Tag Archive | Novel

A Hope in Hell

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Last month, in May, for about the entire month into June, I was struggling with a severe depressive episode, worse than I have felt in a while. I have recurrent episodes but they aren’t as frequent as they used to be and they often don’t last as long as they used to.

When I feel an impending episode about to hit, I can often prevent it now using self-help techniques I have learned through the years. But this episode that hit me recently hit so hard, I slipped into it without the ability to go back. So all I was able to do was cope with it as best as I could. 

But it takes great strength and energy to cope with a severe episode of depression and suicidal thoughts and urges. Strength and energy I don’t always feel as if I have or even want to have. Depression saps it all. It weakens my will and desire to live. Weakens my motivation to get out of it. Some moments I let my self slip and choose not to battle it but let it have me, I struggled against violent suicidal urges, almost physical. I wanted to give up and give in, let it take me.

But unlike a few years ago when I would be hit with severe depressive episodes, I am now equipped with certain skills, attitudes, life philosophies, knowledge, and wisdom. All of these I lacked back then.

They are ingrained into me now because of all of my practice through the years to get myself better. While they cannot always help me prevent an episode or get out of one and they cannot cure me, they can help me cope and hold on.

Some moments I give into the weakness but then I soon find my way back. Sometimes I need reminders like quotes, songs, books, tips….to help bring me back.

For just over one month I struggled with inner darkness, a general sense of hopelessness, not about any specific situation, just in general, although it was triggered by something in my environment. I haven’t been struggling with any specific problem in life other than a sense of inherent worthlessness and darkness but an incident set off the episode. No matter where I go, there I’ll be. That’s how I felt. Like it doesn’t matter what I do, what I accomplish, how beautiful I am, how many people I know…It’s not environmental. My whole disorder, it’s like chemical and may or may not be triggered by environmental issues. Although environmental things can occasionally help somewhat or contribute more to the darkness, it’s not about my environment. I have been in different environments through the years, different stages of life….but the overall disorder remains. And I’m sure it always will. It will come and it will go. Come and go.  And I have come to accept that for the most part.

My entire body felt heavy and fatigued. I wanted to crawl up in solitude. I wanted to die. My interest in things almost completely evaporated and the few things I still managed to have a shred of interest in weren’t bringing me anywhere near as much joy or pleasure as they usually do.

Food had no flavor, music had no rhythm, there was almost no feeling to anything. Occasionally I felt beauty in things, like a walk in the warm gentle air, birds flying and chirping, reading books, helping people at work, looking up at the sky, sweet, warm and cool breezes, and a few other things. 
I also saw my good friend on different days, which was very helpful.

Reading is one of the few interests that managed to still get my attention, although it was difficult to concentrate completely on the content.

A while ago I began reading a novel called A Hope in Hell about a young woman who struggles with suicidal thoughts and contemplation and severe depression which she calls “Black Moods.”  This reminds me of when I was a young girl and young woman, before I knew what I have, before I was diagnosed, I called it the “Black days” or “black things” and the “gray days.”

It’s not a long book. I stopped reading after a couple pages, not for any specific reason, I just read multiple books at once and sometimes stop reading one until a while later, even when I like the book a lot.

Recently I felt drawn to it again. I have it on BlackBerry Kindle. So I started reading it and completed it.

It’s not a realistic story as it is about demons. Not just the demons that come along with suffering with depression but actual demons in Hell. In the book they can interact with humans on Earth.  The demons don’t know what happens to humans after they die; one demon, Lil, said no humans ever end up in Hell.

There will be some spoilers here in case you want to avoid them.

The young woman, Tasha, a very beautiful and extremely intelligent girl, suffered with depression since she was a teenager, over fifteen years. She tried some treatments but not many and none helped her so she stopped it. She has no friends and her family refused to help her financially and cut her off so they are estranged. She has had many lovers but it never worked out with any of them. She becomes homeless and decides to end her life at 3:00 in the morning by jumping off a bridge.

She jumps but there happened to be a man there who witnessed and he saves her life.

After she is released out of the hospital she was taken to, the man, John, who saved her life, let’s her live with him until she gets a job and a place of her own. He experienced his own tragedy and like Tasha, he knows true pain.

Tasha quickly falls in love with him but he rejects her sexual invitations over and over.

This book is very sexually explicit with vulgar language. I don’t mind but if that’s not your cup of tea you probably won’t like it much. It’s definitely an adult book. It does have a deeper message to it though.

Tasha constantly feels like a failure and feels rejected always just by life itself.

For much of her life she turned to sexual/romantic relationships and encounters to help her ease her lifelong despair but they only helped temporarily and eventually the men would leave her, usually because her illness always got the best of her.

One day she walks in and finds a stunningly gorgeous, female, demon participating in sexual activity with John, the love of Tasha’s life, her savior, the closest thing she has to a friend. Tasha felt broken and despair finding this. In the book it’s not shocking to find a demon walking the Earth so while Tasha was broken, she wasn’t freaked out. 

The demons aren’t “its,” they are very human-like, they have real genders and sexual identities and this demon is a beautiful woman, thousands of years old but sill looks like a young woman.

Tasha is jealous of her because of her physical appearance and because of her ability to put John under a spell and make him lust after her. During the sexual encounter with the demon, John isn’t all there. He’s kind of unaware of what is happening but his body responds in ways that make Tasha envious and more depressed. 

The demon was summoned to Earth for another reason and while she is there she senses John’s strong sexual desire for Tasha.

He has a certain reason why he won’t act on his sexual desire for Tasha and it frustrates him and the beautiful, sexy demon senses it and pays him a visit just for fun and decides to kill him while she’s there. The demon can sense that Tasha is suicidal and offers to kill her as well if she wants. Tasha desperately wants to die to end her depression but she doesn’t want John to die. So she tells the demon that she can kill her but to spare John’s life. The demon refuses. She will either kill just John or kill both John and Tasha. The demon, Lilith, explains that in Hell a person can’t give her life to save another. Tasha used to hang with Wiccans so she has some background knowledge of demons.

She knows they accept contests so Tasha initiates a contest with the demon. If Tasha loses, John and Tasha both die but if Tasha wins John lives and just Tasha dies. Tasha wants nothing more than to save John’s life and if she can die saving his, it’s even better! Lol it’s kind of amusing even though it has a depressing nature. 

The demon explains that no human stands a chance with a demon. A human will always lose a contest with a demon.

Tasha already feels like a failure so she’s almost certain she’ll lose to Lilith.

Tasha has no energy or life in her because of her depression but she will do anything for the man she loves so she gives it her all. The demon explains that the contest has to be sexual in nature. Tasha is no stranger to sexual experience as she spent years being seductive and doing whatever men wanted her to do so she has some confidence that she’ll do ok but she’s fairly certain she’ll lose.

The demon has John under a spell where he is completely lusting after her. He can’t take his eyes off of Lil. Lil is arrogant and not sympathetic to Tasha. Lil explains that if Tasha somehow manages to get John to take his eyes of her and look into Tasha’s eyes, she’ll spare John’s life but it’s agreed to that Tasha will die no matter what.

Tasha at first takes this to mean that she has to engage in physical sexual acts with John. The demon leads her to believe this is true. So Tasha does just about every physical sexual thing she can think of to John. He’s somewhat conscious but doesn’t realize what’s happening. Tasha knows he doesn’t want to have any sexual encounter with her but she apologizes and does anyway to save his life.

Nothing works. He won’t take his eyes off Lil.

-spoiler-

As I have mentioned, Tasha is extremely intelligent and has knowledge of how demons operate. She is able to realize that to get John to truly look into her eyes, sexual contact won’t work. So she takes him into her arms and touches him with her words, in a deep place, tugging at his heartstrings. She tells him he deserves true love and happiness and he deserves a beautiful relationship and that she would be happy to give him all that he wants, needs, and deserves. He’s under a spell so he can’t completely, consciously understand but some part of him does. So for once, he takes his eyes off of the beautiful demon and looks directly into Tasha’s eyes. He chooses true love over lust.

Tasha won. She outsmarted the demon, much to Lil’s dismay. But now Tasha has one little hangup, she now wants to live. But there’s no negotiating with the demon. She already “signed” a contract written in stone, written in blood, that the demon can take her life.

Tasha began to feel more alive, more confident, and her will to live strengthened.

I’m going to tell part of the end of the story now because of the lessons it teaches. If you would prefer to read the story and not read the end first, you can just click this off. I love the life lessons this story conveys.

“The Black Mood was still there, tugging at the new-found buoyancy of her soul, but she felt stronger now, made more powerful by defeating the certainty of her own failure. Her only disappointment was that she had gained the strength she had always lacked just when she had sold her soul.
Tasha wanted to live, she knew. She wanted to hold John’s hand in the doctor’s office while the doctor explained medical side effects that she already knew by heart. She wanted to hear pride in her father’s voice, and see respect in her mother’s eyes. She wanted to walk across the Michigan Avenue Bridge, spit in the ice water below, and smile at the people on the other side.
It was unfair. The only thing she had known for sure an hour ago was that she wanted to die, so she had promised the demon her life even if she won. Now it was forfeit. She could ask the demon for mercy, but one did not anger demons and expect to be given quarter, particularly if Tasha’s survival increased the risk that Hell would discover Lilith’s failure. Lilith would want her dead for her silence, if nothing else. It was impossible – just as defeating Lilith had been impossible.
Which meant Tasha could do it.
Think.”

Tasha chose life. But it was too late. She realized life isn’t so hopeless. She came alive.

But she found a way to live and the demon spared her life at the end.

Ten beautiful lessons:

1.) love is not mere physical/sexual acts- the story shows that true love is more than just lust and sexual acts. Tasha’s loving words are what convinced John to look into her eyes, saving them both.
2.) accomplishments can help – once she accomplished something great she realized she can accomplish more and more. It showed her that her life is not just one big failure. One accomplishment, big or small, is evidence that we CAN accomplish more and more.
3.) deeply rooted beliefs can be wrong – Tasha was convinced that she was a complete failure and that her life could never serve a purpose but she discovered she was wrong. As deep and ingrained as these feelings were, she was able to eventually see past them. Deep convictions take a while and much work to vanquish but it can be done.
4.) hope in extreme darkness – in the midst of so much, overwhelming darkness and pain, there can still be one slither of hope and that one slither can be just enough. 
5.) love can be strong and powerful enough to keep someone alive – 
The night before I read the end of this book I was contemplating. Wondering if I should choose life or choose death. I felt two strong emotions. Pain. Deep emotional pain. And LOVE. Metta. Universal love. My love was not masked by the pain. I felt it through it all. Love for the world, for people I know, for strangers, for people I have yet to meet who may need me in some way, some day. I may never accomplish much. But one day someone may need a smile, a hug, a helping hand, encouragement, inspiration, comfort, and how can I provide that if I’m dead? I contemplated hard. Should I end it all? Or choose love? I chose love. I choose life.
Just like Tasha in the book. She chose to live for love. Her love for one man inspired her to live. That’s not to say we should only live for romantic love or someone else. But her love inspired life and made her realize how her life can impact another for the better. How someone can come out of nowhere and need her in some deep way.  Just her presence helped heal John in his own pain. He shared some of his pain with her and how her life touched his. Even if she couldn’t have John as a lover right then, her experience showed her that her life does matter and can touch someone else’s. Even if John wouldn’t accept her as a lover or accept her sexual/romantic invitations, she chose to live, to love him in any way she can whether or not he will have her.
I chose love that night too. Not romantic love but universal love. Love for all sentient beings and all the beauty in the world.
Love of any kind can inspire life. 
6.) the “mind” can be changed after it’s too late – it’s possible to change your mind in the middle of or after a suicide attempt and it may be too late. In this story, the suicide attempt – asking a demon to end her life – is not realistic but it mirrors real life suicide attempts. There are people who attempt suicide in various ways then change their mind, realizing that life really isn’t so bad, it’s not so hopeless, life deserves another chance, they deserve another chance, and are sorry.  Some people are saved but for some it’s too late, there’s no going back. The damage is done. As long as we’re alive we can always choose to die but after we choose death and die or cause serious damage to the body to a certain extent, it’s done, there’s no going back. Sometimes this may be what we truly want because the pain is too much but pain can end without ending our lives and we can learn to cope while currently in pain. And often, it’s not an end to life we really want, just an end to the pain.
7.) think – there are other ways out
THINK. There are endless possibilities. Death is only one option. There are many more choices, things to try. We can use our creativity, our knowledge, tap into the love deep within and come up with better ways to end and cope with the pain.
8.) the depression part is realistic – the girl’s depression doesn’t magically lift but even amidst the darkness, she finds the strength to choose life. And has hope that she can get better. No matter how much it hurts you can find strength and hope. Tasha knows she still needs help and plans to ask for professional help and get herself better. 
9.) Something may seem impossible but not be. 
She thought it was impossible to win the contest with the demon. She also thought it was impossible to survive after she won the contest but she was wrong. She won and she lived. At the end of the book, Tasha’s life is spared. Her and John remain close. In real life outside of books, we may come across things that seem so impossible but we may just be wrong. There’s so much potential we all have that can be tapped into and realized.
10.) suicidal urges/desire for death is only temporary(even though it may always come and go) – it can end as fast as it can begin. Tasha made a choice to end her own life but just an hour later she wanted desperately to live. This is realistic. Someone can want so desperately, more than anything, to die. And that very same day, in a matter of minutes or hours, choose to live and want so desperately, more than anything else, to live. I know, I have felt this way myself. It always comes back but it always goes again and it’s worth it to hold on and live. It’s startling how fast a suicidal mind, once convinced it wants to die, can change dramatically and then choose to live. If you’re on the brink now, about to end it all, just think, in one hour you may want nothing more than life itself. This isn’t just reality for a fictional girl in a novel about demons, it’s my own reality in this real world.

This book is all about hope.

The most beautiful message: hold on, live, hope, keep pushing through it all, choose love.

Xoxo Kim 

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Check Your Pulse <3

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It turns out there’s a famous ghost story/incident that was supposed to have happened in the 1800’s, in the U.S,  and I never heard of it til three nights ago! Lol. I love ghost stories, movies, and books!  Three nights ago I was laying in bed in the dark looking at my BlackBerry Kindle app and Amazon suggested that I check out The Bell Witch by John F.D. Taff. This exact version of this book is a historical novel based on what are said to be true events.   But there are books about it that are supposed to be more factual, not fiction, as well.

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When I came across the book I was overcome with this childlike joy, just surging through me! I feel joy quite frequently but this kind I haven’t felt in so long; it was seriously like my inner-child was jumping for joy, like “Yay, a ghost story, I have to have it!!!”. Lol!  

It has great reviews and a great description.   The Bell Family in the 1800’s, a family of seven, I think, four boys, a girl, and a mom and dad, is supposed to have been terrorized for four years by a ghost or demon who says she was sent to kill the father of the family. She physically abuses the family members, assaulting them, and also emotional abuse, threats and all.  The children are very young, the oldest, a boy, is about twenty-one years old.  Betsy, the teenage girl and the father, it seems, are the main targets of the ghost for some reason. The ghost was supposed to have never said why she came to kill the dad.

There were supposed to have been many witnesses to these horrifying supernatural events, like neighbors, friends, people being held as slaves, anyone who set foot on the Bell property.   Seven years after the father’s death, the spirit was supposed to have visited his wife and said she would be back in 135 (I think) years to visit a future family member.

I read that most people who visit or have visited that property agree that something tacky has been going on there.   It’s still supposed to be haunted to this day. When people visit, they say strange things occur or strange feelings manifest.   I don’t believe in the supernatural but love reading about it anyway! 

It’s fun reading ghost stories at night or in the early morning! I fell asleep reading it two nights ago then I woke up at 5:00am to read more! Fun! I still have almost the whole book to read.  
I love how it takes place in the bitter cold Winter like now! I like reading books where the season is close to the current season in reality.   

But it wasn’t really my intention to write a book review tonight; I just want to share a few lines out of the book.

Beautiful scene.

“Then, he produced an implement from his bag that caused Powell to move around the bed to watch the doctor using it.  

It was a strange mechanism, almost looking like a magical device. It was a hollow metal tube, both ends of which terminated in a cup, much like the mouthpiece of a bugle, only larger.  

Placing one end tightly against Betsy’s bare upper chest and the other against his left ear, Hopson listened, moved the cup, listened, moved it again.   All the while, he exhibited the tendencies of a small child with a new toy. ‘Fabulous!’ he said rising. ‘Wonderful gadget, isn’t it?’

He detached it from his ears and held it to Powell.

‘What is it?’ the schoolmaster asked, turning it over, looking into the ends.
‘It’s a stethoscope, a device for listening to heartbeats. I picked it up just two months ago during a visit to Atlanta. It’s quite new, and all the rage of European doctors. Here, listen for yourself.’

Powell’s face squinched as he concentrated, not knowing what to expect. Then, his eyes flew open as he heard the thump-THUMP-thump-THUMP of Betsy’s heart, strong and loud as the ticking of a great mantel clock.  

Something substantial changed within Powell as those rhythms pounded through his eardrums. For the rest of his life, he would never forget that sound, the feeling that swept over him as he stood there, his head inclined toward the chest of this young girl listening to her heart.  

At that moment, more strongly than any other, Richard Powell knew he was in love.

‘Amazing,” he whispered, pulling back in a daze and returning the stethoscope to Hopson, who motioned Lucy over.

‘Come, Luce, take this and hear what will keep your daughter alive through this illness and much more, I’m sure, if I’m any doctor at all.’

He bound mother and daughter together with the simple metal tube.  

Lucy listened for a moment, silent tears streaming from her eyes.

After a minute or so, Hopson pulled her away tenderly, removed the stethoscope and tucked the covers back around Betsy.  

The slow k-thump, k-thump of Betsy’s heart would resound through the ears of both Lucy and Powell for some time afterward.”

Isn’t it lovely?!  Just perfect. 

When I read the first couple lines, I was so delighted to read how fascinated and awestruck the characters are by this new instrument, the mystery of it, the novelty, the way it looks, its purpose…something that most of us probably know about today and don’t really think much of it.  

I love the childlike wonder of the doctor with his new tool.

I read the first few lines over and over before reading the rest. Then the more I read, the more amazed I have become. It’s so beautiful the way the schoolteacher and mother are so inspired and deeply moved by the rhythm of life that pounds through this young girl’s chest, keeping her alive…..

I remember the day I first heard my own heartbeat. The rhythm of life pounding through my own chest. It was in Human Biology class when I was a student at Temple University.

Our professor brought in stethoscopes to listen to each other’s hearts and our own.   I fell in love. It’s so amazing to feel and to hear that life force that let’s us live, be, experience….

I read a quote before that is something like “If you ever can’t think of anything to be thankful for, check your pulse.”

Just to be alive is a grand thing.

Put your hand to your own chest and let yourself fall in love.

“It’s not about loving people and things as much as loving life itself.”

I read this quote here:

http://www.positivelypositive.com/2014/03/06/dear-dad/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+positivelypositive%2Fpositive+(Positively+Positive)

It’s about how we can love life itself no matter what heartbreak we experience. The heartache of loss can sap our energy and contribute to our passion dwindling away but as long as we keep choosing love in every moment, we can and will survive.

You can read about The Bell Witch Legend here: 

http://www.bellwitch.org/story.htm

And you can read about the novel here :

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00ED5QAZW

Much love to you.

xoxo Kim

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Some comforting words about moving forward {and book review} 314

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A few months ago I read a book (fiction) called “314” by A.R. Wise. It’s book I of a trilogy. It is the most bizarre book I have ever read in all of my days and probably will be the most bizarre one I ever read. I can’t even begin to explain. Lol. It’s freaky and just weird beyond words.   It’s very violent in some parts and I don’t usually like stuff like that but I love this book. I couldn’t put it down. I soothed my conscience by telling myself that it’s ok because the stuff in the book can’t really happen. Lol. It takes place in 1996 and also in 2012.   It flashes back & forth and sometimes it’s both 1996 & 2012 at the same second!   Lol. It’s like two different dimensions clash.

If you want to read this book and don’t want to know much about it before reading you may not want to continue reading my post, I’m not giving away any serious spoilers but there may be some minor ones. Since I haven’t read book iii I don’t really know what in the world is going on anyway.

A green fog comes in a town called Widowsfield and a lot of people disappear and no one knows why. People come up with all sorts of theories. But some characters keep reliving stuff over and over. Out of the green fog comes young children who are human but have dog-like features like dog snouts and claws and they rip people to shreds killing them but then the same people come back again later and are alive and well then it happens again and again. The people keep feeling as if they know certain things but don’t know how or why. They sort of know they’re about to die but aren’t exactly certain. They’re very confused. They have a sense of what’s happening but then again have no idea.

I just read Book ii of this trilogy and love it!! It’s just freakishly amazing! Lol. Nothing really makes sense but in another way it does.   
In the second book things start coming together in a way but getting more strange as well.

This author has to be a brilliant, creative man and in his afterwords he seems so modest and caring.

The second book is fascinating and deeply Philosophical.  It also has some underlying messages about life.  Just like book I,  It’s about a group of friends, some have known each other for a while and some just met. They’re the same characters as in the first but with a few new people.  The main character, Alma, is twenty -four years old and her and her friends go to Widowsfield to try to find out what bizarre mysterious thing happened in 1996. In 1996, Alma’s brother vanished when the fog came. She was eight years old & he was ten years old. They were with their dad and his girl who he was cheating on his wife with. They were in his girl’s cabin.

After it all occurred, Alma and her dad could not really remember Alma’s brother. It’s like he vanished out of their reality and their memories. The book gets weirder and weirder all throughout Books I & ii. In the beginning of Book I, a little boy starts saying weird stuff and telling his dad to kill himself saying “You can’t handle what’s coming. No one can.” and the dad is freaked out and calls the emergency people thinking his son is going “crazy ” and then he hears the emergency operator die over the phone. Then his son tells him to let him kill him or he will kill himself. The little boy has all his friends over and they all tell the dad that he must let them boil him to death in the bath tub or that his son will slit his own throat. The dad is so freaked out. The son tells him he has no choice but to kill himself or to kill his own dad…..”again!!”

Yup, it’s just over the moon crazy!! 😉

Book iii isn’t out yet. They’re ebooks. I don’t know if they also can be bought in print or whatever. Book I was free and Book ii was about three dollars I think. 

But anyway there are some inspiring scenes in the book I just read.

The girl, Alma, whose brother disappeared in 1996 meets a little girl but the little girl isn’t real. She’s kind of ghost -like or a figment of someone’s imaginings. She was sent to Alma to help protect Alma.  She is a very wise little girl. And she has some comforting words for Alma. Alma’s life has been painful. She’s a young teacher. Her dad was abusive to her and her brother and he still comes after her as an adult. He is addicted to the meth drug. Her mom went insane after her son (Alma’s brother) disappeared
And she became sick with severe depression.   And she died by suicide because she couldn’t handle her son being missing.

Then Alma watches her friends dying over and over all day everyday and she is so confused and worn out and knows her own life is in danger.   All the characters think they’re going crazy.  Alma just wants to give up. Just when she collapses outside thinking she can’t go on anymore, a little girl about ten years old comes to Alma. She reminds Alma of herself when she was a little girl.

This little girl takes Alma’s hand and says:

“It’s not a bad thing to remember our worst days but it’s important that we learn to move on. “

Alma responds saying

“I’ve had a lot of bad days.”. 

The little girl puts her head against Alma’s arm and says

“I know you have. But you can’t let those bad days ruin the ones you’ve got left to live.”. 

This is so true and I think we can all benefit by heeding this little girl’s wisdom. It’s ok to remember our painful experiences but we should never allow them to hold us back or let them make us give up. We can heal and move forward.  

Whatever pain you have encountered previously and may even be experiencing now, you can heal even if you never forget.

I find this so helpful & comforting. Sometimes I let pain, either current or previous, make me want to give up on life itself and everything and feel that I can’t go on or don’t want to go on. This reminds me to keep going and it will be Ok. There is still so much life within even when it feels so broken.

Here are some inspiring quotes!

“When you welcome your emotions as teachers, every emotion brings good news, even the ones that are painful.” Gary Zukav

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” Eckhart Tolle

“Be universal in your love. You will see the universe to be the picture of your own being.” Sri Chinmoy

“Where there is love there is life.” Mahatma Gandhi

“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.” Steve Maraboli

“Love one another and help others to rise to the higher levels, simply by pouring out love. Love is infectious and the greatest healing energy.”
Sai Baba 

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Anybody can beat anybody on any given day

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I recently read a novel by Morton Reed called, “Proof of Innocence,” which is a legal suspense thriller. It takes place in California, U.S.A. In the early 90’s and is about a young boy who is accused of attempting to kill his severely abusive father while his father was in bed sleeping.

While I found this book to be very enjoyable in various ways, I probably wouldn’t recommend it to anyone as it depicts horrific violence in graphic detail.

Serious domestic violence /abuse, extreme child & spousal abuse, horrific sexual violence.

At some points I wanted to put the book down and quit reading .

Some parts are deeply disturbing.

I have experienced domestic abuse and while it’s not nearly as bad as the abuse carried out by the character in the book, I can still relate in so many ways, especially to the emotional abuse, extreme anger outbursts, horrific threats…

It’s terrifying. And painful.

But there are many insights and valuable lessons conveyed in this book.

Some themes are:

❤ Risking it all for love (platonic & romantic)
❤ Hopelessness & restored hope
❤ Deep friendship
❤ How one life can impact another and how one person can suddenly, unexpectedly walk into another person's life and change it for the better.
❤ Redemption
❤ Justice and what it is to be just
❤ Self exploration
❤ Trusting others
❤ Never giving up on people even when they are difficult
❤ Emotional scars and learning to live happily with them
❤ Insecurity & confidence
❤ Seeing humanity & potential even in very troubled people/criminals
❤ The benefits of psychotherapy
❤ Morality

&

Some lessons I find to be valuable which are conveyed throughout the book are:

❤ We should learn to trust ourselves and when we learn that, it won't matter so much what others do, say, or think about us. If people fail us, deceive us, or try to rip us off, we will have ourselves to fall back on and survive no matter what. We can learn to be strong, capable, and competent.
❤ Mistakes often say nothing about who the person is. Even great people make mistakes.
❤ Not all people who are considered by society to be lost causes, losers, or failures, are bad people.
❤ The past doesn't have to imprison us.
❤ Sharing our stories of pain can truly help us

My favorite character in the book is a confident defense attorney who tries to get the boy accused of attempted murder, to be found not guilty.

In the book, there is a flash back to the day this lawyer cross examined a police officer/detective in a courtroom.

Most of the details are not relevant to my post so I will not go into them too much but will provide a brief description.

This defense attorney, a strong, confident woman is cross examining a police officer and asking him questions regarding a confession.

This officer is being questioned as to whether a confession provided by an arrested person was really completely voluntary or coerced by police.

He assures the lawyer that the police did no such coercion and that the arrested person did in fact confess voluntarily.

But the officer is frustrated, forgetful, contradicts himself, and is awkward in this moment, among other things.

He is uncomfortable with her questioning and it really shows. As soon as she dismisses him, he runs out of the courtroom, quickly.

She later contacts him and has this to say:

“I wanted to let you know that, like you, I was just doing my job. Also, like you, I’m very good at it. On that day you weren’t so hot. Someday I won’t be so hot, either. It’s like the tennis pros say: ‘ anybody can beat anybody on any given day.'”

I love this and it’s so true. Each one of us will have occasions of winning, being our best, coming out on top, and owning it but then we’ll also have those occasions of falling, losing, seemingly failing, not being our best. It’s great to show compassion, forgiveness, understanding, love, and gentleness to ourselves and each other.

This lawyer is kind enough to reach out and empower the humiliated man and offer him friendship as opposed to smugly rubbing it in his face like she could have, like often does happen in cases where one person gets his/her ass handed to her/him by another.

Sooner or later, you ‘ll get your second wind.

I think we can all benefit by being like this brilliant and loving character.

She is a retired criminal defense attorney who mostly worked for more of a hobby than a career. She never cared for money and was very selective of the cases she took on, only taking on ones she truly felt compelled to work at.

Unlike many of the other defense attorneys, prosecutors, judges, and other law people, she truly cares for her clients and people in general. She warmly embraces those that the rest of society brands as “losers” & “lost causes.” She sees potential and humanity in seriously troubled people.

She retired because of burnout. She got too involved in her cases & the people.

In the book she is described as a beauty. A tall, slender, African American woman with long, lovely legs. Her reputation is that she is not one to be messed with, she’s confident, strong, knows her stuff.

She’s a tough broad but with a soft heart. Truly compassionate and caring about people in general. She’s financially well off, dresses expensively, has a large expensive house decorated impressively, drives an expensive car but she’s not arrogant. She has a bit of an alcoholic drinking problem that she’s not ready to abandon.

I am so inspired by so many parts of this book even though I’m so put off by other parts.

The author is not condoning the horrors in his book,, in fact he conveys the wrongness of it.

If you like legal thrillers/suspense/mysteries and don’t mind gore & graphic details of horrible violence then this may be for you.

If not, I wouldn’t read it.

I love novels about perseverance, happiness, Redemption, heartache, hope, and healing, learning to live again, love & life…and this book does display this.

I love the insights & the lessons throughout it.

But the violence & horror isn’t my cup of tea.

Xoxo Kim ❤
k