Official Review: Getting Through What You Can't Get Over

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ButterscotchCherrie
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Official Review: Getting Through What You Can't Get Over

Post by ButterscotchCherrie »

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Getting Through What You Can't Get Over" by Anita Agers-Brooks.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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As a new year approaches, I am starting to think about setting goals. I realize that both of my breakthrough goals for the past two years were a product of my difficult circumstances - they were about solving certain problems. But what do you do when life throws something at you that is devastating ... and unfixable?

There are some things that you can't just get over, like the loss of a child or incurable bodily injuries. Yet even journeys through tunnels as daunting as those can end somewhere brighter. In the self-help book Getting Through What You Can't Get Over: Moving Past Your Pain Into Lasting Freedom, author Anita Agers-Brooks recounts the stories of individuals who went through the most nightmarish experiences. After telling each person's story in beautiful, literary prose, Anita concludes each chapter with sections entitled "Insider Insights", "Practical Help", "Spiritual Comfort" and "Guided Prayer".

The title and subject of this book drew me in, and it delivered on its promise. The author's tone is empathic as she validates the unbearable pain of some circumstances that no one could reasonably expect to get over. Anita herself was inspired by Auschwitz survivor Edith Eger who drew her attention to Psalm 23 in the Bible. Referring to the wording, the elderly Jewish lady particularly noted that one must walk through the valley of the shadow of death - as opposed to stopping or pitching a tent, for example.

I've always found Psalm 23 comforting. Overall, however, the book's focus on turning to the Bible for help got a little excessive. The writer was too categorical in asserting that Christianity is the answer to everything. This could alienate those of other religions or none. It would be better if the book's subtitle or at least the description made the centring of the Bible clear. I am not sure all Christians would endorse the author's choice to refer to God as "Daddy". This comes up in a chapter about those who are traumatized by not knowing their biological father. Most unfortunately, the author conflates being conceived during rape with parents using a sperm donor. I will give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that this association was not intentional - yet I seemed to detect a tone of disapproval of non-traditional families.

In that connection, this book is most strongly recommended to Christians weathering a hard time. With certain reservations, I could also recommend it to anyone in need of assistance as they tread a rocky path. To be fair, some of the advice, especially in the "Practical Help" sections, is not religious. Anita shares some valuable insights. I love her point about how we always feel grief when someone dies, regardless of how old or ill they were. She writes: "Although we somewhat expect some deaths, the sting isn't lessened when the final moment arrives." The list of the stages of grief is very helpful, as is the reminder that one may well cycle through them. The author's wise stance derives from her "experiential empathy", which is gained by going through hard things. I really appreciated the discussion of this. The author noted that those who lack it may add to a bereaved person's pain with their platitudes.

An example of such a cliche is telling a grieving person that their loved one is in a better place. Anita likens this to pouring vinegar into an open wound - an image from the Bible. Although there is undoubtedly much wisdom in the Bible, as I say, I did find the categorical tone problematic overall. The author shared that she used to be sceptical about the Bible, but that read like a sales pitch, which is not appreciated. Aside from that, this book has many strengths. It appears to have been professionally edited. Harrowing subjects like sexual assault are described in a sensitive and non-graphic way. Weighing everything up, I give this book a rating of three out of four stars. Overall, it could provide much comfort and encouragement to valley walkers.

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Getting Through What You Can't Get Over
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Miriam Molina
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Post by Miriam Molina »

I have been walking that valley for a while. Do I need to pitch a tent?

Psalm 23 is a comforting reassurance that this walk will end well eventually. I believe in the Shepherd.

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Post by Ellylion »

I agree with you that the book would apply to a larger audience if it wasn't for the categorical tone. Too pity, the book sounds to be a useful read for those in difficult circumstances. Thank you for a great review!

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Post by ButterscotchCherrie »

Miriam Molina wrote:
30 Dec 2019, 12:33
I have been walking that valley for a while. Do I need to pitch a tent?

Psalm 23 is a comforting reassurance that this walk will end well eventually. I believe in the Shepherd.
I've also been walking it for a while, without seeing any light at times ... but I keep walking and it comes. I have always especially liked the "valley of the shadow of death" image in Psalm 23. Many thanks for commenting!

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ButterscotchCherrie
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Post by ButterscotchCherrie »

Ellylion wrote:
30 Dec 2019, 12:43
I agree with you that the book would apply to a larger audience if it wasn't for the categorical tone. Too pity, the book sounds to be a useful read for those in difficult circumstances. Thank you for a great review!
I prefer to take what I like from a range of sources myself ... and that said, there was a lot of good stuff in the book. Thanks for your comment!

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Post by MHite11 »

I am so excited to read this book. I myself have Multiple Sclerosis and it is just not something that I have been able to get over. I hope with this book and God, I will learn how to accept my diagnosis and fate.

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Post by ButterscotchCherrie »

MHite11 wrote:
30 Dec 2019, 23:53
I am so excited to read this book. I myself have Multiple Sclerosis and it is just not something that I have been able to get over. I hope with this book and God, I will learn how to accept my diagnosis and fate.
That sounds hard; I'm sorry. I am sure you will find the book helpful.

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Post by Kanda_theGreat »

Books that edge too much into one religious faith are an instant turn-off to me because they sort of seem like a maze which has only one correct route to the prize; therefore, I shall skip this one.
Thank you for the review.
Bet on me!✊

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Post by ButterscotchCherrie »

Kanda_theGreat wrote:
31 Dec 2019, 08:38
Books that edge too much into one religious faith are an instant turn-off to me because they sort of seem like a maze which has only one correct route to the prize; therefore, I shall skip this one.
Thank you for the review.
That's how I feel too; it's okay if someone shares what worked for them. Thanks for your comment!

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Post by Aniza Butt »

Heavy citing from Bible can limit the audience of this book. I would pass this one as its not my genre.
Thanks a lot for a nice review ☺.
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ButterscotchCherrie
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Post by ButterscotchCherrie »

Aniza Butt wrote:
01 Jan 2020, 11:56
Heavy citing from Bible can limit the audience of this book. I would pass this one as its not my genre.
Thanks a lot for a nice review ☺.
Indeed - there are other religions out there! Thank you for your kind comment.

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Post by Jaime Lync »

"The writer was too categorical in asserting that Christianity is the answer to everything. This could alienate those of other religions or none."
- This book seems to be Christian literature. Christianity is not a religious construct that is trying to leave space for any other so-called religions. Jesus Christ himself says that he is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and God makes it clear that He alone is God and all other gods are vain idols. The truth by definition excludes everything that is fake and a lot of people take offence when confronted with it because they rather not have to face it.
Christianity is about a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ, so the author is not wrong in asserting that we find the solutions to everything in life by growing in the Christian faith as we are getting to know more and more about the author of Life in the process.

Your review made me want to read this book. Thanks for sharing.

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Post by nicole-adrianne »

What an interesting book! Sounds practical in a lot of ways. Thanks for your lovely and honest review!
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Post by kdstrack »

I almost chose this book but wondered if some of the "nightmarish experiences" might be too overwhelming. The author does seem to contrast the difficult life experiences with positive advice to help one walk through the hard times. You did a wonderful job analyzing this book. Thanks!

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Post by ButterscotchCherrie »

@Jaime Lync

In all good conscience, I have to speak up against your hate-filled comment.

Its content and tone are filled with Christian supremacy, religious intolerance and cultural hegemony. This site is read by people from all over the world. The USA alone is home to Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Shamanists and more, as well as Christians, and of course, secular people. I'm sure readers are secure enough in their beliefs that they DGAF about your manipulative rhetoric. Even as you cherry-picked just one sentence from a complex review, you twisted my words - I said "alienate", not "offend". But religious intolerance leads to persecution, human suffering and death. So I am calling that out as unacceptable.

I thought Jesus of Nazareth preached love. The hateful behaviour of those who profess to follow him saddens me deeply.

Please refrain from posting content like that in future. Thank you!

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