Monday, May 10, 2010

Life, In Spite of Me by Kristen Jane Anderson and Tricia Goyer

I have never been critical when it comes to those that attempt-or succeed at committing-suicide. I believe what motivates a person to do so is the lack of hope. It’s not a lack of wanting to live, but rather the deep desire to live, just not seeing the light at the end of their dark tunnel. After reading Kristen Anderson’s Life, In Spite of Me, I am convinced the state of hopelessness is an evil enemy. How could a teenager lay down on a train track in Illinois at the turn of the century and decide it is the best decision at the moment?

In spite of the fact that this is a heavy subject, Tricia Goyer did an amazing job at keeping Life, In Spite of Me a light read. I was flipping pages so quickly it was no surprise when I completed the book in less than a day. There is no fluff or fillers, and although Kristen takes a lot of time explaining how she was feeling at each turn of the page, the pace doesn’t creep or stop. This is a story that keeps producing new details and enlightenment as you go. And you want to keep going because she holds nothing back. If there is blame, she takes it. If she was confused, felt let down, or downright mad, Kristen lets the reader know.

As a former hospital employee, I am impressed with the graphic detail she uses in explaining the accident and medical procedures that followed. I was captivated by the raw emotion I felt as she described the moments following the accident. A genuine spirit of confusion and ultimately remorse is obvious as she attempts to heal from an event that overwhelmed her. The reader will not be inclined to view her with judgment nor would you say she is a victim. It’s an extraordinary event that altered her for the better, especially if you believe eternity trumps this life.

What completes the book is a small entry at the end by Kristen’s Mom, Jan. She adds to the story by sharing her heart felt emotions as they relate to the accident and Kristen’s healing. In the end it boiled down to the fact that the Anderson’s were the typical Christian family that believed going to church and doing the right thing was what mattered. Jan admits that “Before all this…we went to church and Sunday School.….we prayed before bed and before meals, but we didn’t know there was more….we didn’t know we could have a personal relationship with Jesus.”

I closed the back cover impressed that an event so shocking could have a happy ending. All things really do work together for those that do good, and Kristen’s life is an example of how it works. Life in Spite of Me is a vehicle to broadcast the message that there is hope and a future even if at the moment things look bad. Kristen is a hero in my book and I believe God smiles everyday at her spiritual tenacity. Don’t buy a single copy of this book. Buy at least two-one for you, and one to share.

Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Multnomah Books; 1 edition (May 4, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1601422520
ISBN-13: 978-1601422521
Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 0.9 inches