It was one of the darkest days in America's history--Dec. 1, 1997. Freshman Michael Carneal walked into the Heath High School lobby in West Paducah, Kentucky, and started shooting, killing three students and injuring five. One of those injured students was 15-year-old Missy Jenkins, who was left paralyzed from the chest down. But Missy never saw her disability as an end. This is a story of love, forgiveness, courage, and determination--one that will leave readers of all ages inspired to make the most of each day and never take life for granted.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.62(d)|
|Age Range:||11 - 15 Years|
About the Author
Missy is a counselor at a day treatment center and a public speaker. She resides in Murray, KY with her husband and son.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I Choose to be Happy based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
December 1, 1997 started off as an ordinary school day for 15 year old Missy Jenkins, but that changed very quickly. While in a prayer circle at school, Missy was one of eight students shot by 14 year old Michael Carneal. Three students were killed and Missy was the most seriously hurt of the five injured ¿ she was paralyzed from the chest down. ¿I Choose to be Happy: A School Shooting Survivor¿s Triumph over Tragedy¿ is Missy¿s account of the events of that day, her struggle for survival, her learning to deal with being paralyzed for the rest of her life, and her life since that day.¿I Choose to be Happy: A School Shooting Survivor¿s Triumph over Tragedy¿ is the riveting story of a young woman whose life changed in a split second and yet didn¿t let the tragedy bring her down. Missy doesn¿t waste any time ¿ she describes the events of the shooting in the very first pages of the book. Her story is fascinating as she recounts not only her reaction, but the reaction of her twin sister, the teachers, other students and even the shooter himself. School shootings were not common in 1997 and the shocked reaction of all is very understandable. The book is full of pictures that make the events even more real to readers and the interrogation of Michael Carneal just two hours after the shooting is fascinating reading, as is Missy¿s meeting him in jail years later.¿I Choose to be Happy: A School Shooting Survivor¿s Triumph over Tragedy¿ is not just about the shooting but also about how Missy rebuilt her life in the aftermath. It is inspiring to read how she learned to dress herself, feed herself and get about after being paralyzed. She is very open about how difficult it was to learn these chores and she never makes herself out to be perfect and is honest about the times she rebelled. It is interesting to read how she was sustained not only by her family, but her religious faith, a faith that still helps her today. Missy has taken what life has given her and turned it into being a public speaker, a counselor for troubled teens, marriage, and motherhood. Here, too, she admits that she is not perfect and recounts her struggles in those areas and her concerns for the future.¿I Choose to be Happy: A School Shooting Survivor¿s Triumph over Tragedy¿ is the inspirational story of a young woman who refused to let tragedy ruin her life.
Missy Jenkins gets right to the heart of the matter...her life after being shot on December 1, 1997. School shootings are occurring with more frequency rather than less as time goes by. But in 1997, Columbine hadn't happened yet. Virginia Tech hadn't happened yet. The only significant school shooting was at Pearl High School on October 1, 1997. Only two months after that date, Heath High School would be in the media forefront. Missy Jenkins was one of a handful of students who were meeting in the high school lobby for a prayer circle prior to the start of classes that day. Michael Carneal walked into that lobby with a duffel bag full of ammunition and guns that he stole from a friend's house. He randomly started firing at the students in the lobby. As the story is told, the reader is made aware that Missy feels lucky and thankful that she survived the shooting. Three young girls were killed, and Missy was the most injured of those that survived...she was paralyzed from the chest down. I CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY is Missy's story after the shooting. It shares her amazing ability to forgive Michael and move on with her life. She recounts her struggles to overcome her disability and be the best person she can be in spite of it. She has complete faith in God and His plan for her following the shooting. Unsure of what she wanted to do prior to the shooting, Missy has a clear-cut plan to guide her after December 1. She is determined to be a counselor for troubled youth in hopes of preventing others to take actions such as Michael was compelled to take. A straightforward account of her life after December 1, 1997, I CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY is a hopeful, encouraging novel of triumph over tragedy. Missy's courage and determination shine through on every page. Even those unfamiliar with the event will praise Missy's positive outlook on life. The world would be a much better place if everyone had the same view of things.
I Choose to be Happy:
A school shooting survivor¿s triumph over tragedy.
Missy Jenkins with William Croyle
Langmarc Publishing, 2008
Reviewed by Debra Gaynor for ReviewYourBook.com, 12/08
I remember praying as I listened to the tragedy unfold in 1997. The setting was Paducah, Kentucky, only 150 miles from the small Kentucky community I live in. Michael Carneal opened fire in Heath High School. The boom of the gun shots echoed throughout the school. To the horror of the faculty and students, three were dead and five were injured.
Missy Jenkins is a courageous person. She faced the challenges and overcame them. Jenkins forgave Michael Carneal. Forgiveness is taught by Jesus Christ. The title of this book says it all, I Choose to be Happy. As I looked at the photos of Missy and observed the sunshine of her smile, I was reminded that happiness is a choice we make. Missy brings many of us to shame. I Choose to be Happy is well written. I found myself in tears as I read the events on that fateful day. I found myself praising God that Missy could walk again. May God continue to bless Missy Jenkins.