Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Book Review: Damaged: A Violated Trust by Melody Carlson

Damaged: A Violated Trust
Damaged: A Violated Trust by Melody Carlson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Just as I was moved to grief by Enticed and Forgotten, Damaged reminds me of how desperately victims of sexual abuse need support and compassion. When Haley petitions the court to live with her dad, she's hoping that this will be the start of new beginnings. Sure, dad has a girlfriend who's closer to her age than his, but it's awesome being able to dress in clothes she likes and have a little freedom from her mother's overprotective nature. Within a few days of being at a new school, it feels like she's finding acceptance amongst the in-crowd. Never mind that they don't know the real Haley, the Haley who can't stand action movies or vinegar on her fish and chips, the Haley who really doesn't like football and listens to Taylor Swift. And that's the first step down a very dangerous road of pretending to be something she's not just so she can fit in. And when Harris Stephens casts his eye her way after a nasty break-up with his girlfriend, she couldn't be happier because he's everything she's ever dreamed. Or is he?

I know that one of the arguments against this book will be Haley's mother. The woman is a legalistic Christian whose focus is on judging instead of forgiveness. She's resentful, bitter, and beats her children and ex-husband over the head with the Bible instead of showing them the love of God. This might just upset a few folk from a legalistic background, but I couldn't agree with Melody's conclusion more. What Haley and her Dad need is a church founded in forgiveness and the love of the Lord. They found it in the arms of a non-denominational church and that can be something of a touchy subject for some Christians too. Since I attend a non-denominational church and find the teaching to be sound, I'm thrilled for Haley and her dad. Others might not agree or like their need for a non-denominational setting.

A few aspects of the story are also a bit contrived, such as the circumstances surrounding Haley's bad experience. I didn't buy into it completely and if you read the book, you'll see why. But, just as with Melody's other books in this series, she addresses a very real topic that is relevant to teen girls today. She braves a topic that most Christian authors give a very, very wide birth, and I applaud her for it. While this book might not be useful to a girl who has had Haley's experiences, it might help a friend of someone who has, give them insight into what their friend is going through, and maybe help them find a way to prove to their friend that they are not damaged beyond repair.

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