Life, In Spite of Me: Extraordinary Hope After a Fatal Choice [NOOK Book]

Overview

She wanted to die. God had other plans.

Why does my life have to be so painful?
What’s wrong with me?
It’s not going to get better.
It could all be over soon, and then I won’t hurt anymore.
 
...
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Life, In Spite of Me: Extraordinary Hope After a Fatal Choice

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Overview

She wanted to die. God had other plans.

Why does my life have to be so painful?
What’s wrong with me?
It’s not going to get better.
It could all be over soon, and then I won’t hurt anymore.
 
Kristen Anderson thought she had the picture-perfect life until strokes of gray dimmed her outlook: three friends and her grandmother died within two years. Still reeling from these losses, she was raped by a friend she thought she could trust. She soon spiraled into a seemingly bottomless depression.
 
One January night, the seventeen-year-old decided she no longer wanted to deal with the emotional pain that smothered her. She lay down on a set of cold railroad tracks and waited for a freight train to send her to heaven…and peace.
 
But Kristen's story doesn’t end there.
 
In Life, In Spite of Me this remarkably joyful young woman shares the miracle of her survival, the agonizing aftermath of her failed suicide attempt, and the hope that has completely transformed her life, giving her a powerful purpose for living.
 
Her gripping story of finding joy against all odds provides a vivid and unforgettable reminder that life is a gift to be treasured.  
 
Includes notes of encouragement Kristen wishes she had received when she was struggling most.


From the Hardcover edition.
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  • Kristen Jane Anderson
    Kristen Jane Anderson  

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Life, In Spite of Me is a remarkable story of life beyond despair and hope that triumphs over tragedy.” 
   —Louie Giglio, pastor, Passion City Church/The Passion Movement

“Suicide is a liar and a thief. It promises peace to those who are escaping but delivers unimaginable pain and rejection to those left behind. Kristen Jane Anderson’s riveting story unmasks the thief and gives hope a face.”
   —Dr. Dennis Rainey, president, FamilyLife Ministries

“When I first met Kristen, I was overwhelmed with her smile, and then I saw her wheelchair. It was a defining moment for me. I had not heard her story or why she’d ended up at Moody. But it was her smile—and it is still her smile—that dismantles me. Kristen has something. It is something otherworldly. She had every reason to die, but now she has every reason to live. I hope you’ll read her story, see her smile, and know why she lives.”
   —Michael Easley, former president, Moody Bible Institute
   

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781601422538
  • Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/4/2010
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 341,398
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Kristen Jane Anderson has been featured on Oprah and is a popular speaker at colleges, women’s and youth events, churches, and suicide prevention outreaches. A graduate of Moody Bible Institute and the founder of Reaching You Ministries, Kristen seeks to help those who are hurting, hopeless, lost, suicidal and depressed.
 
Tricia Goyer is the author of three hundred articles for national periodicals, as well as fourteen novels and six nonfiction books, including Blue Like Play Dough.


From the Hardcover edition.
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Read an Excerpt

Dear reader,
This is my story. Sometimes it gets a little crazy…you’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.
Kristen


Numb. The cold Illinois wind chilled my body.

Numb. My mind, my heart.

   At just past 6:00 p.m., the sky was black, and the icy January air hovered over the ground as a thick, misty fog. Snow clung to the dirt in patches, and my heart felt as dead as the wintry world around me. Silently, I trudged through the park and tugged my knit gloves tighter. I wanted only to be happy and for life to be a little easier, but everything seemed to be getting worse.
   On one side of me, the park was dark and silent. Once full of life and laughter, my soul was the same. Play equipment, empty and laced with frost, sat motionless. In the other direction, lights from the town attempted to penetrate the fog. The idea of going home caused a heavy weight to sink in my stomach. I didn’t want to face my parents.
   Or my life.
   Cold seeped through my jeans and coat as I sat down on the hard wooden seat of a nearby swing. Frozen chains creaked softly, and my thoughts took me back to all the times I’d played at this park during happy childhood days—too many to count. Now I was seventeen; those days were long past.
   Why does life have to be so painful?
   I turned in the swing, twisting the chains above my head tighter and tighter. Then I released. My body unwound in a slow turn. If only the invisible chains wrapped around my heart would free as easily.
   A car drove by, and my body tensed. The park closed at dusk. Policemen patrolled the area, and I knew if they found me they’d send me home. 
   I don’t want to go back… I just can’t do it.
   I’d never hung out in this park at night before. I didn’t like being there, but I had no idea where else to go. I just needed time—time to figure out what to do next.
   My gaze turned to the two sets of railroad tracks at the edge of the park. The first set of tracks was empty. A cluster of six cars sat on the second set. I knew the cops wouldn’t be able to see me there.
   Sluggishly, I made my way over to the line of railroad cars. My eyes zeroed in on the last car. I climbed up the side of it and sat, dangling my legs. I’m not sure how much time passed. Maybe an hour, maybe two. The danger of sitting on the train car put me on edge. After all the years living so near the railroad tracks, I’d never ventured this close.
   I blew warm air into my hands, trying to thaw them, but it did little good.
   What’s wrong with me?
   Everyone else seemed to be able to handle the burdens, the struggles of life, better than I could. All I wanted was to be happy. To have the perfect life I always thought I had when I was a kid. But my arms had grown tired from trying to hold my fantasy world together.
   Lately, it seemed I couldn’t do anything right. I wasn’t there for my friends and family when they needed me. I was doing horribly in school, and I’d become a worry to my family. Now I was “grounded until further notice.” I pushed the most recent argument with my parents out of my mind. And then there was the pain that ran even deeper than that. Memories too painful to think about. I pushed them back below the surface, as I had for months. In the past year I’d started smoking, drinking, and partying with my friends on the weekends, futilely trying to escape the pain.
   I looked down at the railroad tracks and remembered a time I’d realized the power of a train. A train would kill anyone in an instant. No one could survive that. If I ever wanted to take my life, if ever…that’s the way I’d do it.
   The cold air around me brought me back to the moment. A deeper chill settled into my bones—and my thoughts grew darker; I knew I didn’t want anyone to worry about me anymore. More than that, I wanted the
pain to stop.
   If I ever want my life to end…this would be my chance.
   It’s not going to get better. There’s no reason I need to be here. There’s nothing I’m supposed to do here. They’d be better off without me.

   I tried to think of a reason to stay around, to live, but I could think of only one, my two nephews.
   I’m not a very good example anymore. They’re probably better off without me anyway, and I don’t have any kids of my own. No younger brothers and sisters either. There’s nothing important I’m supposed to do. My family, my friends…They’ll get over me, right? I’m just causing pain and problems.
   I looked around again at the cold, dark night.
   This night is icky.
   The world is disgusting.
   My life sucks.

   It could all be over soon, and then I won’t hurt anymore.
   I thought about school the next day. The homework I hadn’t done.
   I’m such a failure.
   Do I want my life to end? If the train comes, should I end it?
   Conflicting thoughts ping-ponged, faster, faster.
   It’s going to get better.
   It isn’t going to get better.
   There’s a reason I’m here.
   There’s no reason I’m here.
   There’s something I’m supposed to do here.
   There’s nothing I’m supposed to do here.
   I was cold, and it was late. I wanted to leave, but I didn’t know where to go.
   Suddenly, a train whistle split the air. My heart pounded. I hadn’t expected the train. Not yet. I still hadn’t decided what to do.
   I knew it would be a long time before the next train. This is my chance.
   The thoughts came as fast as the train speeding toward me.
   I’m so cold. This might be the only train for a while.
   If I did it, the pain, the heartache, the numbness would be over.
   I’m gonna do it. Soon it will all be over.
   I stood between the parked train cars. I glanced across the dip between the tracks I was on and the ones the approaching train was speeding down. 
   I waited until the train got closer. I didn’t want the engineer to see me. I didn’t want him to stop the train. The large outline of the train’s engine was barely visible beyond the bright headlight. It was almost here.
   Heaven waited for me. I was sure of it. I was a good person.
   Heaven has to be better than this life.
   My heart pounded as I ran up the small bank. The train’s headlight illuminated me. Its horn blared. I tried to push down the fear and shame, turned my face away from the train, and lay facedown.
   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, the ground shook so much that my whole body vibrated. Then the train was upon me, over me.
   Pain overwhelmed me. The train roared.
   The momentum of the cars pulled at me, as if the train were trying to suck me into itself. The wind tugged harder, wrenching at my jacket and yanking my hair upward. My body rose, lifting slightly.
   Then, even more powerful than the wind and the momentum of the train, another force pushed me to the ground. My head and chest hit first, then my hips and legs. Again I felt the power of the train, the shaking of the ground, the roar of it moving over me. The force of the weight pushing me down hurt more than anything else.
   Fear coursed through me. I squeezed my eyes tighter.
   It’s going to be over now. The pain is going to end. I’ll be in heaven soon.
   As the whistle blew again, the vibration of my body stilled.
   The sound stopped. The wind stopped. The train stopped.
   Am I dead yet?

If you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts…
   I know how you feel. Life is harder and more painful than you ever thought it could be. You’re not sure if it’s worth it, but I’m telling you there is so much to live for—more than you have ever experienced or imagined. Somehow, I hope my story will show that to you. 
   Please don’t give up. You are not alone. There is a God who made you, and he’s not as far away as you may think. He is always near. Wherever you go, whatever you do, he will be with you. He loves you, and he wants to comfort you, heal the hurt in your heart, and carry you through this life. Let him in. 
   God has an amazing plan for your life, even if you don’t have a plan for yourself. He has hope for you, even if you don’t have hope for yourself. He loves you immensely, even when you don’t love yourself. And he sees beauty in you, even when all you see is a mess. 
   Suicide is never the answer. There is too much to live for. Keep fighting. Please don’t give up. Reach out for help. You won’t regret it. Your heart can be filled with hope, just like mine and so many others have been.
Love, Kristen




From the Hardcover edition.
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Table of Contents

A Letter to the Reader xi

1 Just Let Me Die 1

2 It Wasn't Supposed to Turn Out This Way 15

3 Carefree No More 27

4 What's Wrong with This World? 35

5 Small and Powerless 41

6 I Could Never Do It That Way 51

7 Failing at Life 57

8 Grounded Until Further Notice 63

9 Kind Words and New Questions 71

10 Settling In for the Long Haul 79

11 The Psych Ward 87

12 Facing New Challenges 97

13 A New Reality 105

14 A Second Chance 115

15 Trying to Remember 123

16 One Step at a Time 131

17 Conviction and Choice 137

18 I Can't Do This Alone 147

19 Here for a Reason 157

20 Faith and Forgiveness 167

21 Overwhelming Gratitude 173

22 Ways I Never Imagined 181

23 Extraordinary Hope 189

Epilogue 195

Author's Note 199

Afterword 201

Resources 205

Acknowledgments 207

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 72 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(44)

4 Star

(21)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 72 Customer Reviews
  • 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:

    http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?isbn=9781601422521

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

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

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

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

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

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 21, 2011

    Inspirational, Real Life

    Life, In Spite of Me is the true story of Kristen Jane Anderson (it's written by her and Tricia Goyer). Filled with all sorts of emotions from pain to anger to peace, this book is about real life. The story is intriguing, Kristen's honesty is encouraging, and the conclusion-that God doesn't fail us when we trust in Him-is appropriate.

    Starting this review, I wasn't sure how much I should say about some aspects of the book, considering this is one girl's very true life story. So, in order to remain courteous, I'm only pointing out one thing that I noticed.

    In a book about suicide, the big question arises: Theoretically, would a professing Christian who committed suicide go to heaven? Kristen doesn't seek to answer this question in depth, and that's what bothers me. I can understand why: it would definitely draw a dividing line and, of course, some people might be offended. The only passing thing Kristen says is that she knows she would've gone to hell because she wasn't a Christian, not because she committed suicide. It's disappointing to me that in a book about a girl who has realized all that God is, she can't delve into the Bible to search for an answer to this. Who knows, maybe she has. Maybe she just didn't want to offend. It's a topic that's left unfinished, and I felt that gap in the rest of the book.

    Life, in Spite of Me shows life at its worst; it also shows how trusting in God can change everything for the better. While I was reading it, I thought of Psalm 139:13-16:

    For you [God] created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother's womb.
    I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
    My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
    Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.

    (I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing.)

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  • 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."

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  • Posted July 20, 2011

    AWESOME BOOK!

    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.

    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 school...it'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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • Posted July 18, 2011

    Inspirational

    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 10, 2011

    Kritters Ramblings

    An emotional story that from the very beginning is hard to hear, but well worth the read. A young woman who while a teen decides that her life isn't worth living and through a last minute thought lays herself down on railroad tracks. As she is telling the story - we all know she survives, but to hear her story about recuperating and living a different life is beyond interesting.

    Whether you believe in the healing power of Christ and that God can intercede into daily lives, this book is worth the read to understand how depression can hit when you least expect and how far down one may go. It was refershing to hear a true story where she battled depression and had ups and downs - but life did end up on the up.

    To parents of teens - this may be a rough ride because you may become overly cautious about the signs you could possibly see in your own teen. To the non parents, this is still a story for you about how depression can take hold of someone and send them down a road that no one would suspect.

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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

    LIFE IN SPITE OF ME (REVIEW)

    KRISTEN JANE ANDERSON'S "LIFE IN SPITE OF ME" (REVIEW)

    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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