Monday, December 20, 2010

Book - "I Will Not Be Broken" (Jerry White)

Title: I Will Not Be Broken
Author: Jerry White
Published: St Martin's Press

I Will Not Be Broken: Five Steps to Overcoming a Life CrisisIn a straightforward declaration of defiance against discouragement and disaster, Jerry White affirms life boldly. Blasted by a landmine back on April 12th, 1984 at the age of 20, White has to endure much pain and suffering as he tries to rebuild his life. Co-founder of Survivor Corps, an organization that helps victims of war and terror, White tells not only his own story but helps readers by sharing his journey of recovery via a 5-step process of overcoming crises anyone faces. These steps are:

  1. Face the facts;
    - avoid the vicious cycle of denial, but accept the reality.
  2. Choose Life
    - choose to say yes to life and living;
  3. Reach Out
    -don't victimize self through self-pity, but reach out to help others, especially those who have greater needs than us;
  4. Get Moving
    - Do not hide behind our closed doors and break away from the world. 
  5. Give Back.
    - Be a help to others outside our own problems.
White writes on the need to be resilient:
"Whether we like it or not, personal determination is required to build resilience - to become fit for whatever the future may hold. We have to tap inner resources and develop some emotional muscle. It's both a discipline and our responsibility. No one can do it for us." (3)
White draws heavily from his own personal struggles over his own crisis, especially his self-esteem when he lost his leg. The single biggest barrier to recovery is 'self-victimization.' It numbs one emotionally and hurts one's attitude toward life and living. 

My Comments
Jerry White tests his 5 steps on himself, making this book a very personal and authentic book of his. While the steps are not rocket-science, it needs energy like a rocket to overcome the stubborn gravitational grip of self-pity. Filled with examples and stories of other individuals who have overcome, White makes this book very readable and inspiring. He says that it is possible to eventually survive, inspire and thrive.

Though I like White's five steps, I feel that not everyone has the resilience and determination like White. Not many of us are able to found organizations like Survivor Corps. It would have been nice to hear a female perspective of how one survives. Thus, for anyone seeking to recover from a personal crisis, this book should be a spark, rather than fuel the recovery process. There is a strong bent toward self-sustainability and community. It is still a philosophy based on self-help.

For Christians, I will recommend that one supplements this with books from Nancy Guthrie and Gerald Sittser. One of them have been reviewed previously on this blog here. True healing cannot depend on self but on God. While the author does not express a specific faith of his, he does acknowledges benefiting from the biblical characters of Job, Joseph and Jesus (204). Apart from this, this book can be deeply encouraging and inspiring. If one can gets beyond self-pity, and self-focused, when one learns to say "I will not be broken," the journey to recovery would have begun. 


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