Customer Reviews for

Life, In Spite of Me: Extraordinary Hope After a Fatal Choice

Average Rating 4.5
( 71 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 2
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2013

    Great book!

    I couldn't relate to Kristen... at all, but it was an amazing story! Totally worth reading!!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 8, 2011

    Life Changing -- Life, In Spite of Me

    Life changing. Simply astounding. Compelling. This novel is a must read for teens and adults alike. Not only does this book assist one in seeing the beauty of life, but it shows the amazing hope that God provides each of us, even when we feel that life is too much to handle.


    Within her novel, Life, In Spite of Me, Kristen shares the journey of her life, both before and after her accident. Kristen was a fun, loving, and outgoing young woman. Her life quickly began to fall apart when she faced the death of her grandmother and 3 close friends, along with being raped by a friend whom she felt that she could trust. She fell into a deep state of depression. Unfortunately, the depression took hold of her life. While walking through a Chicago park, late one night, Kristen heard a train whistle blow, and realized that laying down in front of the train could end all of the pain and sorrows she was dealing with. She laid down.

    She survived.

    Kristen's survival was seen as both medically impossible and miraculous. 33 train cars rolled over the top of Kristen's body, which severed both of her legs. After the accident, Kristen underwent several reconstructive surgeries and therapy sessions. She battled physical pain and emotional distress. But, most importantly, Kristen found God. She realized that she couldn't live her life on her own terms, or in her own way. She needed someone to lean on -- and God was just that.

    "I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review."

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2011

    Great book and inspirational!

    She wanted to die and God had other plans, definately sums up this inspirational story about Kristen Anderson. A 17 year old teenager dealing with numerous emotional traumas and the inability to cope with it all.

    I think that many readers no matter what age will be able to relate to her story and truly be able to empathize. Everyone has loved ones pass or have had trouble in's just life. It is a great story of overcoming emotional trauma and weakness and finding faith in God. Moreover, just finally recognizing the small signs God gives us daily to let us know he loves us and is there. There are small letters from the author throughout that give hope to those struggeling with death, suicide, and depression as well. Overall, I thought it was a good inspirational read and quick. It's great for young and older readers.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 19, 2011

    Incredible story of transformation

    I can't imagine feeling so desperate about my life that I would think that that laying on railroad tracks to kill myself would solve my problems. But that's how Kristen Anderson felt when she was seventeen years old. Things didn't turn out the way she expected, though. She survived-but lost her legs. Then she faced a whole new set of challenges: learning how to live life as an amputee, coming to remember how she had lost her legs, dealing with the depression that had caused her to feel that death was the only answer, wondering what the future held for her. Her story could have been a bitter pity-party story, but she has an incredibly positive testimony that she shares in this book-a book which is easily and quickly read. She includes short notes periodically to other young women who may be feeling the way she did on that fateful day, encouraging them that life does get better. She is an example of being able to take a horrific experience and allowing God to use it in positive ways. I don't know that I would have read this book had it not been provided free of charge by Multnomah Publishing in exchange for a review-but I'm glad I did.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 18, 2011

    An Inspirational Read

    Life, in Spite of Me is a tragic, yet inspirational account of one woman's fall into deep depression and suicide and her recovery into a life full of God's grace and happiness. With the help of Tricia Goyer, Kristen Jane Anderson has produced a book that gives the reader a glimpse into both Hell and Heaven. Kristen recounts her tragic drop into attempted suicide and her rehabilitation, both physical and emotional. Kristen shows the reader how a person can come back from a dark and painful place to a place filled with hope, love, and forgiveness; all with God's help.
    As a reader and a Christian, I was touched by Kristen's story. I believe Kristen has the power to lift people's spirits and save them from a life full of pain, like her life once was. I was intrigued in Kristen's story, from the details of what brought her to the point of attempting suicide to her amazing recovery. However, towards the end of the book (and Kristen's current life) I found myself almost battered by Kristen's praising of God. I completely understand her praise, but as a reader, I had to take a break from the overwhelming mention of God's Grace. I don't mean to say that God doesn't deserve Kristen's praise, however I got a little tired of reading how EVERYTHING Kristen does now, she does by first consulting with Him. Do you mean to tell me that you don't buy a new shirt unless God tells you it is His Will? That is the kind of feeling I was overcome with during the last few chapters of this book. I will highly recommend this book to all my Christian friends, but I will not recommend it to someone who is not completely devoted to God. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 9, 2011


    Overall: A story of depression, attempted suicide, finding Christ, and learning to rejoice again. A interesting, thought provoking book, although I must admit that I could not relate very well in many areas. However, I do think that those who do relate would especially benefit from this book. Not recommended for children. Best points: I really appreciated the honesty and tactfulness that Miss Anderson has in telling her story. From what I can tell, this book is mainly geared toward reaching those who are going through similar types of problems that the author did. Warnings: There are several things here which are not for kids. This may include, depending on the age: a rape, some instances of drunkenness, an attempted suicide and the aftereffects, and struggles with depression. My Rating: ?????????? 8 Stars out of 10 I received a free copy of this book from Waterbrook-Multnomah publishers in exchange for my honest review.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 25, 2011

    Inspirational Autobiography

    This book gripped me from the very beginning. When I began to read this book, I expected to read for half an hour or so, in between housecleaning and laundry duties, but, three hours later, I completed reading the very last page. I was unable to put the book down. This autobiography of a suicide attempt and God's redeeming love, is what the author calls a love story -- of a girl and her God, and how He used her near-fatal choice to draw her to Him.

    If you have ever struggled with depression, anxiety or thoughts of suicide, this book is one you should read. This is the true story of a young woman overwhelmed by tragic events that sent her reeling, the death of her Grandmother, the deaths of 3 friends, 1 by his own hand and then being raped by someone she thought she could trust, all within a 2 year span. So overwhelming in fact that she made the near-fatal choice to lay down on the railroad tracks as a freight train, consisting of 33 cars, barrels towards her at 55 mph. She should have been dead, but God had other plans for her life.

    The book begins with her suicide attempt, and takes the reader through the tragic events that lead up to it, and her remarkable journey to recovery. She includes letters and notes of things she wished someone would have said to her while she was struggling sprinkled through the book. At the end, she includes a list of red flags that indicate the contemplation of suicide as well as tips for how to help.

    Despite the moody nature of the story line, depression and suicide attempt, this book is really quite inspirational, and I would highly recommend it to anyone that has ever struggled with depression.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Blogging For Books review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 19, 2011

    An Inspirational Read!

    One day night, seventeen-year-old Kristen Jane Anderson decided that her pain was too much and she wanted to die. She left a note for her mom and went to lay on some train tracks. Thirty-three freight cars went over her, she lost her legs and her depression continued, but God had bigger plans for her life.

    Kristen was in and out of the hospital and had several different counselors. Her family, friends (old and new), and professionals helped her to regain her confidence in life.

    My thoughts-

    Kristen Jane Anderson is a remarkable young woman. She has been through so much yet she has been able to reach an inner peace and through God help others. I am so glad she has been able to heal and write the story for us to read.

    I think this book would be a good book to have in offices where they help people to deal with suicidal thoughts and other issues of desperation and also for those who have lost a limb.

    Would I recommend? Yes. I would recommend this book to everyone, because Kristen is so inspirational and her writing can lead us to know that we can get through it all with God's help.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the WaterBrook Multnomah "Blogging For Books" program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    When God is present, prepare for goose-bumps: Life, In Spite of Me

    "Numb. The cold Illinois wind chilled my body.
    Numb. My mind, my heart."

    I think most of us, as teenagers, could relate to these feelings of being numb - both inside and out. What most of us cannot relate to are the tragedies that Kristen Jane Andersen suffered through in a few short years; the death of a loved one - her grandmother, the suicide of a dear friend and classmate, and being raped. Each of these things in their own right is enough to send anyone spiraling into depression. The three compounded on top of each other is more than most adults could deal with; let alone a 17 year-old girl. Then one fateful night in January Kristen Andersen gave up on everything and laid upon the railroad tracks; it was then, after being run over by 33 freight train cars at 55 miles-per-hour an event that both medically and realistically should have brought about the end of her life, that she truly learned what it meant to "be given a second chance". God clearly had bigger plans in store for Kristen and her life, as she would learn in the years to come.

    Life, In Spite of Me is an inspirational story of hope, love and trust in God and Jesus Christ. I must admit that while I was excited to read Kristen's story; I wasn't sure how I was going to relate and whether or not it would keep me engaged. I needn't have worried.

    I had an incredibly difficult time putting it down.

    Kristen Jane Andersen and Tricia Goyer did a fantastic job telling her story, while keeping some parts from getting too gory. The backstory was very well written and helped me feel connected to Kristen before anything else took place. It gave me a sense of being brought into a story, rather than simply being told the details of what had happened. I then found myself cheering her on as if my words and emotions had any bearing on the outcome at all.

    It amazed me how clear to me it was that God was clearly working in Kristen's life. In a manner which gave me the chills, to be quite honest. While I can certainly appreciate Kristen's story from a much more personal respect, I must admit that towards the end things became a bit too religious for my tastes. As someone who has battled depression for most of my life, I could see where the last seven chapters could be a bit overwhelming. I would certainly never judge another for their religious beliefs or convictions; however, I was hoping that as an inspirational book geared toward those who are depressed and possibly suicidal it would stay just this side of too much. At times, I felt that it failed in this respect.

    In the end of the book Kristen has even included a brief letter from her mother, Jan Andersen, concerning the events of January 2nd that led to Kristen losing her legs. I was pleased to find this letter as it answered some questions I had. It also caused me to become even further engaged in their story. She also made it a point to include a list of possible signs and symptoms of suicidal thoughts and ideations.

    Life, In Spite of Me is a very moving and inspiring story. I do not know that I would go so far as to say that it is a must read for anyone who is depressed or suicidal. However, if you are looking for an inspirational, feel good book, that will give you goose-bumps (on more than one occasion) then this is definitely a must read.

    ~ This book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 22, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    What an Incredible Journey

    This young woman who survived being run over by 33 cars of a train going 55 miles per hour is such an inspiration, showing God's love, grace and mercy working in her. It is a powerful story of restoration and purpose. God spared her in a mighty way and anyone who needs or knows of someone who needs encouragement, this is the book for them. Her suicide attempt was the start of redemption in her life. Life is worth living even in the dark times, and we don't have to face those times alone. She shows how God wants a relationship with us, and the extent He will go to draw us near to Himself.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Life in Spite of me

    Although the ending of this book revolves around joy, the beginning has some tough points. Depression and its various mistresses are discussed in great detail. This book is great for people that need to put their life into perspective. If you've ever thought you'd had a bad day, books like this will show you it's not really all that bad. Or, if your life situation is the same as or worse than what is initially described in this book, you shall find hope. If the authors can overcome tough times, then so can you. This book isn't some theological treatise on how to feel well. Rather, it is just women spilling their hearts out onto pages of paper. With all the complexity of religion, these women put that aside and dwell on the simple notion of Christ's Cross and Love. Since there are some serious moments in this book, I would not recommend it for young readers who may not be mature enough to internalize this message.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2011

    Great Inspiring read! Miracles

    Her extraordinary tale of triumph over depression and a freight train suicide attempt will leave you at the seat of your pants. If you've never struggled with the why's of life or depression you will still be inspired by this moving tale. Reminding me of the wonderful book by Joni Eareckson Tada, Kristen has a story that's all her own making. Showing us that God is with us in every sorrow and has a plan even when we can't see it; God spoke directly to even my own personal dark nights of despair I'm sure He will to yours too. Beginning with tales of a loving family Kristen shares how a series of tragdies including a death of a family member, the suicide of friend and a rape by a friend drove her to attempt to take her own life at the wheels of a freight train. Without giving away too much,(you'll have to buy the book) I'll tell you she survived, not with losing her legs in the ordeal. She shares stories of her rehabilitation, leaning to walk again and regaining hope and the will to live. She also shares God helped her in overcoming her depression and need for prescription drugs to transforming her into speaker,ministry leader bible student and dynamic witness for Christ. Truly an inspiring read indeed, i hope you'll pick it up.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    There IS Hope!

    When Kristen Anderson was seventeen, she attempted suicide by lying down on the train tracks near her home. Miraculously, she survived, but she lost both of her legs. Life, In Spite of Me is her story.

    Anderson traces the events and emotions that brought her to the point where she felt suicide was her best option. But the main focus of the book is her life after the suicide attempt. She is honest about the struggles she has faced, but the book overflows with the peace and joy she has found in Christ.

    I really enjoyed this book. It's a very easy read, and though anyone could enjoy it, I think it would be especially good for teen girls. I know I would have benefited from reading a story like Anderson's when I was a teen. Though I never struggled with depression myself, I had friends who did, and I think learning about someone else's struggles would have helped me understand theirs. Anderson understands the pressures that surround teens in high school, and after some chapters, she writes letters directly to those who face depression, heartache, or suicidal thoughts.

    Should you read it? Yes, especially if you've been depressed or you know someone who has.

    This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I expressed are my own.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Life, In Spite of Me

    My Synopsis:

    Life, In Spite of Me: Extraordinary Hope After a Fatal Choice by Kristen Jane Anderson with Tricia Goyer

    Kristen Anderson grew up in an average home, on an average street in an average town. But, she wasn't an average girl. She had the picture perfect life it seemed to people on the outside, but inside she was screaming for help. The death of her grandmother and the suicide of a close friend, weigh heavily on her mind and heart. She is raped at a party and cannot even bring herself to tell her friends or her parents. Everything seems out of control, but when she doesn't come one night, her parents are frantic to try to do something about her behavior and decide to ground her indefinitely.

    Kristen is so distraught from all of heartache she has suffered that she makes a choice that will change her life forever. She decides to take her own life by lying down on the railroad track in front of an oncoming train. 38- freight cars running at over 55 mph run over Kristen and still she lived to tell the story. Both of her legs were severed and she had to re-evaluate everything in her life. Still fighting bouts with depression and suicidal thoughts Kristen finds God and starts to make over her life. She realizes that she has been focused on herself when she should have been focused on him. Kristen uses her story to teach young adults, teens and even adults about suicide and how to prevent it. What to look for, how to find more in life than just the pain.

    My Thoughts:

    Kristen's story is dramatic and gripping. She writes from that honest place inside herself that wants to help people who may be suffering what she went through. God chose to let Kristen live because He had a greater plan for her life even though it took her awhile to find it. He was always right there waiting. One of my favorite parts of the book talked about how she had to find a way to let God, be her best friend. That really struck a cord in me. We tell our best friends everything, we lean on them when we need a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on. We ask their advice and we listen. Thats how I want my relationship to be with God. I want him to be my best friend.

    She also talked about she how she had been focusing so much on herself, because she felt like that's what she needed to do to get better, when in reality she needed to be focused on something else. In this case that something else was God. She surrounded herself with a good church family and people who were putting God first in their lives and she began to see great changes in her own life. Kristen's website "Reaching You Ministries" has helped numerous people who suffer from depression and suicidal thoughts. She is a brilliant speaker and a great writer.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 17, 2010

    Powerful story of a life redeemed

    Life in Spite of Me by Kristen Anderson & Tricia Goyer is a proclamation of hope that God has plans for each and every one of us, even when we try to mess them up. The year Kristen turned seventeen, she faced an enormous amount of upheaval and tragedy. Date raped at a party by a cute guy, the death of her beloved grandmother, the suicide of a close friend all steered her toward a hard-drinking and partying lifestyle. When her parents cracked down, grounding her indefinitely, she felt at the end of her rope. Sick of hiding the pain inside and feeling that she was a disappointment to everyone who loved her, she laid down in front of a train hoping to end it all. Thirty-three train cars traveling 55 miles per hour raced over her body, cutting off both of her legs, but she was still alive. In the months of recuperation, Kristen at first forgot how she ended up on the tracks, but then was forced to face the terrible decision she had made. Her struggles with depression, guilt, and horrendous pain caused her to turn to Jesus in hopes of making sense of it all. Kristen's story is told with brutal honesty, but even in the midst of the darkest days, the reader can feel her faith on every page. This young woman has turned her tragedy into a triumph and uses it to reach out to other teens who may be hurting like she was.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 7, 2010

    more from this reviewer


    Fast read, very light and enjoyable. Might seem a little overly religious at times but overall it was a good inspiring story.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 2