Book Review: The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith
Honestly, I’m not sure many books have tugged at my heartstrings in the way this one has. It was deep, profound, and utterly heart wrenching.
At 14 years old, Eden was raped by her older brothers best friend. Kevin had been a fixture in her family’s life for years, a second brother to Eden, trusted and loved. The book follows the roughly three years following the assault as Eden attempts to navigate this new world of “after” that has shattered her life, and is told in four parts, Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior, as Eden attempts to silently bear her burden. The effect on her relationships, both old and new as well as her sense of self is challenged as Eden slowly evolves into someone unrecognizable from the girl she was before the assault.
Everyone should read this book, boys and girls alike. It was so raw and gut wrenching and unfortunately all too common in our world today, and seemed to tell a story that is so often unspoken or quieted. Watching Edens spiral downward was emotional for me as a reader, I found myself setting the book down more than once to just stop and feel. Amber Smith perfectly captured the gravity of the subject matter with her prose and tone, the pages simply radiated emotion. To see Eden feel so betrayed by her own body and feelings, doubting her self worth and building that steel wall around her heart and mind, so heartbreaking. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to jump into the pages of a book more to rescue someone from themselves. One by one she destroyed every relationship of meaning, most heartbreakingly the one with herself. Without giving away the ending, I’ll just say that Amber Smith really did the characters justice with the conclusion and I felt so proud of Eden for her courage. It was interesting to see the ripple effect throughout the book and all the various characters who were in some way indirectly affected by the assault. Amber Smith sends a powerful message with this book, one that I think everyone needs to hear. It is never your fault, someone will believe you, and have courage.
See you next week friends.
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