Book Review: Life, In Spite of Me

Recently, I received a free review copy of Life, In Spite of Me:  Extraordinary Hope After a Fatal Choice.

I remember seeing Kristen Anderson on an Oprah show about people who survived suicide.  This book (written with Tricia Goyer) tells the story of how Kristen survived her suicide attempt.  She lost both of her legs in the attempt and went on to live a life of happiness and purpose.

I was fascinated by this book and couldn’t put it down.  I put myself in her situation–how would I go on in that situation?  Kristen eventually finds hope in her faith in Christ.

Here’s more information, provided by the publicist:

After her fatal choice… extraordinary hope.

Why does my life have to be so painful?
What’s wrong with me?
It’s not going to get better.
It could all be over soon, and then I won’t hurt anymore.

Kristen Anderson thought she had the picture perfect life until strokes of gray dimmed her outlook on life. Once a happy child, Kristen’s world darkened after three friends and her grandmother died within two years. Still reeling from these losses, she was raped by a friend she thought she could trust. She soon spiraled into a depression that didn’t seem to have a bottom.

One January night, the seventeen-year-old made a decision: She no longer wanted to deal with the emotional pain that smothered her. She lay down on a set of cold railroad tracks and waited-for a freight train to send her to heaven…and peace.

Fear coursed through me. I squeezed my eyes tighter.
It’s going to be over now. The pain is going to end. I’ll be in heaven soon.
As the train whistle blew, the vibration of my body stilled.
The sound stopped. The wind stopped. The train stopped.
Am I dead yet?

Amazingly, Kristen survived her suicide attempt… but the 33 freight cars that ran over her severed her legs. Now she not only had to deal with depression; she also had to face the physical pain and life without legs.

But Kristen’s story didn’t end there. After her darkest days Kristen discovered a real purpose for living. Now, in her compelling book Life, In Spite of Me, Kristen shares her journey from despair to hope.

Includes letters from Kristen that share messages she wishes someone would have told her-when she was depressed and struggling with loss, shame from sexual abuse, and suicidal thoughts.

Tricia Goyer is the author of twenty-four books including Songbird Under a German Moon, The Swiss Courier, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer’s Conference in 2003. Tricia’s book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005.

In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like MomSense and Thriving Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions.  She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife. For more info, please visit

You can find other bloggers talking about this book here.

18 thoughts on “Book Review: Life, In Spite of Me

  1. p.s. My review copy was free. I can’t update my post right now (technical difficulties) but I want you to know that. And by “you” I mean the FTC, of course. And you, too.


  2. If nothing else, this book sounds like a good reminder that we each DO have value, no matter what comes our way. And, it’s what happens in the end that’s important.


  3. The cause of each person’s depression may be different, but the despair and drastic depths it can drag you to are the same. To read about someone’s journey suffering from this illness, that can have such devastating circumstances, turn into a positive love for one’s self is a source of great hope.


  4. I would love this book. As someone who is slowly coming out of the dark to see some light, I think it would be a encouraging read.

    Ouida Gabriel


  5. first, you mentioned you had 3 readers- add me to the list. Now you have 4! but from the comments it looks like you may have 8!!! EIGHT!!!!!
    I would love to read the book then I can pass it on to someone else!
    Pick me!
    I have been super busy and not read your blog as regularly as in the past, but something you mentioned in an earlier post that your dad died at 47 of cancer. A general rule is you should be followed (checked for)whatever your parents developed 10 yrs before they got it. Dad died of heart attack at 50? you need to be monitored by age 40. Really. It can save a boatload of problems . Take care of yourself.


  6. The person that saved Kristen was my Uncle… Kristen is one of our close family friends and I am so proud of her to have gotten this far! Im not joking I went to church with her since I was little.

    ♡♪♥We all love you Kristen ♥♪♡


  7. This sounds like a very good book from what I heard and would absolutely recommend it to anyone. It reminds us how valuable our life really is and how we are all here for a reason. I’m glad Kristen got a second chance. I would love to read this book.


  8. I read it – in a day, gave it to my daughter, she loaned it…

    READ this book! Kristen walks us through her dry, church-going beginnings that didn’t help her in her trials, to a spiritual re-birth that provided not just hope, but joy in the face of adversity.

    Now I want this book for a special needs teen who has obstacles and issues of his own to overcome. I’ll get it for him anyway, but if I were to be picked…!!


  9. I heard Kristen’s message today on Christian radio and must have a copy to share with a family whose daughter recently made this same choice to end her life. I praise GOD that HE is now using Kristen to reach the world. God bless.


  10. I heard Kristen’s story on “Focus On The Family” radio program. I was inspired to get the book and pass it on to some friends and family members that I beleive will benefit from Kristen’s story and life experiences. God spared her life for such a time as this. Praise God for His Grace and Mercy!


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