In the aftermath of the Columbine High School tragedy, a story came out about Cassie Bernall, a young woman who allegedly professed her belief in God in the moments before she was shot dead. Hailed a modern-day martyr by Christian groups and the media, detectives revealed months later that she may never have had such an exchange with her killer. Bernall's parents responded to the news with a statement:
"Our intent was to share Cassie's story in an effort to encourage parents and teenagers. If any of our actions have hurt or offended anyone, we sincerely apologize."
In She Said Yes, a moving memoir written by Cassie's mother, Misty Bernall, we meet the real Cassie, a typical adolescent who struggles with peer pressure and her relationship with her parents. Once headed down the common teenage path of self-loathing and depression, Cassie turned her life around through her faith and the support of a group of people who helped her find peace and purpose--her youth group at church. Though Cassie was far from the perfect child, She Said Yes tells the story of how Cassie's faith gave her the strength to overcome the obstacles she faced in her young life. Regardless of what happened at Columbine, She Said Yes is a moving tribute to an extraordinary young woman and a lesson for both parents and teenagers alike.
From Publishers Weekly
One of the most gripping stories to come out of the shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., is that of Cassie Bernall: when asked by the gunmen whether she believed in God, she answered yes and then was shot point-blank. Hours after the story emerged, Cassie was hailed a martyr by news media and Christian groups around the world. Her mother's smoothly written account of that day, and of the years that preceded it, provides a fuller picture of a girl who was once very troubled and, ironically, had been for a time as much of a Goth-loving outsider as her killers. Bernall relates how she and her husband intervened after finding letters in Cassie's room that described occult spells and ways to murder one's parents. In describing her daughter's turnaround, spurred by adjustments at school and a Christian youth group, Bernall also details her own emotional difficulties before and after the shooting. Her remarkable candor about her relationship with her daughter makes this an intense and fascinating memoir. Comments from Cassie's father and schoolmates add depth and, by her own admission, allow even Bernall to learn more about Cassie than she had known before the shooting. Through the Bernall family's example, the book shows how a troubled teenager can be helped, though Bernall doesn't hold back when describing the emotional toll the process can take. Although she doesn't see her daughter as a martyr, Bernall concludes that Cassie's death was, indeed, a triumph of honesty and courage. This powerful memoir honors that courage and reveals Misty Bernall's own. 10 b&w photos. (Sept.)
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