Saturday, October 20, 2012

Book Review: Nowhere But Up

"When you hit rock bottom, you have nowhere to go but up."

In Nowhere but Up, Pattie Mallette shares for the first time in detail about the pain and abandonment she experienced as a child, the sexual abuse she suffered for years, the severe depression she wrestled with as a teen, the deep struggles she faced as a single mom, and the faith she's learned to cling to through dark times.

With raw honesty, she spills the truth about a lifetime of moments that were punctuated by pain yet permeated with grace--and the journey that's brought her to where she is today.

*** It's not just teen moms who struggle or need to find hope. Whether you're a single mom, an addict, or a victim of abuse . . . whether you're on the verge of bankruptcy or the brink of divorce . . . whether you're in a dysfunctional family or the product of a broken home . . . whether you battle depression or struggle with anxiety . . . whether you live in fear or hide in shame . . . whether you've been abandoned, rejected, or ignored--there is hope. It doesn't matter where you find yourself today--broken, hurting, wounded, or shamed. If God can help me find my way up, I promise, He can do the same for you.
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I had a hard time deciding if I wanted to review this book or not. I am not in any way a Justin Bieber fan, however I am a fan of stories of God's healing and redemption in the lives of His children. So, I decided to go for it.

I'll start by saying that I can certainly appreciate the difficulty she experienced as a young, single mother, and my heart sincerely hurt for her that she had experienced so much sexual abuse as a child. She didn't give up on herself, or her child, and she did whatever she had to do to ensure she could provide for him. For that, she gets my respect.

The book is basically two parts: the young Patti Mallette - struggling with the pain of sexual abuse, drug addiction and promiscuity, and then as teenage mother. Then it becomes her life as Justin Bieber's mother, and his rise to fame and less about her.

I don't know what I was expecting with this book, but I will say that I was disappointed by it. I kept waiting for "that moment" when she would talk about how God rescued her, or changed her life. I felt at times as though it was building to this big revelation, but it didn't happen. She spoke of it at times, but it was really watered down or glossed over. I didn't feel inspired or encouraged by her story. I felt sad for her for what she endured as a child, but I didn't feel sadness for her choice to do drugs or be promiscuous, thus resulting in a pregnancy.

I found this book to be an extremely quick read, and at times rather slow. Compared to other biographies I have read, this one had very simplistic writing and I felt it lacked something. Emotion, perhaps. It was a basic re-telling of her childhood and teen years, but it lacked sincere emotion.

I think her story could have been told better and come across as more inspirational if there was a stronger co-author behind it. Someone who could have told her story in a more inspiring way, to draw the reader in and truly feel for what she had experienced. Unfortunately it reads like a story about Justin Bieber's mom and how he got famous, when instead it could have been more about overcoming adversity and experiencing life-changing redemption. As a reader, I want to hear the voice of the "character" I'm reading. I didn't hear Pattie's voice in this book.

I won't be recommending this book to anyone, and I likely won't keep my copy. The truth is, Pattie's story is the same story as thousands of people - only she got a book deal out of it because of her son. Had she left out the majority of Justin's rise to fame and kept the book more about her it would have been a better read.

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"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group


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