WARNING: TOPICS COULD BE TRIGGERING TO SOME.
I don’t think I have come across a book that has informed and touched my heart like this one did. Andrea Randall brought to the surface the taboo subjects of self mutilation and PTSD. People want to look down on “cutters”, turn their heads to PTSD, pretend neither are real issues that need to be understood and addressed. I am very proud of Ms. Randall for approaching these issues and bringing them out to the public.
Natalie, a young wife and mother of twins, tries to cope each day with the resentment she feels. She gave up her dream education and job to become a stay at home mom, while her husband spends his days at college achieving his personal goal. Long ago Natalie said goodbye to the man of her dreams, once when he left for war and again when he came home a different man. She had to face that Ryker was no longer the fun loving man she fell in love with. He had watched his best friend die, he suffered injuries in that attack that sent him home from the war. He was suffering from PTSD and became addicted to pain killers just to survive the emotional and physical pain that consumed him every day.
Natalie promised she would stand by him, but she had to reconsider that promise when she was running from an angry Ryker and fell down the stairs. What transpired after that was her meeting Eric and getting pregnant. Marriage seemed to be the only option she had at that point. What people didn’t know about Natalie was that she was a cutter. It was her way of releasing the pain she felt inside and to be able to handle the daily pressure and resentment that boiled inside of her. Natalie felt guilty for being pressured into having Ryker arrested for her accident, Ryker felt guilty for ruining Natalie’s life. What would happen if they had a second chance at happiness?
Natalie was going to have to decide if she could divorce Eric, especially after they found out one of the twins was going deaf. She knew people would blame her for being selfish and tearing her family apart if she did what her heart was telling her to do. To her surprise the door that allowed her to pursue the divorce caused her a different kind of pain. One that left her having to start over with a set of new questions and shame.
Ryker and Natalie were finally able to find out after a chain of misunderstandings and lies were revealed, if what they started as teenagers was worth going after now. Doing it the “right way” this time and with the support of Rykers father and this adorable older couple that came into Natalie’s life, they started to make their way back together. This of course meant pulling skeletons out of the closet and facing the issues of self mutilation and PTSD head on.
You have the rare chance to not only experience what Ryker went through during the war, but you can see what it is like to be the person left behind. So often the sacrifices of those left behind are forgotten and not honored. She gives you the chance to invest yourself in a relationship that suffers because of 9/11 and the aftermath of war.
This book has just recently been released and I have seen great support for it, but I have also heard people refuse to read it due to the subject matter. This really upsets me because as long as people refuse to see cutting for what it really is, the myths and judgments will continue in society. I think Ms. Randall does a wonderful job at teaching us why a cutter does this to themselves. I have never read an account that so clearly explains what they are seeking when they take that razor to their skin. She destroys the myth that they do this for attention as she explains in detail what a cutter does to hide their wounds. How they learn to avoid the questions and make excuses for the bandages or scars. She explains the lies they live with just to keep their secret. Basically she gives a self mutilator a voice.
I am posting the link to the trailer for this book, but I must warn you that it could be triggering to some people. For the rest, it could be uncomfortable, but it is time that society faces these issues. We can’t continue to run from unpleasant discussions.
Please take a moment and check out Andrea Randall’s author page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAndreaRandall?fref=ts