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Words Paperback – February 1, 2011
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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About the Author
Ginny Yttrup is an author, freelance writer, and writing coach. She has two grown sons and lives near Sacramento, California. Words is her first novel.
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Copyright 2011 ISBN-13: 978-1-4336-7170-8
"I collect words. I keep them in a box in my mind. I'd like to keep them in a real box, something pretty, maybe a shoe box covered with flowered wrapping paper. I'd write my words on scraps of paper and then put them in the box. Whenever I wanted, I'd open the box and pick up the papers, reading and feeling the words all at once. Then I could hide the box."
I love how this book starts out with, "I collect words." It instinctively drew me in, making me question what this meant. This story is told by the two main characters; Kaylee and Sierra. Reading the differing points of views made this very interesting. One chapter would be told by Kaylee and then the next by Sierra; repeated throughout the book. At times, you read how Sierra saw an event and then in the next chapter you read how Kaylee saw that very same event.
In chapter 1 we are introduced to Kaylee, an 11 year old girl who explains that her mom has left her and she is now living with her mom's ex-boyfriend. Ever since her mom has been gone her "words got stuck" meaning that she doesn't speak anymore. In Kaylee's words, "My mom left. I got scared. And the words got stuck." In the first chapter you get a real good idea of what has been happening to Kaylee, although you don't learn to what extent it's happening until later on in the book.
In chapter 2 we are introduced to Sierra, a young woman in her early 30's who is an accomplished artist. The first time you "meet" her here in chapter 2 it is the anniversary of a very sad event in her life - the day that a baby died, Sierra's baby girl. She takes one day out of the year to mourn her death and visit the cemetery. Sierra has lived with guilt over the death of her baby for the last 12 years and has never quite healed from this heart wrenching loss.
In chapter 3 two worlds collide - Sierra's and Kaylee's. Kaylee retreats to a hollowed out giant redwood tree escaping her "prison" each day when "he" leaves for work. It's when she was sitting quietly inside of the dark tree trunk that she hears someone driving close to her secret tree.
On the anniversary of the death of Sierra's baby, Sierra drives up to the mountains and walks to a clearing with a lookout point facing the ocean. Sierra doesn't know it yet but Kaylee is watching her as she looks off into the distance and dabs at the tears falling down her cheeks. Immediately Kaylee feels a connection to Sierra because she is suffering hurt like she is. Both of these characters are hurting deeply and seek a quiet place, a place of solace where no-one can see them, where they can sort out what is going on or simply to seek a place of refuge -it seems as though one is getting away from pain (the little girl, Kaylee), and the other one comes here to remember her pain (Sierra).
The way Sierra and Kaylee meet is very unique, original, and mysterious. This book wasn't predictable in any way, which kept me interested until the very end of the book. I found that when I had to stop reading (to make dinner or do the laundry), these characters would very much stay in my mind. I wanted to help them; they were so "real" to me as I was reading that I was transported to their world every time I picked my Kindle up.
This book is written from such a personal point of view that the relationship of each character in regards to anything spiritual, where God is mentioned, comes across as believable and never preachy or fake. This is the stuff that real life is made of. The author shows her ability to convey pain, abuse, helplessness, forgiveness, hope and healing in written form with eloquence.
I also thought that Ginny's descriptions of the scenes made it easy for the reader to imagine. For example; Kaylee showered with a "sliver of soap", "cold water", and "cobwebs". We are shown the poor conditions that she was living in. She didn't have shampoo, or hot water (because "he" never paid the electric bill), and it was never cleaned (hence the cobwebs). The author takes us to the deepest, darkest recesses of an abused child's mind. How the child developed a "silent scream" which played loud in her head after each abuse or when her thoughts would remind her of "him". How the abuse stole her voice -the only thing she had left that she could keep from "him".
There are some really inspiring quotes in this book also. One of them I really liked was when Sierra was talking about bits of wisdom that her daddy told her as she was growing up, "Look beyond a person's actions and see their heart. Look for what's causing them to act the way they act, then you'll understand them." Great insight!
As the story progresses, Sierra realizes that she needs a Savior. From Chapter 48, "Finally I'm beginning to understand the freedom found in the truth. Christ died to forgive my sins and He has forgiven me. Even more amazing is that He loves me. He loves me. The accusations I've lived with for so long have quieted. My mind is still and I'm resting in truth. Freedom. "
A little bit later Sierra realizes something, " Kaylee, an innocent child, paid the price for others' poor choices - just like Christ, who was also completely innocent, paid the price for my choices." In Chapter 50 Sierra continues to seek God and what it means to "rest in Christ", especially when she literally doesn't know what to do. This is a great reminder that we need to let God be in control of all areas in our lives. Lord, more of You, less of me.
This book reads like a counselor's insightful book, looking into the lives of hurt people and how to help them, what the process looks like, especially having God to turn to when we have no hope. "When we know the truth - Jesus - then He will set us free." Those who are hurting, or have been hurt by any kind of abuse will benefit from reading this book. I would also suggest that those who have never been through abuse should read it because more often than not we know someone who has. The story is written in such a realistic, but sensitive way that it tells the story AND offers hope to those who are hurting. When I read this book I knew it was no ordinary work of fiction, it was too personal to be completely made up. That's what makes this book great, the author has woven her personal experience in with the characters and storyline of the book making an utterly real, believable, extraordinary story that will reach others. This is a story ultimately of healing and forgiveness and hope - hope through Jesus Christ. We can count on Jesus to carry us through our most trying times.