This book should have come with a graphic content warning so that I could have at least been prepared for what was going to hit me! After the second page of the third chapter I was so upset that it took me at least a day to even pick Into The Free back up and resume reading. What was worse about that is I am a Breed Preservation Specialist. Sadly, I know what it is like to have a Dam (female) freak out and kill her pups, especially if that dog was a rescue who is sacred out of her mind.
I just didn't expect to read it like that, nor to have it brought up again and again in the book as a theme tied to death. While I can separate my emotions from it and see why Julie Cantrell did this, it still bothered me. That isn't good because I am rather strong and tough and don't normally react like this. I can't stand not knowing endings. That BOTHERS me so I literally pushed myself through this book. By the end of page 206 I was telling a friend that this book is in a massive spiraling tail-spin nose dive and I am not sure that it is going to recover at all!
Before I give you the rest of my review and thoughts, let me tell you this. I knew as SOON as the EAST facility came into play - I KNEW where this was set. I have people I know and love who were in, or in and out of East Mississippi. I have seen their tears and felt their pain and prayed while they dealt with their mental issues. I have seen the abuse there, and in other places in Mississippi as well. I have been to the cemetery where the Gypsy King and Queen are buried more than once. I know the curses and the Spiritual strong holds of that area FAR more intimately than I ever expected to. That is what happens when you live near somewhere. For this part I wish to say that Julie Cantrell did a good job with the gypsies in this book. They were well written and in a kind light. And the torment that comes with mental and abusive issues was well displayed.
Sadly, I have to go back to the rest of this story. I can say that domestic violence and the results that it has caused so many many people in Mississippi, and everywhere else was well covered. The generational curses passing down were quite intact. What made me literally, physically sick though was dealing with Millie's rape. That was handled horribly, and Millie had no real help with dealing with it. I was so disappointed to see that true help on how to handle being raped was not provided in this book. Instead it was just all swept and buried and left undealt with to crop up and destroy lives at a later date. I know this issue way too well, and I know how many of my friends or family members have been put through this, or physical abuse, mental abuse, emotional abuse, and even Spiritual abuse.
The end of this book left me sickened, and I couldn't even sleep. I tried to read another book and I couldn't, so I just prayed until I could sleep. I know at least 7 of my friends who can not or should not read this book because of the portal of abuse and rape with out resolution or close relationship with Christ. I can't recommend Into The Free to any one who has ever been through any of this kind of trauma.God was way off in the distance and shown as mostly a judging harsh version of God instead of the loving Heavenly Father who weeps when we weep and when His children are abused.
Being raped does NOT LEAVE just because you forgive the person who did this to you. Being molested doesn't stop just because you are "ok" with it. The effects are life altering and carry into the future in ways people never expect. Apparently Ms. Cantrell hasn't endured this pain personally in her life and I am glad of that. But to leave everyone who reads this with out the guidance they need is just almost as tragic as the rape and abuse itself. Millie walks off NOT into freedom as she though, but into the horrible issues and consequences that come with living through these kinds of traumas.
I feel badly to have such a hard review, because I know one day my books will be in print and that this would be hard on me to read a review like the one I am having to write just now. However, I have always told my readers my true thoughts and feelings, so I can't hold back now. This book crashed and burned with no recovery whatsoever.
I simply can't recommend this book, and right now I wish I hadn't read it. :(
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Julie served as contributing editor to MOMSense magazine and wrote content for Mothers of Preschoolers, Intl. for nearly a decade. Additionally, she has contributed to more than a dozen books. Into Th Free is her first book.
ABOUT THE BOOK
In Depression-era Mississippi, Millie Reynolds longs to escape the madness that marks her world. With an abusive father and a “nothing mama,” she struggles to find a place where she really belongs.
For answers, Millie turns to the Gypsies who caravan through town each spring. The travelers lead Millie to a key which unlocks generations of shocking family secrets. When tragedy strikes, the mysterious contents of the box give Millie the tools she needs to break her family’s longstanding cycle of madness and abuse.
Through it all, Millie experiences the thrill of first love while fighting to trust the God she believes has abandoned her. With the power of forgiveness, can Millie finally make her way into the free?
Watch the book video:
If you would like to read the first chapter of Into the Free, go HERE.
The book link is: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/078140424X