Life, In Spite of Me

Stephanie Perry

2.5 Stars

July 3, 2012

Life, In Spite of Me, is the memoir of Kristen Anderson. At seventeen-years-old, after a series of traumatic events, Kristen decided to try to end her own life by lying across the train tracks in front of her home. Miraculously, she survived being run over by a train, but lost both of her legs in the process.

In her memoir, Kristen recounts her journey of dealing with the aftermath of her failed suicide attempt, learning to live life without legs, and the way that what began as a tragedy ultimately saved her life by propelling her into a very real and gratifying relationship with God.

Kristen's story is powerful and very encouraging. I have seen videos of her speak. She is a good speaker and has an incredible story to tell. That being said, I feel that her book left something to be desired. The writing was dull and I had a very hard time engaging for the majority of the book. This is partially because of the fact that it was written at a juvenile level and partially because I felt like the written account of her story was nothing more than a superficial narrative of what happened. There was little to no depth to it. The book occasionally jumped so far forward in time with no explanation that I felt like I had missed something. There were also personal "notes" from Kristen periodically throughout the book between chapters. In these notes, Kristen addresses individuals who may be struggling with depression, suicidal thoughts, etc, which, according to Kristen, consist of "things I wish I had known, things I wish someone had told me back then." I understand the concept, but the notes seemed very random and were a bit of an interruption. I feel like it would have been more effective to combine them into one (they all said virtually the same thing anyway) and put it at the beginning or end of the book.

Kristen's story itself is beautiful and inspiring. However, her book does not do it justice and I would highly recommend viewing it on YouTube instead. Check out this short video summary if you're interested in her story.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.