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Relentless: A Journey of Forgiveness Paperback – September 9, 2016
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This is a book that details sexual, physical, and verbal abuse very specifically. It starts in her early childhood and she walks us through that first, then her initial healing processes, followed by a stabilization of sorts but still endlessly ripe with challenges.
To the person who is just beginning their healing journey, this is the first book I would hand you. In the beginning of a healing journey, one thinks they will reach a happy plateau, or at least a stable one, in maybe 6 months to a year. That’s what I thought when I began my own healing journey from a similarly horrible childhood several years ago. As Mrs. Springer shows, that lovely plateau is imaginary. Healing comes in waves and it takes effort to find out when the current method is spent and a new one is needed. Healing can’t be passive; no one can “fix” you; it is your endless task to keep chasing it. Mrs. Springer shows this in unpretentious detail.
If you are tired of reading about euphemisms about what such a difficult life is like and want someone to lay it out for you bare and raw, this is your book.
If you want someone to white-wash it all, this is not your book.
A story like this is too important to be judged the way a poem or a novel is judged. To ring true, it must be written as it happened. This book does that.
A life like this is much too painful and horrible to be judged. If you want to judge the choices of someone who has been through hell in a way most people will never even be able to imagine, then you are not worthy of this book.
As a reader from the trenches down the road, I found this book inspiring. It inspired me to take effort to protect other children from still-living abusers, as when Mrs. Springer attempted to contact students of a former child-sex-predator flute teacher. It made me feel so human to read that Mrs. Springer completely falls apart during certain medical exams as I do, for similar reasons. It made me feel so validated that another adult can be so easily manipulated by a fake tax collector, as I am so easily brought to the floor by certain types also. It also made me feel that much more confident that I had made the right choice in going no-contact with my parents, even though it caused similar heartache to my children as it caused to hers. It made me understand that healing will remain a day-by-day effort indefinitely. It also inspired me to take my next step in healing. Such a book of validation for others, Mrs. Springer, thank you so much for this!
I think Mrs. Springer is wildly brave to print this with her real name. This exposes not just her, but her immediate family, to potentially injurious criticism. I admire that she took that risk. It makes her story that much more real.
I wish everyone would read this book. Child sexual abuse is so extremely prevalent. It shouldn’t just be those who suffered it who can see it. Mrs. Springer has offered this world a gift in writing this and I am grateful to her for it. As I stated in my title, this is the best book by far that I've ever read on the healing journey from sexual abuse, and I've read dozens upon dozens of such books.
In my opinion, this book is for anyone who has felt betrayed and wounded by someone they trust...anyone who's ever felt completely alone in the world...anyone who's felt powerless and afraid. While Relentless can be at times a difficult story to read, the beauty of this book is that Springer is sharing her most personal experiences, and that is a gift. To me her story is like an offering to others who suffer, a "hey, I know how bad it can be." It's a hand to hold as you accompany her transformation from tragedy to triumph, and realize that you could do this too. That's the final and most profound power in this memoir - it's inspiration.