4 out of 4 stars
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Imagine growing up in a poor home where your parents dislike you, and nothing you ever do is right in their eyes. Imagine a home where you are constantly being reminded of how you almost killed your mother at birth and blamed for every misfortune that befalls the family. Imagine a home where you are practically tasked with raising your younger ones and have to prevent your mother from committing suicide occasionally. Your imaginations so far wouldn't even begin to cover half of the numerous rough experiences Linda S. Hopkins, the author of Lazarus's Denial, has experienced growing up and even well into her adult life. What effects will all of these have on her?
In her own words, "Leftovers from our childhoods will always define our adult lives until we can find the courage to change them out for more productive behaviors." So, Lazarus's Denial is Linda S. Hopkins' journey through denial, misery, hatred, and self-doubt and towards self-discovery, forgiveness, and peace.
I spent most of the time reading this book in a state of confusion, anger, and sadness, as I followed the author's recollection of her horrible experiences, which she even had to block out from her memory, at some point, to help her move on. I could see her experiences right in front of me, as she told her story in the first-person perspective and in a way that puts the reader directly in her shoes while she channels her ability to fully express herself through art, which she was always drawn to at a young age. For Linda's ability to evoke emotions from the reader, the book's readability, and the book's perfect execution, it deserves the maximum rating of 4 out of 4.
In this book, Linda leaves no aspect of her experiences and growth out, including dark moments of wanting to kill her abusive husband and when she stole. There's a lot to admire about the author and learn from her story, however. Amidst everything she faced, from rape at home to bullying at school, she realized that she was still alive for a reason. Even though her story is one of falling into the same mistakes until she got to learn her lessons, as her experience was her best teacher, readers can learn a lot about facing traumatic experiences and their psychological effects head-on from her story.
Also, Lazarus's Denial is a professionally edited book. I found just three errors throughout the 331-page read, which enhanced my reading experienced greatly. There's not much to dislike about the book. The only aspect of the book that I felt bad about was that there was so much sadness, and I found myself asking, "when does all this end for her?" Nevertheless, there are also joyful and powerful moments that readers will celebrate with the author. The rape and abuse scenes are not descriptive, but I would not recommend this book to people that may be affected by such scenes, as the author expertly manages to showcase her feelings in those situations, which may trigger some readers. On the other hand, readers who enjoy memoirs and self-discovery books will love this book.
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