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A spiritual counselor and lecturer shares the incredibly moving story of her 15-year-old son's suicide and her subsequent communication with him. Stephen Lives! is a journey of faith and hope, revealing universal truths of life, death, and afterlife that will comfort and inspire. 16 pp. photo insert. 304 pp. Author publicity. 30,000 print.
Puryear, who with her husband runs a holistic center and church in Arizona called the Logos Center, is seriously into interpreting auras and channeling. She asserts that not only did her deceased 15-year-old son, Stephen, ask her to write this book, but he dictated a substantial portion of it. As she tells it, spirit guides conversed with her for years before her son's death; thus, her belief that Stephen carries on lengthy conversations with her is not surprising. As she describes her own unhappy life—she repeatedly married the wrong men, and she ignored the clues Stephen gave her that he was a boy in need of help—a picture emerges of a credulous, guilt-filled woman. The book's message, as expressed by Stephen "from the other side," is that most suicides can be prevented if kids can be reached soon enough, relieved of peer pressure, helped to develop self- esteem, and put on the right diet. For a message from the spirit world, it sounds oddly mundane. An appendix contains excerpts from various sources on suicide prevention; a directory of resources for suicide survivors and those struggling with such problems as alcoholism, drug abuse, and eating disorders; and an extensive reading list on angels, reincarnation, suicide, love, diet, and allergies.
The notion of communicating with one's deceased loved ones has long had appeal to many, and some bereaved parents may find this book persuasive and even helpful. Skeptics, however, are more likely to view it as the sad product of a New Age mother's remorse and unresolved grief.