Book Review: Life in Spite of Me by Kristen Jane Anderson

So here’s the story – and, unfortunately, it’s one I experienced all too often when I served as a school administrator.  Teenage girl suffers with depression; teenage girl decides she wants to kill herself; teenage girl lies down on the railroad tracks to end her life; 33 train cars run over teenage girl; teenage girl miraculously survives.  While I had plenty of students who have threatened to try or have actually tried suicide, none of them succeeded and, thankfully, none of them tried it this way.

But that’s Kristen Jane Anderson’s story.  Life in Spite of Me begins by holding no punches – you enter directly into her decision to take her life and what she experienced underneath that train.  My wife asks why I read books like this – actually, I wanted to read it hoping it would give me a better understanding of what some of my students struggle with (it did), what I didn’t expect was the depth of insight this young lady has.  The book is an amazing story – one I found hard to put down – of God’s grace and goodness.  Kristen uses her experience to now reach out to others all over the country to help combat this growing issue of teens – particularly girls – engaging in destructive behavior.  The book chronicles her recovery, both physical, emotional, and spiritual.  But it doesn’t stop with her recovery – it continues on to what she does now and the ministry she leads reaching out to these young people – if you’d like to visit her ministry’s (Reaching You Ministries) website click here.

I’ll just say that this is a “must read” book for anyone who works with youth.  I’m going to give it 4.5/5 stars.  And, yes, I did receive a complimentary copy of the book in return for an honest (though not necessarily favorable) review.