- File Size: 3165 KB
- Print Length: 484 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publication Date: January 8, 2014
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00CB24VS2
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #366,735 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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In the Stillness Kindle Edition
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Natalie is a mother of twins and wife to Eric, a college grad student working toward obtaining his Ph.D. While she might have the life others might covet, Natalie is completely miserable. She lives in regret, guilt, and resentment. When I first started reading In the Stillness and reading Natalie's pov, I couldn't help but have mixed feelings. I was angry at her resentment of her life with a husband who adored her, yet I understood how deeply sick she had to be in order to self-mutilate. Her cutting was her drug of choice, her way of self-medicating. It was easier than confrontation and a release of sorts. I once talked with a former student about why she cut, and she described it as a release ... her pain was released as a comfort came over her when she felt the warmth of the blood running down her skin. This is not unlike Natalie's story. Andrea Randall has certainly done her research here and expressed Natalie's pain in an honest depiction.
While Natalie was bitter, angry, and resentful of everything her life had become; she really didn't want to hurt herself and she certainly didn't want anyone to know. Her inner battle to stop cutting continued, but when things became hard and she couldn't face them, she would turn to her drug of choice...a razor blade.
"Just a little. Just one more time."
Those are the infamous words of any drug addict. Sadly, Natalie wanted to dull her emotional pain with physical pain. My anger toward Natalie stems from her ability to shift the blame for her life toward everyone except herself ... but that is her sickness, so I couldn't remain angry with her for very long. Natalie really does want to change, but she feels trapped in a life that she never chose for herself. I had many questions where Natalie was concerned, and Andrea Randall gave me the answers in due time through a slow reveal that had my emotions all over the place. Just when Natalie tries her hardest to cope with one stressor, another comes along. I experienced great fear of just where Andrea Randall might be taking me in this story ... and my fears were realized in more ways than I thought.
"Change never comes slowly, brewing on the horizon. It's always in a second. Balanced on the tip of a razor blade, in empty pill bottles, behind two pink lines, or learning that one of your children is slowly slipping into a world of silence. And you can't leave your husband. Not now."
We meet Ryker through a series of flashbacks. In fact the character and story development regarding Ryker and Natalie's connection to Ryker was completely in the form of flashbacks for the first half of the book. The flashbacks were so well done, the transition between past and present was extremely smooth. Ryker is a soldier who has seen war at its worst, as he was deployed with his best friend, Lucas, to Afghanistan immediately following the tragedy of September 11. While in Afghanistan, Ryker experienced his share of catastrophes. He was a changed man from that whom his friends and family once knew. He suffered terribly at the claws of PTSD. He was completely emotionally disturbed as a result of his experiences. Like Natalie, Ryker also suffered from guilt. In fact, guilt seemed to be a commonality among many of the characters in this story, and closure is something that was desperately needed, yet seemed so far away for a few of the characters. Ryker truly tore at my heart. When he was himself, I loved him. When he was out of his mind and angered, I loved him. I couldn't NOT love Ryker, because ... well, he was Ryker, and Ryker knew how to love ... he just lost himself for a time in tragic circumstances.
"His body came home, but his soul had been devoured in the firefight of a godless desert."
While Natalie and Ryker are the main characters, Andrea Randall brings a host of stellar minor characters to her book. Eric was the loving husband, but he wasn't built so grand and loving that I would choose him over Ryker as a romantic hero. I did manage to pity Eric's circumstance, but I also didn't like him very much at first ... then I grew to dislike him with venom. Tosha, Natalie's best friend since they were college roommates, is the wise voice of reason and had Natalie's back, no matter what. She was supportive of Natalie without hovering and damaging their friendship. George and Marion were exactly who Natalie needed in her life, and the way Andrea Randall brought them into the story line was so pertinent to Natalie's healing. Again, this was an exceptional cast of minor characters who added so much to Natalie's story ... and her life.
Andrea Randall has told a story that truly needed to be told, and she did it in a moving and poignant way. This raw account of the lives of two people and those surrounding them was so vivid and real, I could hardly contain my nerves. The tenseness, the fears, the sadness, and the elation ... these were as real as the tears flowing down my cheeks and the lump in my throat that threatened to choke me. I was in full blown angst a few times in my reading, and I had the ugly, hiccuping, bawling distorted face for over an hour after finishing In the Stillness. When Charles Sheehan-Miles made the statement that In the Stillness was easily the best book he's read all year, I was thinking okay, he's friends with the author, but I trust his judgement. Charles, I couldn't agree with you more. This is easily the best book I've read all year, and I will be hard-pressed to find a book that will bring out of me such a strong reaction as this book. In the Stillness is a stimulant of the best and worst kind; it is truly captivating and commensurate with the suffering of so many in society. The only reason I haven't given In the Stillness 5+++++ stars is because of some editing issues that were missed, such as omitted words in places. Other than that, this book is crowning perfection, and I've never said that about a book before, but it is true. Natalie and Ryker's story will touch your heart in the ways that are good, bad, and ugly. You will feel and you will feel hard. The gradual healing that takes place in Natalie and in Ryker is so beautiful, I felt as though I were experiencing my own healing right along with them. I would love to see their story continue, but I'm not sure I can stand anymore conflict for the characters in this story, because I came to love them so much....
".... and you don't hurt the people you love. Not on purpose."
I can only imagine the emotion Andrea Randall went through in writing it, if I felt so much in reading it. This is a book not only to be read, but to be experienced, and I implore everyone to experience it with me.
"Heroes don't always wear capes, badges, or uniforms. Sometimes, they support those who do."
As previously stated, I'm not a cutter, but I really wanted (needed) to understand what goes on in the minds of those who do.
In my work as a Crisis Phone Responder at the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, I often take calls from people who cut. After reading Ms. Randall's book, I now have a better understanding of the motivation behind such a self-destructive act. I have no doubt this book will be on my mind the next time I take a call from someone who cuts. The author really opened my eyes to a world I didn't understand. I plan to read as many books related to the subject of cutting as I can, both fiction and nonfiction.
IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE:
While many calls come into the hotline from people experiencing suicidal thoughts and/or behavior, the majority of our callers are people who need nothing more than someone to talk to during a difficult time. We are here to listen. Most people don't realize this, but ANYONE can call our hotline, you don't have to be suicidal to make the call.
People call for a variety of reasons: they may need to vent after a bad day, they may need referrals for themselves or a loved one to free and/or sliding scale counselors in their area, perhaps they're going through a rough patch such as a divorce or a death in the family, or they'd like help for alcoholism or smoking cessation classes. We also receive calls from people who are worried that a friend or loved one may be contemplating suicide.
ANYONE can call the hotline, we're available 24/7, seven days a week. We take calls from ANY age, including young teens. We pride ourselves on anonymity, both ours and our callers.
Our PHONE NUMBER is 1-800-273-8255(TALK).
We've recently implemented a TEXT line to target teenagers who prefer to text. Our text line is new and currently only available M-F, from 3PM-Midnight but soon, it too will be available 24/7.
The TEXT NUMBERr is 208-398-4357(HELP).
Please don't hesitate to call or text if you or someone you know is in danger of hurting themselves or needs to talk to someone who is supportive and non-judgemental.
Please pass on our number!
In the Stillness was the most emotionally draining and most fulfilling book I've read in a long time, so much so that I've had a hard time organizing my thoughts and feelings into a review. I think most of it is because of Natalie. She's me. And because of that, her story was very cathartic for me and really made me step back and reevaluate myself.
In the Stillness isn't a book about cutting or a book about parenthood or a book about war. It's a journey. A journey of a girl to a woman, a boy to a man, and a woman to her true self. It's about acceptance, about change, and about emptying the guilt glass.
Because it's a journey, I think you (moms especially) have to hate Nat in the beginning, because there's a little of Nat in all of us (at least me). My love/hate relationship with Nat is just an extension of the love/hate relationship I have with myself and my own actions.
Have a box of tissues ready, you'll need them.