Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Ruined: A book review

I met Ruth Everhart last spring when I hosted her in Scotland for a few days before leading a retreat on Pilgrimage, based on her book: Chasing the Divine in the Holy Land.
We had fun exploring parts of the west coast of Scotland before heading to the east coast, where the retreat took place.
I was pleased to receive an advance copy of Ruth's book for review.
Ruined is a moving account of rape and robbery perpetrated on Ruth and the other women she shared a house with while she was at college and the rippling effects that brutal crime had on all of them.
Ruth tells her story with clarity, describing the rape and its aftermath in detail.
Although she does not gloss over the details of that terrifying night, she tells it in a way that enables the reader to remain engaged.
Brought up in a sheltered, Christian home, attending a Christian college, the horrific crime dredged up for Ruth all manner of questions about the presence and purpose of God.
Ruth describes, with candour, how the crime affected not just those violated but also their relationships with each other and with their family, friends, and college community.
Her telling is insightful with flashes of humour, as she describes some of her more reckless actions and love interests in the wake of the trauma.
Ruth's honesty is refreshing, particularly when she recounts her struggle with racism, reacting to the colour of the perpetrators.
Much of the sometimes simple faith with which she had grown up was challenged and pulled up by the roots as she dealt with her experience but Ruth emerges with strength and love and a faith that is all the more robust for having being forged and reframed under such a traumatic spotlight.
There are so many themes vying for attention in this memoir that more than one reading is required to explore those.
I am grateful to Ruth for allowing such darkness to be brought into the light, for sharing her pain filled story and her fight with faith and her discovery through all that of the sometimes impotent God who walks with us in the shadows.

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