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

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  • Posted May 7, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    This is a MUST read Book!

    I got the chance to read and review the book called 'Life, In Spite of Me' and it was an awesome book. She was only 17 years old and still in school, and she is a good kid for the most part. Then of course along comes this girl she meets who is in with the bad crowd, and she starts drinking, smoking pot, and cigarettes, missing class, not doing homework.

    Well it all comes to a head one night when her mom started to holler at her about her doing her homework, and her friends, she said "I don't like your friends, I think they are a bad influence on you" that just made Kristen madder and she started to scream back which she had never done before. She told her mom "her friends are not a bad influence on me, I am doing these things because I want to...."

    "It was cold out that night, but I didn't care I took off towards the park, I didn't know where else to go. I sat there in the swings thinking, twisting around in the swings. I kept thinking' lately it seemed like I could not do anything right, I wasn't there for my family or my friends anymore', and a deep chill set in on my bones and my thoughts grew darker.

    I tried to think of a reason to stick around and live, I mean all I was doing was smoking, drinking, and partying on the weekends trying to escape the pain. The only reason I could think of was my nephews, but I'm not a good example for them anymore. Man I was cold and it was getting late, suddenly a train whistle blew, and I looked over at the train tracks...

    This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. Get your copy today at Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Company:

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2012

    Five stars

    This book is amasing i got to meet kristen anderson and she sighned my book at a young womans breaking through conferance she has so much joy and happyness in her personality now if you ever get to meet her like i did you will love her i am twelve and this book is amazing you have to read it i recamend it to every one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Posted April 20, 2012

    I loved it! Such a beautiful testimony! I really enjoyed readin

    I loved it! Such a beautiful testimony!

    I really enjoyed reading this book, I put myself in her shoes and imagined the pain she felt as she sat by the cold rail road tracks. Kristen shares in detail the events that led her to want to commit suicide and after a failed attempt she goes on to explain the depression she went through when she realised that her life would never be the same but how she found the strength to rise up from the pit which she had fallen to new hope, life and faith in God. I would highly recommend this book to anybody who feels there are at the end of their rope and cannot hold on any longer. There is no returning after suicide but Thank God there is Hope in Jesus Christ.I rate this book with 5 stars because of its honesty and openness. There is indeed life after a tragedy, God can turn your mess into a beautiful testimony and message.This book is well-written, captures the reader’s attention and allows the reader to travel with Kristen through her journey.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2012

    Trurly INSPIRING

    When i started reading this i just started to cry. She left a huge impact on me and has showed me that God is always there whenever you need him. There is no need to hesitate because he is always listening. God is also our creator and Jesus has been through alot and we have to put our trust in him and not on anybody else.

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  • Posted December 27, 2011

    Insightful and Encouraging

    Reaching out to others who may be hurting or looking for answers, Kristen Anderson shares her story in a refreshing, easy to read and free flowing way that hooks readers immediately. Through the journey of her hurts, suicide attempt, recovery and disappointments along the way, Anderson sheds light on a dark story, finding hope in Christ and a new life. Among chapters are intermittently spaced notes from Kristen to the reader in regards to specific topics such as sucide and what to do to get help if one is in that situation.

    I initially chose to read this book because I was curious. Having never heard Kristen's story, I was unaware of the book's true message. Once I got started reading, I had a difficult time putting the book down, finishing it in a matter of two days. This story is a quick read, with short chapters that flow smoothly, walking the reader through Anderson's life from the point right before her suicide attempt to the present, sharing insight and encouragement through her hurts, pain, depression and strggles.

    A highly recommended read. Readers from all walks of life and histories will find some nugget of truth and help within this book. Especially recommended for teens or other individuals facing severe depression and thoughts of suicide.

    I received this ebook for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated for writing this review.

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  • Posted October 14, 2011

    A Must Read - You'll be totally inspired!

    Oh, my goodness. I could NOT put this book down. I read it in one setting. Kristen is a total inspiration and she will make you see your life differently.

    The first two chapters were very difficult to read and I found myself with tears streaming down my face more than once. Kristen tried to commit suicide when she was 17 years old. Her method was horrific, to say the least, but God had other plans for this wonderful, young woman, and the really great thing? She listened to God and inspires us today.

    Kristen lives in pain from losing her legs and since I live in pain, it made me take a good look at the fact that God uses our pain to help others. Kristen touches so many lives with her testimony, her ministry, and her love of Jesus! Even though no one would fault her if she felt sorry for herself, she doesn't. She looks outside herself to see other hurting people that she can help by sharing the Gospel with them. She shows them that God has a plan for all of us and He can use us if we will only just submit to Him and allow Him to do his wonderful work in us.

    Trust me, you're going to want to read this book. It will make you long to grow closer to God and, if you don't know God, you're going to want to know Him. I give this book a definite 5 stars and it will be a book I go to time and again - especially if I'm having a day I'm needing some encouragement or I'm feeling sorry for myself.


    This ebook was provided to me by Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for my honest review

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  • Posted September 26, 2011

    A Must Read for ANYONE who works with youth

    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.

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  • Posted July 20, 2011


    Life, In Spite of Me is a very moving story that offers hope to a world full of people who are considering suicide, have attempted suicide, or anyone who has lost a dear one to suicide. It is a story of hope to the depressed, the disabled, and the hopeless.

    Kristen Jane Anderson wanted to end her pain and her life, so she laid down on the railroad tracks by her house. Thirty-three freight cares ran over her at fifty-five miles per hour and she lived. But her legs had been cut off and were lying on the ground ten feet away from her body.

    I loved reading Kristen's transformation from a depressed, hurting teen who had been raped to a young woman who lives because God has a purpose for her life. Reading Kristen's story from her perspective was eyeopening, heart breaking, and life changing. The book also includes notes of encouragement from Kristen and resources for suicide prevention.

    I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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  • Posted July 18, 2011


    Overwhelmed with choices she had made and consequences of these choices, Kristen Anderson made a decision to put an end to it all. One cold January night, she lay down in the path of an oncoming freight train. Before the engineer can bring the train to a stop, Kristen has been run over by 33 train cars. After she wakes up in the hospital, all she can remember is opening her eyes and seeing her legs laying 10 feet away from her. It's nothing short of a miracle that she survives this horrific experience and eventually she comes to realize that God really does have a purpose for her life. This book follows Kristen from the encounter with the train, through surgeries and physical therapy. The journey is not just a physical one, but also a spiritual one, as she comes to understand how much God loves her and what it means to have a real relationship with him.

    This book was very moving and inspirational; it is full of insight into Kristen's thoughts and experiences. It's an easy read; I read it in about 3 nights. The book is well written, conversations are written in present tense, not just a recollection of events. Kristen is very encouraging and stresses the importance of a relationship with Jesus Christ. Some chapters end with notes to the reader about how to deal with issues such as suicidal thoughts, rape, etc. For a girl who has been through so much, Kristen's personality seems to shine in this book without feeling fake or holding anything back.

    Disclaimer: A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers. All thoughts are my own and I was not required to post a positive review.

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  • Posted July 15, 2011

    Inspiration at Its Best

    I recently read Life, In Spite of Me: Extraordinary Hope After a Fatal Choice By Kristen Jane Anderson, that was provided free from WaterbrookMultnomah Publishers in exchange for an honest review. Anderson takes you along her spiritual journey as she seeks to find purpose in life. After a failed suicide attempt, she must answer questions and issues she had been previously ignoring, in the face of new physical challenges and adversity.

    This book is wonderful, heart-warming grace at its best. Anderson walked around numb to the world wanting to find a means to end her internal tempest. It is amazing, to say the least, how God can be patient and understanding waiting for someone to finally submit their lives to His will. It took this failed attempt to enlighten Kristen of the love that always surrounded her.
    It was a little disconcerting to read about Kristen's attempt. "I clenched my fists, crossed my arms under my head, and braced myself, closing my eyes tight. My head and body lay between the tracks, my legs hung over the rail. I could feel the cold metal against my thighs and the wood and rocks under my stomach. As the train closed in, ...." (pg. 5) Anderson is brave to share her ultimate triumph of finding meaning in life.
    I can only imagine the positive effects Life, In Spite of Me could have on a person dealing with their own personal, volatile trials. This book is great for anyone, particularly young women whom may be searching for themselves and subsequently find their identity in Christ. This book was so intriguing it captivated my attention from the first page. I had seen this cover repeatedly and was excited to read it. It was a pleasure to read and breathed life into my heart. God has certainly made a beautiful, new creation out of a desperate girl wallowing in ashes. May it do the same for more hurting hearts.

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  • Posted July 12, 2011

    A Must Read!

    Wow, what an inspiring story. Thank God Kristen didn't succeed in her suicide attempt, her future would've been hell. And thank God Kristen is fulfilling the plans God has for her.

    The events that occured prior to her suicide attempt drove her to the edge.
    Kristen decided to take her life allowing multiple train cars to run over her body. She lost her legs but not her life.

    Well written, emotional, and candid, I pray that Kristen's story will reach many who are contemplating suicide. She openly shares her life, good and bad, with readers in order to show them how precious life is and how good God is. Suicide is not the answer.

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  • Posted July 2, 2011

    A great summer read!

    This is a must summer read!!
    Kristen Anderson was an ordinary seventeen year old, but has an extraordinary testimony of faith and deliverance. Kristen decided one evening that she no longer wanted to live and decided to end the pain and emotional misery that she had been put through. She finally had enough and was determined to end her life by laying across train tracks near her families home. She wanted to die.

    While I will not spoil what happened, Kristen did not die, but instead dealt with an even deeper depression. She continued to have suicidal thoughts and physical pain due to the train track incident. This book is amazing and so is Kristen. I especially recommend this book to anyone struggling with depression or trying to find a calling in their live. This book will bring a fresh perspective on the plans God has for us all. This is a great, quick read and is a must!

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  • Posted June 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer



    This book was moving, and heart-wrenching as well as inspiring. Kristen went through so much and still found her way to God and a life she could be proud of. The sad truth is that many people don't realize the heart-ache and turmoil that a lot of teens go through in their lifetime. These young adults need people to reach out to and role models to look up to. I am sure that Kristen is one of them as she has already and will continue to make a difference in the lives of many.

    The story is well-written and gives you a true sense of her feelings and how hard it was for her to transition her life in a positive way. I definitely recommend this book to anyone that has thoughts of suicide or anyone that may know someone that does. This book will change their lives for the better. Of that I'm sure.

    -Kitty Bullard / Great Minds Think Aloud Book Club

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  • Posted June 25, 2011

    This book will increase your compassion toward others

    This is an amazing inspiring story about a seventeen year old girl struggling with depression, who made a decision to lay down on her neighborhood railroad tracks to end her life. Amazingly, God spared her life,but she lost her legs. From the very first chapter, the reader feels extreme empathy for the author, Kristen, as she recounts the horrific events surrounding her suicide attempt. Kristen should have died that night, but God had other plans. She brings the reader along in recounting her journey toward hope and healing, and ultimately ending with her salvation and the amazing life God had planned for her. My heart broke for this young woman, and through her story, I felt a deeper understanding for those who struggle with depression, anxiety, and suicidal tendencies. I absolutely loved this book. I was inspired and moved by this story, and feel that anyone who has a relationship with someone who struggles with depression or has teens in the home who may become depressed due to the world we live in should read this book! It is also an eye opener for someone who would like a greater understanding in ministering to others.This book will tug at your heart and increase your compassion, I challenge you to read it! I received this book from the publisher. 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 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Posted June 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A heart wrenching memoir of a teens struggle with depression, a failed crippling suicide and her struggle to attain a personal relationship with God.

    A mix of emotions swam over me as I read this real life memoir of Kristen's life. A taboo subject for many Depression seems to eat away at our society while doctors look to treat it with medication, as if there is no other available option. I learned a lot from this book even though I have struggled with depression myself throughout my lifetime, due to undiagnosed ADHD. I could relate to Kristen as she struggled to get off her anti-depressants feeling they were doing nothing for her but numbing her emotions and encasing her thoughts in a fog day after day. The survival of Kristen after her trauma is a true miracle that will inspire you whether you have struggled with depression yourself or with a family member.

    I believe every teen should have a copy of this book. We as everyday parents can so easily miss the signs if our child is struggling with depression, as many have. Kristen shares inspirational prayers and thoughts at the end of each chapter which touched my heart. Raised a Catholic like Kristen I have always felt there was something more to this life and my relationship with God than I was taught during my childhood while attending Catholic church and Catholic school. Some of us go on throughout our lifetime attending a church for years because that is where our parents took us and feel empty as adults. One main reason why later as an adult I turned away from attending church services. However I have always kept my belief and relationship with God throughout my lifetime. Like any other person, I have at times thought I pulled away from God out of anger or disappointment, later to find out those were the times when he carried me, due to my unstable state of mind. This is touched upon in Life In Spite of Me by Kristen could not remember the moments before her suicide attempt, those last few moments leading up to it. The lowest point for someone suffering from depression is the point when a persons rational mind is shut down. It is as if a demon has taken full control of this persons thoughts and feelings.

    After Kristen awoke and was conscious she was tormented by the thought that if she had died, would she have ended up in hell. This is something the Catholic religion, among others has taught followers for centuries. Kristen got her answer from a family friend, however I totally did not agree with his belief. I don't believe if someone dies before accepting or even knowing God whether by an accident or suicide they automatically end up in hell, if there evn is one, but that's another topic. If this was so then heaven would be a very empty place. Why would our loving God punish someone for not being in their right mind or having a mental disorder that caused their death. With this in mind If Kristen's book saves even a handful of lives, provides comfort for lost souls, and instills in them a belief in God whether they are believers or not, she has cultivated a perpetual garden, that is just beginning to sprout, because God has much more planned for Kristen than she can ever imagine.

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  • Posted May 30, 2011

    A must read for anybody who wants to help others!

    This is an honest and encouraging account of Kristen Anderson's suicide attempt and the life that was literally redeemed on so many levels. Kristen tells her story with candor and there are parts of it that will resonant with everybody, whether you have had struggled with suicidal thoughts or just doubts about your self-worth. I could not put the book down. Buy this book and pass it on, you won't regret it.

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  • Posted April 12, 2011

    Excellent! Encouraging!

    Wow, what amazing trials Kristin got through. With her determination she didn't know she had in the hospital, she has really turned her life around for the better. God really did have a plan for her here on Earth. She gives off amazing wisdom and strength, yet is able to still keep that connection to the reader so that it feels as if you are talking to her over a cup of coffee.

    Kristin's letters to the readers are an amazing encouragement. You can really feel how strongly God is in her life.

    A lot of her inner dialog after the accident reminds me of my husband, a paraplegic from a motorcycle accident. This connection and similarity made me feel especially close to Kristin.

    She is an amazing young woman and tells her story wonderfully.

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  • Posted April 11, 2011

    Insightful and encouraging

    Life, In spite of Me is an incredible story about a teenage girl who attempted suicide. She survived, but lost her legs. Through the pain and struggles that followed, she discovered a new hope by centering her life on God. She tells us the events, and their emotional impact, that lead up to her decision to end her life. We can actually feel the hopelessness as depression overwhelmed her. Then after the accident, we are with her through the pain, multiple surguries, and fear of what life will be like without her legs. I gained a new insight into the world through her perspective. So many things we take for granted, going to the bathroom, getting in and out of bed or a car are a struggle now. Even being dropped when a friend gives her a piggy back ride would be normally be funny, but humiliating when you can't catch yourself, or even get back up. None of these activities are an issue for most of us, but someone with a handicapp has to plan and be prepared for them. When Kristen went to a party, saw her old friends drinking and flirting, she finally realized how empty her old life had been. "There's got to be more to life" she wondered. She found the answers in God. She asked him into her life and began learning and growing close to Him. This was an insightful section for me as well. I am also a 'baby' Christian, and I learned so much along with Kristen. I was amazed at how God used Kristen to touch so many lives. Her story destinctly touched mine. Now is your turn.

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  • Posted March 14, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Redemption Through Darkness

    Life In Spite of Me, by Kristen Jane Anderson with Tricia Goyer, is a story of darkness, illumination, and ultimate redemption through Jesus Christ. Her words penetrate the soul and encourage the reader to find hope in any situation, no matter how hopeless it may seem.
    The book can be divided into three main sections; her childhood and adolescent years and eventual attempted suicide, her post-suicide attempt and the physical and emotional pain that she endured, and her eventual surrender to Christ.
    Kristen's story doesn't start as one might expect since she had a pretty happy childhood. But through a series of events, her outlook on life continued to darken to the point where she decided one night to lay herself down on the train tracks and end it all.
    The train did not kill her, though, and Kristen was angry with God that he had kept her on earth. She struggled with understanding why she was still alive and wrestled with her own spirituality. After many nights pondering whether she would have gone to heaven or hell if she had died on those cold tracks, she found her answer through the guidance of a Christian friend and soon decided to give her life over to Jesus Christ. While Kristen's struggles did not end there, she found a renewed purpose to life and chose to use her story as a tool to reach others who suffered the way she had.
    This book is an invaluable resource to anyone who may be struggling with feelings of depression or suicide as Kristen writes personal letters to the reader that reach out and say, "I know what you're going through. There is hope in Christ." And while this book may not initially seem to be quite as valuable to someone who has never struggled with these feelings, that would be presumptuous. Kristen's story allows those who may be on the outside looking in to recognize the warning signs of depression and suicide in the hopes that others will not come to the point of utter despair like she did. I would recommend this book to anyone who may think that life isn't worth living, or to anyone who desires to have a greater understanding of the strain caused by feelings of depression and suicidal tendencies.
    I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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  • Posted March 11, 2011

    Comfort, Encouragement & Inspiration for Life

    "Life, In Spite Of Me: Extraordinary Hope After a Fatal Choice" by Kristen Jane Anderson with Tricia Goyer is the amazing story of the author. At only 17 years old, she made a choice that should have ended her life. She has used her story to inspire and encourage others while bringing awareness to the issue of suicide.

    Depression is something that is near and dear to my heart. I found comfort in this book learning Kristen's story and how she overcame her obstacles in life. The book begins on the night of her failed suicide attempt, then follows Kristen through her memories that led up to that breaking point, and her struggle to recover. Like may of us, Kristen was raised going to church with our parents but never "formally" accepting Christ into our lives. Kristen shows us how it's never too late to accept the Lord and how He is always there for us, wanting us to accept and love Him. He worked miracles in Kristen's life and wants to do the same for us.

    This is definitely a book that I'm passing on so that others can be blessed by it. This would be great gift for anyone going through hard times, in need of comfort or looking for a great read.

    Dear reader,

    This is my story. Sometimes it gets a little'll see, but my guess is that in many ways my story and yours are not that different. Between some of the chapters you will find personal notes from me to you. These include things I wish I had known, things I wish someone had told me back then. I hope you will find what I've shared encouraging.

    I am praying for you.

    Disclosure: I received this book without charge from the publisher for this review.

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