Six years ago, we posted a review of a memoir, Facing the Sky by Rainee Grason. In light of recent events, a repost might be in order, especially for readers seeking hope amid trouble.
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Self-Publish or Traditionally Publish?
Last night, I met with an author and her husband (who also happens to be a writer, as well as an artist) to discuss her self-published book, Facing the Sky. She had wondered about trying to find a traditional publisher to reprint the book and gain a wider audience, but after reading her unconventionally-formatted but powerful true story, I realized she needs to retain control.
The book is her life story, centering on a specific time in her teens but drawing in her childhood and adulthood in a sometimes linear, sometimes flashback/flash-forward style that works well for the material. She is a Christian, so her faith is very much part of the story, but traditional Christian publishing houses would probably gut the book, redacting the harshest elements, weakening its power.
In fact, a local bookstore refuses to stock the book because of a particularly raw scene describing the author’s rape by her boyfriend in her early teens.
This disturbs me. Rape isn’t pretty. It happens, even to children. It damages the psyche and the spirit. But Rainee Grason’s story shows that redemption is possible — not only possible, but triumphant. Remove that ugly scene, and the power of the truth is lost.
Rainee Grason’s story is told inside-out.
We meet her as a teenager, facing the sky, feeling God’s love in the warm rays of the sunset. We overhear her thoughts about her boyfriend, their relationship, the rape.
One line of copy from back cover states, “She realizes she does have a choice — she can walk away from the imprisoning walls of the unhealthy relationship, but how?”
As events play out, she says goodbye to Gideon and hello to Cole. About a third of the way through the book, however, after she and Cole are married, Rainee pushes the curtain even further back, all the way to her earliest childhood memories, and reveals what led up to the night she stood, sixteen and pregnant, facing the sky.
Who Should Read Facing the Sky?
Teenagers and adults alike will identify with much in this true story, including the themes of worthlessness, hurt, shame, abuse, teen sexuality, awkwardness, fear, alcoholism, the desire for a better life.
This is an excellent book for mothers and daughters to read together and discuss. It reminds us that even the darkest night doesn’t last forever, we are worth more than we think, and God is waiting to lead us into the light of a new day.
NOTE: Fathers and sons can also benefit from this book, because it addresses — obliquely yet clearly — the importance of strong, kind fathers and husbands. It is in the embrace of Cole’s understanding and strength that Rainee is able to heal at last, after she is suddenly confronted by matters she thought long resolved. By reading her story, young men may also see the painful, tragic results of selfishness and pride: many girls used, even raped, their lives forever marked by Gideon’s sexual desires.
Contact the Author
Rainee Grason is available for speaking engagements.
HOCKRA153@gmail.com (Attn: Rainee)
PO Box 340953
Beavercreek, OH 45434-0953
Audio and paperback versions of Facing the Sky are available, and price breaks are available for larger orders.