Review: The Way I Used To Be (You need this in your life)

The Way I Used to Be

 

This is me after I finished this book:

 

 

I had heard this book was good but I really wasn’t ready for just how good. This was not an easy story to hear but oh my goodness… it was so powerful.

This is the story of Eden and how her life was forever changed during her Freshman year when she is raped by her brother’s best friend, someone she trusted and thought that she loved. He threatens her to keep her mouth shut and never speak of the truth, ever, or he will kill her. Eden believes this threat so she does just what he says – she never tells anyone. She wants to, oh how she wants to, but she is always just too scared. After this event happens, she is obviously is forever changed. Her innocence is lost and she also starts to lose who she once was. She starts acting out in the worst ways possible. She goes to parties and sleeps with random guys, she drinks, smokes (more than just cigarettes), is very mean to people, but not once does she realize she is doing all of this as a cry for help, for someone to notice her and ask the right questions to see if she really is ok. Eden lives her life wild and without caution for four years until Kevin, the boy that raped her, is accused of raping another girl. Finally, Eden is asked the right questions and she is faced with doing what she should have done four years before. Will she have the inner strength to do what is right and long overdue?

This book quickly found its way into my heart, shattered my soul, and broke me completely. This was one of the most beautifully written stories I have read in a while. Everything about this story was perfection. Yes, this is a hard story to read and difficult sometimes to get through because all you want to do is sit Eden down and yell at her to tell the truth. Sadly, as readers, we don’t get that option.

There were other reviews on this book that said it wasn’t well written and nothing was believable. All I can say to that is don’t believe everything you read on the internet. Those people are not easily pleased and are usually not happy unless they are complaining about something. This book, this story right here felt REAL. This brought up real emotions that could not be ignored. Eden felt like a real life person and that was brilliant. Eden’s hurt and suffering was so palpable that you could feel it coming from the pages. So many times I wanted to hug her and tell her everything was going to be okay.

This book was told in four parts – Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior – to show how this even effected all of Eden’s HS life. Smashing good job. We were able to see how Eden continued to carry this heavy burden and how everything around her was affected by that secret. We see that the pain Eden carries is not dulled as time goes on, it is still very much alive and taking on new shapes.

I found it very interesting how this book also deals with the ever constant topic of slut-shaming. This seems to be a bigger and bigger topic nowadays and I’m glad it is being addressed. My HS was incredibly small and I graduated with 27 people so I had no idea slut-shaming was really a thing until I moved to the big city. Frankly, this topic terrifies me. Trying to deal with it as an adult is tough, I cannot imagine being a teenager going through that. This book did a wonderful job of bringing this to light and exposing how nobody knew what Eden was going through yet these girls were quick to put a label on her.

This is by far one of the best books I have read this year. I really hope more stories like Eden’s are told. This is a series issue that happens every day and we don’t realize it. I hope more authors like Amber Smith write powerful, breathtaking stories that are raw and courageous. I will not stop thinking about this book anytime soon. I hope everyone will give this a chance.

 

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