The Wounded Spirit [NOOK Book]


If you've ever been there,you've never forgotten. The feeling is as haunting and familiar as the smellof a junior high school locker room.

It's the feeling of being undersized … or oversized … or klutzy … or less than beautiful. Of being a nerd … or a geek … or just, somehow, different.

It's knowing you are vulnerable-and someone is ready and willing to take full advantage of...

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The Wounded Spirit

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If you've ever been there,you've never forgotten. The feeling is as haunting and familiar as the smellof a junior high school locker room.

It's the feeling of being undersized … or oversized … or klutzy … or less than beautiful. Of being a nerd … or a geek … or just, somehow, different.

It's knowing you are vulnerable-and someone is ready and willing to take full advantage of your weakness by making your life miserable.

It's the fraternity you never wanted to join-the fellowship of the wounded spirit.

And bestselling novelist Frank Peretti is a member, too.

This book is the haunting true story of pain Frank Peretti never forgot but never, until recently, shared with the world. It's the story of growing up with a medical condition that left him disfigured. A series of surgeries and the slow miracle of answered prayer took care of the deformity, but not the underdeveloped frame or the excruciating reality of being different. And it was for these petty "crimes" that Peretti was prosecuted every day at school-especially in gym class, but also in the halls, on the school grounds, even in his own neighborhood. No wonder he found himself relating to movie monsters who were hated but also feared-and who eventually exacted a bloody revenge on their tormentors!

In Peretti's case, deliverance eventually came-through time, through prayer, through a teacher's caring intervention, and his own willingness to seek help. But he has never forgotten what life was like at the bottom of the junior high foodchain. And from the reservoir of those agonizing memories he sends a compelling message to victims, to bullies, and to authorities who have the power to intervene-that it's never OK for the strong to abuse the weak. And that we allow such abuse at the expense of our souls … and our very civilization.

Especially in the wake of the massacre at Columbine High School-perpetuated by two troubled but also tormented outsiders--this message takes on haunting resonance. Frank Peretti believes we cannot afford to overlook the continuing reality of wounded spirits, not only in our schools, but in our homes, churches, and workplaces. His approach is both tender and tough as he issues a ringing call for a change in attitude.

It's a call for all of us to stop thinking of abuse as "normal," even among kids.

It's a call for the strong to stand up and protect the weak, not prey upon them.

It's a call for those in authority to pay attention to the violence being done to the vulnerable in the midst of our everyday lives and to take action to help.

Most of all, it's a call for bullies and victims alike (many of us are both) to seek the healing and forgiveness offered in Jesus Christ. For that healing is really the heart of this book-the only reality that can break the natural cycle of victimization and abuse.

Only in Christ, Peretti reminds, is there hope for the wounded spirits-but that hope ispowerful enough to change everything.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The man who has thrilled Christian readers with novels such as This Present Darkness and The Visitation here describes the childhood trauma that first introduced him to the dark side. Peretti was born with cystic hygroma, which at birth manifested itself as a small lump on his neck. In two months, the lump was baseball-size, and Peretti was enduring the first of seven early surgeries. During childhood, his tongue was so swollen that it lolled out of his mouth, preventing normal speech development. Classmates were repulsed by his tongue and by the bloody trickle constantly dribbling from his mouth. They tormented him about his grotesque appearance, small size and inability to form words normally. Peretti's response was to retreat to his room, where he wrote stories and played with monsters like toy Frankensteins and hunchbacks, who he felt were also misunderstood and abused. Peretti writes here that he survived this difficult period because of the unwavering love and acceptance of his family, and because he had deep faith in the equality of all people in Christ. He expresses grave concern about other "wounded spirits," particularly young people who may eventually snap after withstanding years of bullying by their peers. The book is full of painful stories, but also memorable moments of hope, as Peretti recounts instances when a peer or a teacher stood up for him. This remarkable memoir will inspire readers to undertake similar acts of courageous compassion. (Nov.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780849990168
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/20/2000
  • Sold by: THOMAS NELSON
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 220
  • Sales rank: 164,733
  • File size: 544 KB

Meet the Author

Frank Peretti
Frank E. Peretti es el destacado autor de Esta patente oscuridad, publicado por Editorial Vida. El y su esposa Bárbara residen en la costa pacifica del noroeste de los Estados Unidos.
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Read an Excerpt

Boy's Hell

A separate room had been prepared for the boys. It was cold and impersonal, like a prison; the echoing, concrete walls had been painted dirty beige, then marred and chipped over the years, then painted again. The walls were bare except for posted rules, warnings, and advisories, and the only windows were high against the ceiling, caged behind iron grillwork thickly wrapped in paint, rust, and more paint. The air was dank, tainted with the odors of steam, sweat, and skin. Years of rust and sediment from the dripping showerheads and armies of bare, wet feet had marbled the floor with streaks and patches of reddish brown.

The authorities, clad in uniforms and carrying clipboards and whistles, marched the boys in, at least forty of them, all roughly the same age but many different sizes, strengths, and physical maturities. The dates of their births, the locations of their homes, and the simple luck of the draw had brought them here, and much like cattle earmarked for shipment, they had no voice in the matter. The paperwork was in. This room would be a part of their lives for the next four years. He had never been in this place, or anywhere like this place, before. He had never imagined such a place could even exist. In here, kindness meant weakness, human warmth was a complication, and encouragement was unmanly. In here, harshness was the guiding virtue -- harshness, cruelty, and the blunt, relentless confirmation of every doubt he'd ever carried about himself.

Mr. M, a fearsome authority figure with a permanent scowl and a voice that yelled -- only yelled -- ordered them to strip down. His assistants, clones of his cruelty, repeated the order, striding up and down the narrow aisles between the lockers.

The boy hesitated, looking furtively about. He'd never been naked in front of strangers before, but even worse, he'd never been naked in front of enemies. It took only one class hour for the others to select him, to label him, and to put him in his place. He was now officially the smallest one, the scared one, the weakling, the one without friends. That made him fair game.

And now he would be naked in front of them. Naked. His stomach wrung; his hands trembled. Dear God, please get me out of here. Please don't let them do this to me.

But every authority figure in his life said he had to be here. He had to go to school, do his chores, finish his homework, keep his shoes tied, go to bed and get up at certain hours, eat his vegetables, and be here. End of discussion.

He removed his clothes.

Mr. M continued his yelling. "Come on, move it, move it, move it!"

The herd -- pink, black, brown, and bronze -- moved one direction, and all he could do was move with it, a frail, naked body among the forty, longing for a towel, anything to cover himself.

Instinctively, he placed his hand over his private parts. Every other body was bigger and much stronger, and every other body had hair where the boy had none. He knew they would notice. The showers were a long, high-ceilinged echo chamber, murky with steam, rattling with lewd, raucous joking and laughter. He didn't want to hear it.

After a big Hispanic kid finished his shower, the boy carefully took his place under the showerhead, afraid of slipping and even more afraid of grazing against anyone. Touching was dangerous; it could easily become a prelude to being hurt.

He let the water spray over him. He hurriedly lathered his body with some soap.

To his left, the talk started -- about him. Then some laughing. The talk spread, the call went out -- "Hey, get a load of this!" -- and an audience gathered, a semicircle of naked, dripping bodies. The talk about him shifted to jeering at him. He tried to act as if he didn't hear them, but he could feel his face flushing. Get through, get through, get out of here!

He rinsed as well as he could, never turning away from the wall, then headed for the towel-off area, not meeting their eyes, trying to ignore their comments about his face, his body, his groin. But the arrows were landing with painful accuracy: Ugly. Wimp. Gross. Little girl.

He grabbed a towel off the cart and draped it around himself before he even started drying with it. Even that action brought lewd comments and another lesson: Once it begins, no action, no words, no change in behavior will turn it back. Once you're the target, anything you do will bring another arrow.

And so the arrows flew: two, then three, then more. Obscenities, insults, put-downs.

Along with his hurt, he felt a pitiful, helpless anger. He wanted to lash out, to tell them to stop, to defend himself, but he was all too aware of his body, just as they were. He could never match the strength of any one of them, much less the whole gang, and they were waiting, even wanting him to try.

Snap! Stinging, searing pain shot up from his groin like a jolt from an electric cattle prod.

"Oh," hollered a jock, "good one!"

Snap! He heard the sound again as a towel whipped past his backside, missing by a millimeter. A big lug with a hideous grin pulled his towel back for another try, then he jerked it toward the boy's body again, snapping it back hard, turning the moist end of the towel into a virtual whip. The edge of the towel struck between the boy's legs, stinging like a cat-o'-nine-tails.

He cried out in pain while they laughed. He raised a knee to protect his groin but lost his footing on the wet tile and tumbled to the floor, his hands skidding on the slimy, soapy residue. He struggled to his feet. A wet foot thumped into his back, and he careened toward a locker-room bench loaded with laughing naked bodies.

"Get off me, you fag!" Rough hands pushed him and he crunched into another body. "Get away, twerp!" They were angry with him. He was the Ping-Pong ball being batted about, and they were angry with him!

"Hey, squirt, you lookin' for trouble?"

"I think this kid wants a fight!"

He fled to the only square foot of floor that might be his own, the space in front of his locker. His body was throbbing, his bruises a combined chorus of pain.

And his soul...oh, his soul. He was choking back his tears, hurrying, fumbling to get his clothes from his locker, resolving to remain silent, desperately hoping no one would see him crying -- but deep inside, his soul wailed in anguish, and there were no words or thoughts to heal it. Parental advice came to his mind, but it carried as much weight as a cookie fortune: "Just ignore them." Ignoring was only acting. It didn't stop the arrows from cutting through his heart. He even believed the taunts and stinging words. Dear God, am I that ugly? Am I that weak and worthless?

"Hey, nude boy! Hey, nature boy!" Now the teacher's assistant, just a few grades ahead of him, was getting in a few jabs. "Get the lead out. The bell's gonna ring in five minutes."

He got the lead out. Still wet, he threw on his clothes, missing one buttonhole in his shirt so that the shirt hung cockeyed on his back, but he didn't care. He grabbed his books out of the locker -- A hand slammed him against the locker, and his head bounced off the steel door. His books fell to the floor, the pages crinkling, his assignments spilling everywhere. He'd only begun the thought of picking them up when one of the jocks grabbed him around the neck, lifted him off the floor so his feet dangled, then dropped him on his books. He crumpled to the floor, gasping.

A whistle shrieked. It was Mr. M, angry as always. "Line up, line up!"

The T.A. yanked the boy to his feet. "C'mon, get in line!"

He gathered up his books, some of the pages wet, wrinkled, and grimy, and plugged an empty spot in the line.

One minute to go. He'd never felt such longing to be somewhere else. Somewhere in his memory -- right now, a dim memory -- was a kinder world than this, a place where he could find some measure of his lost dignity, the last broken tatters of his self-respect.

The bell rang. Could it be over? Could it finally be over?

Mr. M swung the door open. The lines started moving, a few boys at the front of the line darting off as though they were in a race for their lives.

"No running. WALK!" Mr. M growled.

The stream of bodies poured into the narrow hall, and in a moment he was hurrying away from that place, taking several last looks over his shoulder, checking for danger, thankful he could still turn his neck.

In the main hall, he passed the trophy case, where the glories of his high school were on display. Here were the school colors, pictures of the school mascot, the trophies, the ribbons, the news clippings, the victories -- everything a kid should be proud of. His eyes flooded with tears. When he first came to this school, he looked in that trophy case, and, yes, he was proud. He was filled with an exhilarating joy and a sense of belonging. School spirit, that's what it was. He couldn't wait to buy a pennant to hang on the wall of his room.

But now, all he could do was shed tears and wonder, How could a school like this, my school, have a place like that? Does anyone care? Does anyone even know?

In his next class, he sat at his desk, his clothes still damp, his body still aching, unable to keep his mind on the teacher's lecture or his eyes on the text. The mocking faces and the derisive, searing comments kept playing and replaying in his mind, overpowering anything and everything else.

And from the blood pooling on the floor of his soul, in the loneliness of his hurt and anger, in the escape of a neutral location, little thoughts were firing off in his mind like forbidden firecrackers: Oh, right, Mr. T.A., sir, Mr. Big Tough Guy, Mr. M in miniature. You wouldn't be so tough if Mr. M weren't around. And as for you, Superjock and Dumb Thug and Towel Turkey, if I were bigger, if I were stronger, if I could...if I could...oh, man, if only I could...

But he was a Christian. He wasn't supposed to think such things, so he tried not to.

And he said nothing, and he did nothing, and when the day for gym class came around again...he went back. After all, the authorities in his life had made clear certain axioms: He had to be there. There was no choice.

Copyright; © 2000, by Frank E. Peretti. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 17 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 26, 2011

    Definitely a good read for the family!

    This book touched a special place in my heart. I never knew these things about Frank Peretti. I was told about his books by a friend of mine, and became a fan the minute I opened a book. I always believed there is a small/or large piece of an author in each book they write. I saw glimpses here and there that made me wonder about his character and what made him tick. When I say character, I don't mean in a bad way, just knew there was something deeper. This book definitely opens the eyes of the reader to an issue that is everywhere. Not only is it universal, but it traverses time. I don't think there is one single person out there that can't relate to a part of this book that takes on the issue of bullying from a personal point of view. It takes on the issue not only from the victims viewpoint, but also from the standpoint of the bully. I highly recommend this book.
    Thank you Frank!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 29, 2010

    Teachers and Parents Read This Book!

    As a teacher, I have always tried to be careful not to allow one student to bully another. However, this book provided more insight on the effects of bullying than any other teacher workshop, educational psychology class, or books on educational theory and classroom management ever could. This very personal look at bullying gave me new insight on just how damaging such behavior can be and the long term effects it can have on a person's life. It also alerted me to the fact that there have been times when I have had one student teasing another, which I thought was all in good fun, but might have been interpreted by the student being teased as lack of concern on my part. I am much more careful, having read the book, to investigate student interaction. Not only does the book make readers more aware of bullying and its effects, but also directs them as to what to do about such.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2006

    High school is a whole different world

    I absolutely loved The Wounded Spirit by Frank Peretti. It was an eye opening, mind boggler. I was so shocked by the abuse Frank had to endure from his classmates. And all because of a deformity on his neck caused by the docter's mistake during child birth. I have never heard of such harassment taking place in school. I cried often while reading this book. But it was well worth it.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2006

    Awesome book very eye openning

    I greatly enjoyed this book Peretti openned my eyes to how harmful even single comments can be to someone. I love how he goes into details about his own childhood to prove a huge point. Bullying comes in many different forms and I do think that it should deffinatly be dealt with.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2004

    Great book

    Hey. It's my opinion that every education major should read this book as part of their curriculum. For too long american young people have suffered in silence and it's about time that someone stood up to say that there is something wrong with the strong victimizing the weak.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2004


    This book makes you think about your own attitude towards others and it makes you want to fix your problems with others. I thank God for this brilliant writer.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2002

    great book

    The Wounded Spirit is the best book by Mr. Peretti. It is so good because it is non-fiction and Peretti finally comes out and tells about his school experiences. This book is also very

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2001

    Change in my heart

    While reading this book, my eyes were really opened to how words and actions affect others. Each person is a beautiful creation of God, and I am superior to no one. God has done an amazing work in my heart while I have read this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2001


    The Wounded Spirit is Frank Peretti's best book. Unlike his previouse published novels, the Wounded Spirit is not fiction. It is partially auto-biographical, and lets outsiders see and feel how those who are not fortunate enough to be the captain of the football team, or the Homecoming Queen. Peretti also points out the number one reason for why so much bullying is taking place: God was taken out of the schools. Using parables, and arguements used by well know theologians, Peretti defends the faith by describing how the schools, parents, and the government needs to take a different stand when it comes to bullying. An excellent read for anyone who has not experienced the agony of having a 'Wounded Spirit.'

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2014

    Great writer!!

    This book was though provoking. Bringing out things that one might not think about as being bullying. It's a great read for anyone who's ever been bullied.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2012

    Aqeson Awesome

    Amazing book. It gave me a different perspective on bullying

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2012


    Honestly they should let us have better samples cause who would buy a book that you cant even have a good sample. . . I mean seriously

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2001

    Excellent Book

    This is a great book! If you are unfortunate enough to have to go through horrible things daily, then read this book. It may help, even if you're not Christian. Also, I found while reading it that bullying is all too common. It definately needs to stop, however most people in authority don't care. I am a 13 year old, who also has to go to gym class like the author (However, I'm not as tormented as he was!). Anyway, PE shouldn't have to a required class. PE is not fun, and you don't learn ANYTHING in that class! The government should ban PE from schools, and throw away that law where students can't read the Bible when at school. Also, there is absolutely no supervision at the locker room where I go to school. No one cares what happens there! Is that not stupid? Let's face it, PE is a most horrible class! Anyway, I do suggest you read the book if you're like me, or if you're picked on everyday.

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    Posted August 6, 2013

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    Posted September 22, 2011

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    Posted June 1, 2011

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    Posted March 11, 2012

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