She Said Yes: The Unlikely Martyrdom of Cassie Bernall

She Said Yes: The Unlikely Martyrdom of Cassie Bernall

4.3 204
by Misty Bernall
     
 

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"One of the most gripping stories to come out of the shooting at Columbine High School"
is told in the acclaimed national bestseller that illuminates the most remarkable aspect of 17-year-old Cassie Bernall's tragic death: her life.
She Said Yes is an "intense and fascinating memoir" (Publishers Weekly) of an ordinary teenager

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Overview

"One of the most gripping stories to come out of the shooting at Columbine High School"
is told in the acclaimed national bestseller that illuminates the most remarkable aspect of 17-year-old Cassie Bernall's tragic death: her life.
She Said Yes is an "intense and fascinating memoir" (Publishers Weekly) of an ordinary teenager growing up in suburban Colorado, and faced — as all teenagers are — with difficult choices and pressures. It is only now, when the world knows Cassie Bernall as one of the Columbine High students killed by two rampaging schoolmates, that the choices she made offer a profound relevance for us all. Once a rage-filled young woman who walked a path similar to that of her killers, Cassie found a way out of her personal snares and, through her faith and a family's love, chose to embrace life with courage and conviction.
Told with unflinching honesty by her mother, Misty Bernall, Cassie's story is "a profoundly human story that should be read by every parent and every teenager" (New York Post).

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Dr. Laura Schlessinger This story teaches a striking lesson to parents and young people everywhere.

Johann Christoph Arnold, author of Seeking Peace She Said Yes is gripping, challenging, and encouraging. Gripping because of the drama. Challenging, because it reminds us how important it is to live each day as if it were our last. Encouraging, because it shows that even the most strained family relationship can be saved by love.

The Denver Post A highly personal tale of...a teenager's search for her identity, and hope...during the darkest days.

People The story is far more complicated and enlightening than the tiny martyrdom imposed on Cassie after her death....A poignant wake-up call to parents.

Publishers Weekly She Said Yes shows how a troubled teenager can be helped, though Misty Bernall doesn't hold back when describing the emotional toll the process can take. Although she doesn't see her daughter as a martyr, Bernall concludes that Cassie's death was, indeed, a triumph of honesty and courage. This powerful memoir honors that courage and reveals Misty Bernall's own.

Christianity Today A story that will chill the heart of every parent, but also bring a strong gust of hope.

New York Post Gripping....It's hard to think of a book that so plainly or powerfully provides families with wisdom for surviving conflict with their souls and sanity intact.

Time We expect martyrs to be etched in stained glass, not carrying a backpack and worrying about their weight and their finals. Cassie's is a mystery story, the story of a girl lost to bad friends and drugs and witchcraft and all the dark places of teenage rebellion.

The New York Times Though her final act might strike people as extraordinary...she was in many ways just another teenager.

Chicago Tribune From time to time, an example of true moral heroism shows us a case in which someone has the wisdom to recognize a moral imperative and the fortitude to act upon it. When the case involves someone as young and courageous as Cassie Bernall, it is more than heartening; it is humbling and awe-inspiring.

Philip Yancey
Behind the scenes of Cassie Bernall's martyrdom is a story that will chill the heart of every parent - but also bring a strong gust of hope.
Christianity Today
USA Today
Cassie Bernall is a modern-day martyr...her last words have developed a life of their own.
People Magazine
Heartbreaking...The story is far more complicated and enlightening than the tidy martyrdom imposed on Cassie after her death...She Said Yes is a stirring, important look into the tribulations of one all-too-human teen...and a poignant wake-up call to parents.
Denver Post
A highly personal tale of the perils of parenting, a teenager's search for her identity, and hope...during the darkest of days.
Time Magazine
The most talked-about new account of martyrdom...A moving, nuanced story.
New York Post
Gripping...It's hard to think of a book that so plainly or powerfully provides families with wisdom for surviving conflict with their souls and sanity intact...She Said Yes has nothing to do with the syrupy, preachy tomes typical of the "inspirational' genre...It's a profoundly human story that should be read by every parent and every teen.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
One of the most gripping stories to come out of the shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., is that of Cassie Bernall: when asked by the gunmen whether she believed in God, she answered yes and then was shot point-blank. Hours after the story emerged, Cassie was hailed a martyr by news media and Christian groups around the world. Her mother's smoothly written account of that day, and of the years that preceded it, provides a fuller picture of a girl who was once very troubled and, ironically, had been for a time as much of a Goth-loving outsider as her killers. Bernall relates how she and her husband intervened after finding letters in Cassie's room that described occult spells and ways to murder one's parents. In describing her daughter's turnaround, spurred by adjustments at school and a Christian youth group, Bernall also details her own emotional difficulties before and after the shooting. Her remarkable candor about her relationship with her daughter makes this an intense and fascinating memoir. Comments from Cassie's father and schoolmates add depth and, by her own admission, allow even Bernall to learn more about Cassie than she had known before the shooting. Through the Bernall family's example, the book shows how a troubled teenager can be helped, though Bernall doesn't hold back when describing the emotional toll the process can take. Although she doesn't see her daughter as a martyr, Bernall concludes that Cassie's death was, indeed, a triumph of honesty and courage. This powerful memoir honors that courage and reveals Misty Bernall's own. 10 b&w photos. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Before Cassie Bernall was shot at Columbine High School in Colorado, she was asked by one of her slayers, "Do you believe in God?" After a brief pause, she answered, "Yes." She was then shot in the head at point-blank range. When the media reported this exchange, Cassie and her response became world famous. Many assume that this kind of reply had to come from a child steeped in religion. This tape, read by Cassie's mother, does an outstanding job of demythologizing her while honoring her life and her legacy. Two years prior to her death, Cassie was following an extremely negative lifestyle; devil worship, drugs, and alcohol were parts of that scene. Through counseling at their church, the Bernalls chose to face this problem agressively and through personal sacrifice, trial, and error wean their daughter from these bad influences. The power of this work comes from Misty's honesty about her own feelings concerning Cassie's behavior, the sacrifices her family had to make to turn her around, and, most importantly, Cassie's death. There is nothing saccharine about this audio; it seeks to honor Cassie by telling the truth about her life, how she lived her last few years, and what kind of person she was when she died. It also features short segments by Cassies father and brother and friends. Anyone dealing with the death of a loved one, struggling with teen issues (whether as a teen or a parent), or interested in the Littleton tragedy will want to hear this story. Highly recommended to school and public libraries.--Kathleen Sullivan, Phoenix P.L. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
School Library Journal
YA-It would be hard to find anyone in the U.S., teen or adult, who does not know what happened at Columbine High School in Littleton, CO, on April 20, 1999. This biography was written by the mother of Cassie Bernall, who was shot by one of the two teen gunmen after answering yes to the question, "Do you believe in God?" A touching foreword by author Madeleine L'Engle sets the tone of the book. Cassie is a very real teen, one who had been as deeply troubled as her killers, but who managed to work her way through it. She had dabbled in "black arts," exchanged letters with a friend about "murdering" a teacher, and loved the shock rock group Marilyn Manson. Once aware of her problems, her parents contacted the authorities, restricted her movements, and closely monitored her friends and activities. Miraculously, a weekend retreat with a church group and newfound friends turned her life around. The story is told through many of her writings and letters, so readers begin to feel as though they know this girl, and understand her. It is a poignant story that will touch teens and leave them wondering if they would have the inner strength and bravery that Cassie showed at her death.-Carol DeAngelo, Kings Park Library, Burke, VA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780743400527
Publisher:
Pocket Books
Publication date:
09/28/2000
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
115,004
Product dimensions:
7.10(w) x 4.50(h) x 0.40(d)

Read an Excerpt

from Chapter 7 — Dying We Live

Within a day of the shooting at Columbine High, the story of Cassie's exchange with the boys who killed her was making headlines across the nation, and by the next day, people began calling her the "martyr of Littleton." At first I wasn't too sure what to make of it. Cassie is my daughter, I thought. You can't turn her into a Joan of Arc.

I'm not belittling her bravery. I'm profoundly proud of her for refusing to cave in, and for saying yes to her killers, and I always will be. She had principles and morals, and she was not ashamed of them, even though it must have taken all the courage she could muster to hold fast. When I first heard what she had done, I looked at Brad, and I wondered, "Would I have done that?" I might have begged for my life. Cassie didn't. She may have been seventeen, but she's a far stronger woman than I'll ever be.

Still, she would hate to be held up as a shining example or singled out for praise. In any case, she was not the only one to pay for taking a stand that day at the high school...In one classroom, a teacher pulled out light bulbs to darken the room and trick the shooters into thinking it was empty. One boy threw himself on top of his sister to protect her from the gunfire and take the bullets himself. Another grabbed a bomb and tossed it clear of a group of fellow students, even though he was wounded. Dave Sanders, a teacher, stood in a hallway as the gunmen approached, blocking oncoming students and urging them to run the other way to safety. Minutes later he was shot, and by the time a rescue squad got to him, he had bled to death.

To lift up Cassie as a martyr, then, is unnecessary. It won't change the facts of her life. For Brad and me it is enough to know that, whatever the reason, Cassie stood up for what she believed. It is enough to know that at an age when image means everything, she was not ashamed to make a stand or afraid to say what she thought.

Copyright © 1999 by Misty Bernall

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What People are saying about this

Johann Christoph Arnold
She Said Yes is gripping, challenging, and encouraging. Gripping, because of the drama. Challenging, because it reminds us how important it is to live each day as if it were our last. Encouraging, because it shows that even the most strained family relationship can be saved by love. (Johann Christoph Arnold, author, Seeking Peace)

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