must be inspiring and uplifting a lot of people now with her story.

  13. Okay, maybe it's just me, but what I don't understand is if it was a suicide attempt, how come the train only ran over her legs? Clearly she only put her legs over the tracks. Tracks are too close together for an adult torso to fit in between the two rails, so that's the conclusion I come to. Perhaps she just wanted to feel pain or something.

    And why does it look like she has legs on the cover? Where are they cut off at?

  14. I wonder if the disconnect comes in the way the book was written. Had Kristen actually wrote the book, I wonder if the emotional punch of the story would have come through better.

    It's such a tragic story regardless. My heart goes out to Kristen, and I am glad she has found her will to live again.


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