Customer Reviews: Life, In Spite of Me: Extraordinary Hope After a Fatal Choice
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on May 10, 2010
Wow - from the tightness in my chest to the tears of every emotion running down my face I can't recommend this book enough. It changed my life. It will change yours. Kristen's story of common teenage pain to the ultimate choice is one that I can relate to unfortunately too well. Her words put me in the moment. Her pain made me want to leave that moment. Yet, with every page I was wanting to know more - routing for her and in a sense starting to route for myself as well.

It's a beautiful story - well worth the time and cup of tea to read it. I read it in less then 48 hours. It's a beautiful book - I have a soft spot for hardcover books and this one is one that will forever have a place not on my bookshelf but on my nightstand to forever remind me of what I am grateful for and to always seek His direction.
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on May 23, 2010
Life, In Spite of Me was a wake up call for me. Most of my life I've heard of people who battled with depression or bi-polar disorder or just sadness in general - but, rarely understood what I was hearing. Kristen and Tricia present Kristen's story in a way that really helps the reader understand what it's really like to live your life captured by depression, sadness and a feeling of hopelessness. Many times I felt like I was there with Kristen as she fought her sadness. I felt myself cheering her on through her long recovery and rejoicing at the end when... well, you'll have to read that for yourself.
As a youth leader and youth pastor's wife, I appreciated Kristen's side notes to those battling depression or suicidal thoughts themselves. She is personal and got right on the level with where so many of our teens are today in this society. Best of all - the Gospel is CLEAR and evident and she speaks of it unashamedly! There is hope for those struggling and I've been challenged to wake up and be more alert to the teens I'm surrounded by, who might be battling this quiet demon. Kristen's story will encourage you, challenge you and motivate you to get on board with helping people. If you have any kind of interaction with people, at all, this book could be a helpful tool for you in identifying the needs of people suffering with depression.
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on June 29, 2010
Well I guess I should first preface this review by saying that I knew Kristen Anderson in high school. I can remember seeing her talk and laugh in class, she was so friendly and sweet to everyone. She dated a friend of mine and was all around a wonderful person and classmate. I never knew her pain or saw her troubles until I heard about her tragic accident. I have seen Kristen around the past few years and I like everyone else know her story is remarkable, but until I read her book I didn't know anything. Reading this book gave me an insight into her life, her struggle, and her amazing revelation. I realized that the title perfectly fit this book. It made me remember Life happens in spite of our decisions or actions. I am very grateful to have read this book, and have received this message. Thank you Kristen.
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VINE VOICEon June 18, 2010
Kristen was a troubled 17 year-old girl who struggled with feelings of hopelessness, pain and defeat. When life became unbearable, suicide seemed like the only solution. So she made the devastating choice to lie down in front of an oncoming train. Miraculously, she survived. "Life, In Spite of Me" is the story of Kristen Jane Anderson's journey from despair, to faith in Christ, to her ministry to the world.

While Kristen's book is an autobiographical account of her life since the train incident, it reads like a novel. From the opening pages, I was riveted to her story and how God is working in her life. Her co-writer, Tricia Goyer was an excellent partner as Kristen shared her struggles. On more than one occasion, I was brought to tears as I related to some of the emotional pain she was dealing with. I was also moved in how the Lord has touched her body, mind and spirit.

If you're dealing with depression, I highly recommend this book. If you know someone who's struggling, I recommend that you get them a copy. Kristen's story is amazing, and it has much hope for those looking for even a glimmer of light at the end of their very long, very dark tunnel. In addition, Kristen's ministry "Reaching You" has an excellent website for resources for those who need assistance.

From one perspective, Kristen Jane Anderson's story is tragic. The flawed decisions that she made as a teenager will affect her for the rest of her life. But in that tragedy, God is working in her to bless others. She is a new person with a new perspective, filled with hope and love of life. And it is in reading "Life, In Spite of Me" that her readers can be encouraged by that same hope and love as well.
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on July 12, 2014
I now personally know Kristen as she lived in my town and used to go to my church. I helped her with a fund raiser a few years (4) ago. She is the real deal...lost in her own sorrow....she tried to kill herself by laying on the train tracks in our town....Fast forward to me meeting her at Ulta in the bathroom! She shared her story with me and I was easily taken in by her kindness and sincerity and honesty. I asked her if I could help with an upcoming fundraiser at the time that she mentioned. I was at a prefund raiser meeting with her and her family and she handed me the ROUGH draft of this book and asked if I would like to read it...I was humbled and in awe! I took it home and read it FRONT TO BACK in two sittings! God had saved this beautiful girl from herself. The world is a better place because Kristen is in it! If you want to give this book as a gift I suggest you read it first! Kristen also has a Facebook website. Kristen Jane Anderson & Reaching you Ministries.!/reachingyouorg
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on December 24, 2011
I really wanted to like this book. It's difficult to dislike a book when the main goal of the book is to encourage others and make sure they know that life is worth living and they should continue on, not take their own lives or give in to life's challenges. However, for me, it seemed that the book kept things pretty shallow and was light on details and substance. Of course, as I read this book, I realized that I wasn't really the target audience. But at one time, I would have been the target audience: young, female, frustrated by the state of the world and my life, feeling like there was little reason to continue. And with that in mind, I am not as impressed with this book as I wanted to be.

The author of this book attempted suicide when she was a teenager. Her life was spared, and following that event, she has started a relationship with Christ and has begun an organization that helps others who are struggling (I think primarily younger people, but I am not certain of that). She has become a speaker who shares her story with others and encourages people to continue. That is laudable and worthy of respect. I am glad that she is making a difference with her life and has seen that she is loved. I think she is brave to share her story, but I think it could have been done in a different way. However, I am not pompous enough to think just because it did not connect with me that it could not have a huge impact on someone else.

Most of the book talks about the aftermath of the attempted suicide and her recovery from it. Her legs were severed from her body after lying on a train track as a train approached. Experts agree that she should not have been able to live after such an experience. I wish that she focused less on her attempt to discover if she had indeed tried to commit suicide (apparently it is common for a person's brain to block a traumatic experience like that, so she could not remember the actual event for some time). I also wish she had focused less on the attention she received following the suicide attempt. I wonder if there are any people on the edge, looking for attention, who consider an act that resembles suicide as a way to seek attention and would be encouraged to do this by her account of balloons, cards, etc.

It seems that the author had several disappointing encounters with medical professionals. I get that, and I think that can be common. And I know that it can be nearly impossible to make yourself heard in such a situation, but I am disappointed that her parents or other adults (school professionals or others) did not attempt to find other health professionals for her, or in the case of school professionals or church personnel, have references available. That seems like a huge deficit in her mental treatment, with the exception of her counselor.

My biggest concern with this book is the author's anti-medication stance (at least for herself, and she does nothing to suggest that meds could be valuable to others). She makes it clear that her medication was creating a situation where she was not adequately experiencing life or emotions or able to go through appropriate cycles of feelings. I know that this can happen, and I have had at least one friend choose to wean herself off antidepressant meds, just like the author did. However, there are many cases where the meds are important, and actually do a vital work in helping to save lives and especially to redeem the quality of lives. I think she does a disservice to those who experience depression, especially those in Christian circles who may have already heard that all we should do is pray and then we will not have to deal with this condition any longer. Depression is a physical condition, and needs to be considered as such. So when someone who is presenting herself to be a resource for avoiding suicide seems to discount a possible aid, that is a problem for me. (I get that some doctors can be prescription-happy, as one of hers seemed to be, trying to give her bi-polar meds and anti-depressants after mere minutes with her, but that is not the case for everyone).

With that said, I think that this book could be an interesting read for teenagers and parents to read together and discuss their responses as well as if they have ever felt the same way or had similar experiences.

This e-book was provided to me free of charge from the publisher. The above opinions are my own.
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on May 7, 2010
Suicide and depression are unfortunately common problems in our society that are often misunderstood and can leave the one struggling feeling incredibly alone and full of shame. This is an INCREDIBLE book that EVERYONE should read to get a better understanding of depression, suicide, or to find hope in a seemingly hopeless situation. Kristen presents her story in a way that anyone can understand and relates to people from any walk of life. I HIGHLY recommend this book, which tells Kristen's story in such an intimate way that you can't help but feel like you're her closest friend, thus gaining that intimate understanding of often misjudged issues.
Kristen, thank you for sharing your story with the world. May God have the glory. :)
Life, In Spite of Me: Extraordinary Hope After a Fatal Choice
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on June 26, 2015
The title of this book says it all! In spite of Kristen's desire to destroy herself, there was and is a bigger plan for her life which she cleverly shares with her readers. Impactful, real and inspiring - this book gave me an inside look into the world of depression, courage and hope.
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on August 8, 2014
I loved reading Kristen's story. I was able to use her as an example this morning to a concerned mother. Kristen's life changed dramatically when she turned to Jesus. It is such a blessing that her family followed her confession of faith. May God bless her personally and her ministry as she shares His Word.
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on November 18, 2014
I bought this book as my daughter has had a problem with cutting and suicidal ideation. This book was so inspiring. It's neat to see how God can use tragedy and turn it around for good. This book is not too graphic so even younger kids could read it. If you have someone who is thinking about suicide, get them to read this book. Suicide doesn't always work and the consequences can be horrible. Wonderfully written. You can definitely put yourself in her shoes and feel what she is feeling.
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