The Weight of Shadows: A Novel

( 14 )

Overview

In The Weight of Shadows, by Alison Strobel, after a difficult childhood, Kim has built a successful life for herself … but she'd leave it all if it meant being rid of the guilt she harbors over a tragic mistake she made years ago. When she meets Rick, she finds everything she needs—including a way to pay for her sins every time he hits her. Kim and Rick’s new neighbor, Joshua, knows more than Kim realizes about Rick, but Joshua has battles of his own to fight. Soon to intersect Kim’s and Rick’s lives is Debbie, ...

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Weight of Shadows: A Novel

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Overview

In The Weight of Shadows, by Alison Strobel, after a difficult childhood, Kim has built a successful life for herself … but she'd leave it all if it meant being rid of the guilt she harbors over a tragic mistake she made years ago. When she meets Rick, she finds everything she needs—including a way to pay for her sins every time he hits her. Kim and Rick’s new neighbor, Joshua, knows more than Kim realizes about Rick, but Joshua has battles of his own to fight. Soon to intersect Kim’s and Rick’s lives is Debbie, who has saved countless women from abuse through the shelter she runs, but Debbie might be as desperate for love as the women she serves. Meanwhile, as Rick’s wrath extends to their baby, Kim must decide if her penance is more important than protecting that innocent life—and if she should dare leave Rick when he has the power to bring her hidden crime to light.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
'Alison Strobel has penned an important book about a battered woman's psyche and the length God journeys to rescue her. Honest, painful, redemptive, The Weight of Shadows is the kind of gutsy novel book clubs enjoy discussing.' -- Mary E. DeMuth, author, Daisy Chain and A Slow Burn
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310289456
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 6/6/2010
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.38 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Alison Strobel writes novels that explore life, love and faith. She lives in Colorado with her husband and two daughters. Visit her at www.AlisonStrobel.com
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Read an Excerpt

The Weight of Shadows

A Novel
By Alison Strobel

Zondervan

Copyright © 2010 Alison Strobel Morrow
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-310-28945-6


Chapter One

Is it truly a birthday party when the guests don't even know it's your birthday? Kim pondered the question as she slipped on the slacks she'd borrowed from her roommate Corrie. Certainly it was an improvement over eating a store-bought cupcake alone in front of reruns. She'd done that more times than she cared to remember.

The intercom buzzed the arrival of the first guest. She spread her hands over her stomach, willing death to the butterflies that had come to life. She sucked in a deep breath and blew it away as she put on her only pair of earrings and secured her locket around her neck. Fingering the pendant brought to mind memories of the day she'd received it. She replayed them in her mind, conjuring every detail she could as she pulled a brush through her hair: the blanket of snow on the bushes outside, Sinatra serenading the restaurant's customers, her foster parents ordering four desserts for everyone to share when no one could decide what they wanted. That was the last good birthday she'd had.

Corrie's voice rang out over the stereo, welcoming whoever had arrived and bringing Kim back to the present. She bit her lip, debating whether or not to go out yet. These weren't her friends, she wasn't good at small talk, and with only one guest there was no way for her to disappear into the crowd or avoid interacting. Three strikes. She'd better wait.

A pair of black flats, their toes and heels repaired with a marker, were the finishing piece to her ensemble. She gave her red blouse a tug at the bottom and examined herself in the mirror, happy with what she saw. It was possible she wouldn't talk to anyone all night, but at least she looked nice. In fact, part of her hoped no one would talk to her-she'd met a few of Corrie's friends before, and they were all out of her league. The thought of trying to hold a conversation with any of them resurrected the butterflies. She frowned at her reflection as the familiar self-doubt crept in. The less she said tonight, the better.

Kim hated battling the voice of inadequacy that resurfaced whenever she met new people. She reminded herself of the same things she told her Club girls and gave her head a shake to dislodge the negative thoughts. Your roots may form you, but they do not define you. You are not less of a person because you lack the things most people have. Your worth as a person is not determined by what you have, but by who you are. When she talked to the girls, she was referencing money, social standing, academic success, the perfect body-the things teen girls usually stressed over. When she gave herself the pep talk, though, she was thinking of family.

The buzzer sounded again, followed a minute later by multiple voices calling out cheerful greetings. No more hiding. Kim left her room and joined the party.

Six people had arrived, an equal mix of men and women who had the same casual sophistication as Corrie, though two of the women had a sort of polished hippie look that Kim envied, knowing she lacked the fashion sense to be like them. Her coordinating abilities ended with slacks and blouses.

Three of the guests sat on the couch, paging through one of Corrie's photo albums, while the others were filling their plates with snacks. Kim flashed a smile to the one person who acknowledged her presence, then walked to the kitchen to get herself a drink. She took her time so as not to look as harried and nervous as she felt, and sighed with a small smile when the intercom buzzed again. A bigger crowd meant easier hiding.

Corrie propped open the front door and returned to her conversation. Kim walked to the snack table and began to load a plate with some veggies and dip. She really wanted the chocolate chip cookies Corrie had baked the night before, but she wanted to make a good impression, and these folks looked like veggie people.

The next wave of guests entered, and instantly the party felt more like a party. More talking, louder calls of "Hello!" across the room, and, to Kim's great relief, less sophisticated dress. The last one in shut the door behind himself and handed his scuffed leather jacket to Corrie as he greeted her. Kim couldn't peel her eyes away from him. He doesn't seem to belong with these people any more than I do. Who is he?

The guest who had entered with Scuffed Leather Jacket introduced him to Corrie. Kim was too far away and the room too noisy for her to hear any of what they were saying, but Corrie, ever the gracious hostess, made the universal mi casa es su casa arm-sweep with a bright smile before carting the coats to her bedroom.

He stood with his hands half-jammed into his pockets and looked around the room. When his gaze neared Kim she ducked her head, though what she really wanted was to look him in the eye, smile and welcome him, and commiserate. When he appeared at her side, she almost couldn't breathe.

"The snack table is my favorite place to hide at a party too," he said. She couldn't tell if he was sympathizing or making fun of her. But his face, when she glanced over at him, was open and honest-looking. There was no twinkle of teasing in his green eyes nor the tug of a smirk at his lips. She laughed faintly and searched in vain for something clever to say.

"My name is Rick, by the way."

"I'm Kim. Nice to meet you."

"You too. How do you know, um ..."

"Corrie?"

"Yeah, Corrie."

"She's my roommate."

"Oh!" His face brightened. "Wow, this is your place?"

She slid her eyes back to her plate. "No. I wish. I just rent a room from her."

"Oh, that's cool." He leaned in a little closer. "It's a nice place, but not my style, you know? A little too ..." He waved the hand that wasn't holding a snack plate. "Calculated. Like those model homes that are so decorated it's like walking into a design magazine."

Kim looked around the living room, trying to see it through the eyes of a stranger. Corrie had added most of the room's contents since Kim had moved in, so the change had been so gradual she hadn't noticed the overall effect. "You know, you're right." She grinned. "I've never thought about it, but you're right." She swirled a carrot stick in a puddle of dip. "It's not really my style, either, but I'll take it over just having a room any day."

"I'm sure you'll have your own place someday."

She laughed a little. "I hope so!"

They crunched on their respective vegetables in silence for a few minutes before Kim got up the courage to speak again. "So who did you come with?"

Rick pointed to the couch with a celery stick. "Guy I work with. Adam. I think he knows Corrie from college or something like that. Life has kinda sucked lately, so he invited me to cheer me up."

"That's a shame. I hope it works."

"It already has."

Kim felt her cheeks heat. She smothered the smile that stretched across her face with a long sip from her soda.

"That's a really cool necklace."

"Oh, thanks." She pulled it along the chain a few times before patting it back into place. "I got it for my seventeenth birthday."

He grinned. "How long ago was that?"

"Seven years ago-today." She almost didn't say it, but his attention was making her bolder. And it would take a lot of attention to spoil me, so I'm going to get it while I can.

"No way. It's your birthday?" She giggled in response, instantly wincing inside at the childish sound. "So this is for you, then? This party?"

"Oh, no. Corrie doesn't even know."

"Your own roommate doesn't know it's your birthday?"

She shuffled a little. "Well, we're not really friends, you know? I've only lived here a few months. I just found the room through an ad. We share space-that's about it."

Rick shook his head. "That's just a shame. So all these people-just friends of Corrie's?"

"Yeah."

"You're spending your birthday with a bunch of strangers. That's just wrong. I feel like I need to go find you a cake or something." She laughed. "No, I'm serious! Did you do anything special for your birthday? Did anyone acknowledge it?"

"Well- one person did." She smiled, remembering her conversation with Patricia, the case worker who had shepherded her through the foster system for so many years. "But no, I didn't do anything special. Just went to work like I usually do. But this-" she waved her hand towards the room full of people, "is more than I usually do. Birthdays weren't a big deal when I was growing up."

He didn't ask why not, to her relief. But he asked plenty of other things, and eventually she reciprocated. Over time they migrated to the kitchen, and then to a couple dining room chairs in the corner. When Adam came to say he was ready to leave, Kim was stunned to see they'd talked for two hours.

"I'm really glad I came," Rick said to Kim as he shrugged into his jacket. "I'm glad I met you."

"I'm glad you came too." Her mouth hurt from smiling so much, but she couldn't seem to stop. "I had a great time talking with you."

"Do you think I could take you out for dinner sometime?"

Her heart nearly burst. "Yes, definitely, yes. I'd love that."

Rick smiled and ran a hand through his blond bed head. "Great. I'll call you this week, I promise."

"He's totally not going to call."

Corrie laughed as she spread plastic wrap over the bowl of dip. "What makes you say that?"

"I don't know-I just don't think he will. I don't have luck like that."

"Maybe you will now."

"Maybe." Kim cinched the trash bag shut and pulled it free from the can. "But even if he doesn't, it's okay. I've never had that much fun talking to a guy before. No one's ever even flirted with me before." Memories of her unattractive teen years surfaced briefly but lacked the sting they usually held. Even thoughts of her life until now- nights alone, undeclared infatuations, awkward introversion-weren't as painful. "I hardly knew what to do. But ..." She trailed off, a smile still tugging at her lips, and carried the trash to the door. "If nothing else, it was a perfect way to spend an evening." And a birthday.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from The Weight of Shadows by Alison Strobel Copyright © 2010 by Alison Strobel Morrow. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 14 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    The Weight was heavy on my heart

    This is the first novel I've read by Alison Strobel and it was amazing! The Weight of Shadows is not a touchy, feely, life-is-perfect novel. In fact, it's hard hitting and a stark contrast to most of the Christian novels I read.Alison tackles topics that you don't see very often, if at all in Christian fiction and she doesn't hold back. Abuse and self-cutting are the two topics that are tackled in The Weight of Shadows and you can tell Alison did her homework.When Kim meets Rick, you think this is a sweet match made in heaven. Unfortunately, heaven doesn't last long for this couple. Kim learns very quickly that Rick has expectations and they had better be met.Debbie is struggling after the loss of her sister a number of years before. She deals with the struggle by throwing herself into her job. Her work at the Women's shelter is becoming more of a weight to bear.Joshua lost his wife and is beginning to move on with his daughter. His in-laws bring tension into their lives that no one deserves. This was one of the best parts of the story, even though it was a hard one to read. Alison didn't hold back with the nastiness of the in-laws and Joshua tried to be as kind as possible, but had to draw the line at some point.The lives of Kim, Rick, Debbie and Joshua begin to intersect as the story unfolds. You don't lose site of the story lines as you read through the Weight of Shadows. You are more and more drawn in.Yes, faith is involved in the novel, but Alison doesn't clobber you over the head with it. Not that there's anything wrong with being clobbered by the Lord. =)I have got to say, this will be in the top 5 books that I've read this year, if not the best!I'd like to thank Alison and Zondervan for my review & giveaway copies. The opinions expressed are my own!

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

    Posted December 6, 2011

    The Weight of Shadows

    What's holding you back from living your best life? From being you?We don't forgive ourselves. We did something, in our past, that we just haven't gotten over. God has forgiven us. The person we hurt has probably forgiven us. But we haven't forgiven ourselves. And because we haven't _ we're stuck. We fell that we're not worthy of something better or we feel that we're getting what we deserve. Or both. So we have stopped living in the moment, and continue to live in the past. This hurts us and it hurts our families and friends.Off-topic: I used to volunteer when I was in high school and college. I don't know exactly how I stopped, but I've been having a hard time getting started back up. Ya know _ single mom, more than full-time job, not a lot of free time, nor money for a sitter, and on, and on. But I was only a few pages into this book when I opened my computer, did a search on Google, found what I was looking for, and shot off an email. I sent it to the director of a non-profit organization offering my time for a few hours each week. I just needed a little nudge, and this book gave it to me. No excuses. Not anymore, anyway. We'll see where it goes, but I've taken the first step. By the time this post is up on my blog, a couple of months should have passed, with some progress made.Back on-topic: This book was so real. It wasn't over-the-top. It wasn't missing any details. It was just exactly right. For me, anyway. My favorite parts were the "starting over" parts. Each of the characters had something that was holding them back from living in the moment. Something in their past they were afraid to give up. For Joshua, it was the death of his wife. For Kim, it was a tragic occurrence when she was a foster child. For Debbie, it was the last conversation she had with her sister before her sister died. But they each also have someone who is rooting for them. They just don't realize it. And the ending has an oh-my-goodness! twist that I wasn't expecting _ at all!This is a Christian fiction book. If that scares you, then this book isn't for you. If you simply don't understand Christianity, then you should take a look, since the characters will try to break-it-down for you. But it's not in-your-face. I like that.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 27, 2011

    really good book

    Awesome story line. She does a great job of making the story connect. Great read.

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  • Posted July 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    This will weigh on your heart!

    This is the first novel I've read by Alison Strobel and it was amazing! The Weight of Shadows is not a touchy, feely, life-is-perfect novel. In fact, it's hard hitting and a stark contrast to most of the Christian novels I read.

    Alison tackles topics that you don't see very often, if at all in Christian fiction and she doesn't hold back. Abuse and self-cutting are the two topics that are tackled in The Weight of Shadows and you can tell Alison did her homework.

    When Kim meets Rick, you think this is a sweet match made in heaven. Unfortunately, heaven doesn't last long for this couple. Kim learns very quickly that Rick has expectations and they had better be met.

    Debbie is struggling after the loss of her sister a number of years before. She deals with the struggle by throwing herself into her job. Her work at the Women's shelter is becoming more of a weight to bear.

    Joshua lost his wife and is beginning to move on with his daughter. His in-laws bring tension into their lives that no one deserves. This was one of the best parts of the story, even though it was a hard one to read. Alison didn't hold back with the nastiness of the in-laws and Joshua tried to be as kind as possible, but had to draw the line at some point.

    The lives of Kim, Rick, Debbie and Joshua begin to intersect as the story unfolds. You don't lose site of the story lines as you read through the Weight of Shadows. You are more and more drawn in.

    Yes, faith is involved in the novel, but Alison doesn't clobber you over the head with it. Not that there's anything wrong with being clobbered by the Lord. =)

    I have got to say, this will be in the top 5 books that I've read this year, if not the best!

    I'd like to thank Alison and Zondervan for my review & giveaway copies. The opinions expressed are completely my own!
    http://wovenbywords.blogspot.com/2010/07/weight-of-shadows-by-alison-strobel.html

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Great Read!

    If you're in the mood for a light, fluffy read you probably won't want to read this book but if you want a dramatic, gritty, realistic book, pick up The Weight of Shadows! This is my first encounter with author Alison Strobel's work and I'm really glad that I had the opportunity to "meet" her through blogging and reading her book.

    As a person who knows someone who is currently dealing with a domestic violence I can say that Alison's portrayal of Kim's story is very authentic. I couldn't help but cry for Kim and Anne and their abusive situation. The secondary characters are very well written too. Even though they are trying to help Kim, they have problems of their own, which in my opinion, makes this story even more true to life.

    The story grabbed and held my attention so much so that I could barely put it down and considering that it isn't a romance or historical book, that's a miracle! I look forward to reading what Alison pens next.

    *i received my free review copy from the publisher.*

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  • Posted July 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Loved It!

    This is the first book by Alison Strobel I've read, and it was a doozy. The story goes back and forth from character to character. Kim is being abused by Rick, Joshua is raising his young daughter after his wife dies, and he has to deal with his in laws, and Debbie is there for everyone, know matter what they need. All the characters are multi faceted and well developed. The characters of Kim and especially Rick were so spot on, the author must have done much research about abuse for this book.

    The main message I got out of the book is that no matter what you've done in the past, God can and will forgive you and that you need to forgive yourself. The only negative thing I can say about the book is that there was an overload of characters mentioned that you never read about again.

    Overall this book was an amazing read. I highly recommend it and I can't wait to read more from Alison Strobel.

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

    Posted July 9, 2010

    Powerful and Gripping From Start to Finish

    In The Weight of Shadows, Alison Strobel tells a powerful story that vividly illustrates the torture that comes when we fail to leave our burdens at our Savior's cross. As a result, of a terrible, unresolved event from her past, Kim, succumbs to abuse, first at her own hand and then at the hand of another, as a means of justification. Likewise, Debbie is a stranger at love because of the guilt she harbors from a tragedy she feels she could have prevented. Ms. Strobel delicately interweaves these characters lives and circumstances, eventually leading to a shocking twist that left me breathless, and ultimately proving that God's mercy and goodness will truly guide a lost soul home. The Weight of Shadows made me want to cry, scream, laugh, and dance. It will definitely minister to anyone who has ever had a tortured spirit, and it will remind us all that shadows only occur when WE STAND IN THE WAY OF THE LIGHT. Well done, Ms. Strobel! I'm sincerely looking forward to your next release!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 21, 2010

    "The Weight of Shadows" by Alison Strobel

    After living in foster care most of her life, bouncing from home to home, Kim had acquired a beautician's license, working in a salon with several other women. She feels successful other than not being married and raising a family.

    Rick grew up in foster care for a few years, then lived the balance of his life with his father, who was an alcoholic and abusive.

    Kim and Rick meet and quickly move in together, getting pregnant early on despite using precautions. Rick's abuse starts early in their relationship, and continues throughout the pregnancy, but Kim stayed because she felt she deserved the abuse. Why?

    Joshua and his daughter lived in the same complex as Kim and Rick, after selling his house to make ends meet after losing his job and wife. He has issues with his in-laws trying to get custody of his daughter, so he tries to lay low despite hearing the abuse next door--deciding when or if he should get involved.

    Debbie runs the women's shelter in town, and has relationship issues all her own. But a little romance seeps in when she least expects it.

    I, personally, grew up with brothers, so I learned early to stand up for myself. Had one boyfriend who I now know became an abuser, but because I didn't say the right thing (giving up my girlfriend's friendship for him), it was 'Adios.' Little did I know that that was a telltale sign of an abuser. So I've had a difficult time understanding why abused women stayed with abusive men, married or not.

    Alison openly yet sensitively dissects the mindset of abused women to understand why they stay in the relationship until they finally decide to get out before being killed. She reveals their perspectives of themselves, their views of love and attention, denial of what's happening, and their desires to be loved and accepted. She describes how the woman's psyche needs healing, restoration and redemption. Alison also displays the behaviors of an abuser and how he controls the woman in his life. It's an eye-opening experience, realizing it's a difficult situation to diffuse.

    If you know of someone in this position, this could be the book to help them come to grips with the reality of their situation and what to do. Please take the time to grab it and read it, and possibly pass on to a friend in need.

    This book was supplied by Alison through her publisher, Zondervan, in exchange for my honest review.

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  • Posted June 4, 2010

    Poignant novel about the legacy of abuse

    The Weight of Shadows by Alison Strobel is a moving novel about the power of secrets. Kim has been running from a terrible night seven years ago while trying to build a life for herself after a childhood in foster care. Rick seems to be everything she's ever wanted, but their relationship moves so fast, they've moved in together after only three months. Their neighbor Joshua is starting over with his four-year-old daughter Maddie after the death of his wife from breast cancer. After the loss of his job, he's forced to sell their home and move into the apartment next to Rick & Kim because of the mountainous medical bills. What he hears through the thin walls between their apartments will threaten his life with Maddie. Debbie hasn't been able to have a healthy relationship with a man since the death of her sister Gina. Instead she's thrown all of her energy into working at a women's shelter, trying to rescue them after failing Gina. Strobel, the author of Violette Between, has a unique voice in Christian fiction. She takes three very disparate voices who each have a tragic past and brings them together in a way that will offer true healing. She accurately depicts a woman trapped in an abusive relationship with compassion and respect. As the violence escalates, so does the tension until it's nearly impossible to put the book down. (I stayed up until 2 am to finish it!) Beautifully written with a message of hope, Strobel is a writer to watch.

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  • Posted May 23, 2010

    The Weight of Shadows

    What's holding you back from living your best life? From being you?
    We don't forgive ourselves. We did something, in our past, that we just haven't gotten over. God has forgiven us. The person we hurt has probably forgiven us. But we haven't forgiven ourselves. And because we haven't - we're stuck. We fell that we're not worthy of something better or we feel that we're getting what we deserve. Or both. So we have stopped living in the moment, and continue to live in the past. This hurts us and it hurts our families and friends.

    Off-topic: I used to volunteer when I was in high school and college. I don't know exactly how I stopped, but I've been having a hard time getting started back up. Ya know - single mom, more than full-time job, not a lot of free time, nor money for a sitter, and on, and on. But I was only a few pages into this book when I opened my computer, did a search on Google, found what I was looking for, and shot off an email. I sent it to the director of a non-profit organization offering my time for a few hours each week. I just needed a little nudge, and this book gave it to me. No excuses. Not anymore, anyway. We'll see where it goes, but I've taken the first step. By the time this post is up on my blog, a couple of months should have passed, with some progress made.

    Back on-topic: This book was so real. It wasn't over-the-top. It wasn't missing any details. It was just exactly right. For me, anyway. My favorite parts were the "starting over" parts. Each of the characters had something that was holding them back from living in the moment. Something in their past they were afraid to give up. For Joshua, it was the death of his wife. For Kim, it was a tragic occurrence when she was a foster child. For Debbie, it was the last conversation she had with her sister before her sister died. But they each also have someone who is rooting for them. They just don't realize it. And the ending has an oh-my-goodness! twist that I wasn't expecting - at all!

    This is a Christian fiction book. If that scares you, then this book isn't for you. If you simply don't understand Christianity, then you should take a look, since the characters will try to break-it-down for you. But it's not in-your-face. I like that.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted August 8, 2013

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    Posted June 18, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2010

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