Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Merciful Scar

by Rebecca St. James & Nancy Rue
Thomas Nelson Publishers

Kirsten is a normal girl on the outside, but she is slowly dying on the inside. An accident in her family has broken how she sees herself, her family, and God; and the only way she feels anything at all is by carving tiny lines into her skin. Despite the physical pain that comes from such actions, the emotional pain she is suffering far outweighs a little blood she draws from time to time. Feeling guilt from the past and thinking she can do nothing to change her life, she tries in vain to ease the pain that is threatening to overwhelm and overtake her. 

Now at twenty-three years old, she still fights the demons of her past. Her boyfriend of several years provides somewhat of a crutch for her, but when she discovers he is seeing her best friend, her world comes crashing down around her. She does what she knows will ease the pain - a knife, a little line, a little blood, and a little guilt eased temporally. But this time the line isn't so little, and this time someone sees her. She lands in the psych ward because it is believed she tried to kill herself. 

Knowing she has gone too far this time, Kirsten takes her pastor's suggestion to go to a sheep ranch that has a treatment program for people like her. But no matter what she does or where she goes, she cannot escape from the pain and guilt of her past. Will she ever find the redeeming grace and forgiveness everyone talks about but seems to elude her? And will she ever be able to forgive herself for what she has done?

If you have ever done anything in your past that you can't forgive yourself for, you will certainly empathize with Kirsten and understand how she got to the point of cutting herself. While this book is directed more for the YA group, I think that readers of any age (not children, of course) will benefit from reading this novel. Cutting is not something that we know a lot about as a society, and unless it affects us in some way, it's one of the issues that gets swept under the rug. Forgiveness is a simple thing, freeing and liberating in nature. But forgiving yourself is the hardest thing to do sometimes, as Kirsten learns and experiences firsthand.  

This book was provided by Thomas Nelson Publishers for free in exchange for an honest review. 

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