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The Merciful Scar by Rebecca St. James
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The Merciful Scar

by Rebecca St. James

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3 1/2 stars. Spiritual without being preachy. ( )
  olegalCA | Dec 9, 2014 |
The Merciful Scar by Rebecca St. James and Nancy Rue is what some would call New Adult Fiction (the target audience is 18-24 year olds and the subject matter is adult in nature). However, my church book club, Page Turners, chose it for our April discussion based upon a radio interview of Rebecca St. James that one of our members heard. And though our youngest member is almost 20 years above the target audience and the rest of us are considerably more senior than that, we thoroughly enjoyed the novel. Well-written, with complex characters and situations, it definitely opened our eyes to the realities of cutting.

Kirsten is a graduate student with a secret. Her well-covered body does not disclose the cutting she has been doing for years. The physical scars may be hidden, but it is the emotional ones that come out when she has an accident during a cutting episode. Involuntarily admitted to the hospital for a supposed suicide attempt, Kirsten is desperate to get out and to get on with the rest of her life. The only way out is to agree to a 30-day treatment with a former Anglican nun as counselor/spiritual advisor. The ranch and its way of life seem alien to Kirsten, but soon its rhythms and the ways of God become part of her.

Though Kirsten is a self-injurer (cutter), other characters face deep emotional trauma. Guilt and forgiveness are major themes in the novel. Most of our members found the first part of the book hard to get into, but when Kirsten arrives at the ranch, the story really took off and took hold. We found the metaphors of the sheep and shepherd touching and insightful. The characters were easy to connect with and we cared about what was going on in their lives. And there were a few scenes that brought tears. It also brought from us a deep discussion of past experiences and the hope that God can give to His people. Moving and thought-provoking, The Merciful Scar is one we heartily recommend.

Highly Recommended.

Great for Book Clubs (especially young women) ( )
  vintagebeckie | Apr 25, 2014 |
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A young woman who used cutting to cope with traumatic events in her life learns lessons in healing at a treatment program on a working ranch.

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