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Her Paperback – May 22, 2013
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I have never personally experienced anything like this so I was in awe at how well the author described the treatment center of Bent Creek. I always thought you were put into a mental institution they gave you medicine and hopefully you got better. I was very impressed that this isn't the case. You actually get the help you need and if it doesn't work you go to long-term.
Let's start off with why Kristen went to Bent Creek, she tried to kill herself. Once I learned why, I could understand and feel her guilt. She is close to her siblings especially Nickyroo as she likes to call him but his name is Nick. Kristen has been slowly going downhill especially since the monster has taken her father and we hear this repeated. But when she catches her step-father abusing his own child that is when Kristen hits the bottom of the pit so fast.
Kristen in broken and she doesn't have a support system to help her. But in Bent Creek she learns that there is help for her she just has to open up. Something she hasn't been able to do, except to Mr. Sharp. Mr. Sharp has been there with her for everything. While in Bent Creek Kristen learns that she is suffering from BPD which is Borderline Personality Disorder. While in there, she gets to see that there are other teenagers going through things just as bad as her. She even sees death happen while she is there. I think in a way it was a real eye opener. We watch as Kristen grows and faces her demons and we see hope and light for her at the end of the tunnel. I can say I felt so much emotion within this story it felt real, it felt raw.
Kristen's mother oh my word. I don't even know if I want to even write a few sentences about her. While her husband was being abusive she turns a blind eye. When her daughter is trying to tell her something she is so quick to slap her, which just made my blood boil. Then when confront on how everything has gone wrong in her life she constantly blames Kristen, who does that? I think her mother is unhappy with her life and what went wrong and that Kristen is suppose to be strong for her mother instead of for herself.
The author has done an amazing job with this story. She did great with giving us back story as to why Kristen did what she did. We got to see her progress, and own up to her demons. She did great on describing scenes, how treatment centers work, the characters felt real and not just something in a story. She has done her research on BPD and cutting.
This is a book that I would recommend to any and everyone. Just be prepared for harsh scenes, and heartache.
The only problem I had in total was the constant use of home school. It was home school this, home school that.
I did enjoy the ending, I thought it was a powerful message saying You can overcome this. It takes support and love and time to heal.
I would have enjoyed finding out about Kristen's roommate in Bent Creek, Janine she left at a point in the story to where I just kind of wondered did she get the help she needed.
I want to write more but I am going to end up giving so much away.
There are books out there about self mutilation but this one take it a step farther and explains Borderline Personality Disorder. The feelings that come with this disorder can isolate a person from society, especially teenagers. Feelings of abandonment, so they push people away before they can be abandoned. Cutting to be able to breathe again and feel numb. Having people in your head, telling you that if you cut or if you run you will be safe, they will still love you. Feeling like people only see the evil in your so you try to be good so they won't leave you. Most of all the thoughts of dying and suicide, to end the pain and save others from being hurt at well.
Kristen was a seventeen year old girl who had seen more horror in her few years than most adults would ever see in a whole life time. The actions of one person tore her family apart, the secrets and denial of the other family members just kept the wound open till someone was going to bleed to death. When a suicide attempt sends her to Bent Creek Mental Hospital, she felt she was a failure and going to prison. What she found was more heart-break and pain, but also the right to claim and believe she was a survivor.
Felicia did an awesome job at keeping the story flowing at a steady pace. She introduced characters to the reader and shared their story and life with us. I found myself wanting to take a break from the emotional over load of the story yet I couldn't put the book down. I needed to know what was going to happen to Janine, Rocky, Daniel, and the other teens we were introduced to at the mental hospital.
I also needed to know if Kristen was going to be able to survive going back home with scars on her wrist and arms, her best friend getting married to the boy who Kristen had feelings for. Would she be able to mend the fence with her mother and twins and really start a new life? Would the one person who tore this family apart be allowed back in at the risk of Kristen's sanity? This book takes you from the moment her brother finds her barely breathing, bloodied and unconscious, through her stay at the mental hospital, and then back home struggling to find a place to fit in and be accepted. She was going to have to let go of Mr. Sharp, the man in her mind that comforted her and also encouraged her to cut so she could breathe. She was going to have to answer questions as to why she did it, and try to explain why she doesn't think like others. So many times people would tell her to just stop thinking like that, stop cutting, stop getting upset, but what they don't understand is Kristen couldn't. This was how her mind worked and what she needed was for people to be patient and help her through the hard times when she was struggling, not remind her of how she was making it hard for others and hurting their feelings. If Kristen could have stopped it she would, but she couldn't and now she has to deal with feeling like a failure and having others remind her that she is difficult to be around.
Felicia did an outstanding job at explaining Borderline Personality Disorder and making sure it was clear that this disorder does NOT make the person, it is the person living WITH this disorder. I suggest all teachers, counselors, and anyone working with teens read this book. I also think if you have someone in your life with BPD, read this. They don't have the words to explain what they feel or how they think, and even if they did the fear is to great in many cases to be able to express it. I think many will be thanking Felicia for giving them a voice after their loved ones read HER and understand what torment BPD causes.
For young Kristen it is after attempting to take her own life that she understands not just that she is not alone in what she feels but there are individuals out there who see her and want the best for her.
HER by Felicia Johnson allows us to take a walk with Kristen as she deals not just with the realization of having Borderline Personality Disorder but that the world that she lives in might not be as bad as she imagined. By writing the book in first person we are able to understand that though misunderstood in so many ways, Kristen is really no different than the rest of us. She wants to be loved. She wants to be respected. She wants to be able to live life to the fullest.
By capturing the personal side of abuse and pain, it allows us to see how the actions of others can taint the way we see ourselves and what we believe is possible for us. But moving past that and looking at the possibilities instead of the obstacles we are able to focus on what matters: hope.
Definitely a book that men and women can read and understand how we are all interconnected and play a role in helping and encouraging our fellow man (and woman), HER opens the door to a part of society that feels alone and misunderstand and are finally given a voice.