But once I picked this book up and began reading it, I could hardly put it down. Yes, Words is a story touched with something that's unspeakably horrible, but it's ultimately a story of the triumph of love and grace.
It's the story of Sierra, an artist whose life had become paralyzed by the burden of guilt she's carrying over something that happened twelve years earlier.
And it's the story of Kaylee, a little girl whose circumstances, unfortunately, could have been lifted out of the pages of today's newspaper...a little girl held captive by a sick man who uses her for his twisted desires.
Kaylee's only refuge is the hollowed trunk of a redwood tree, where she flees when her abuser is at work...and the imaginary box of words she keeps in her mind. One of the only books in the dilapidated cabin in which she lives is a dictionary, and she uses it to learn words to add to her mental box.
The words help her escape from the tragic reality of her life of abuse, loneliness and hunger.
One day, when Sierra goes to a secluded area to give way to her personal grief, she catches a glimpse of Kaylee.
The resulting relationship brings love, healing and redemption...but the journey to that ending is one that is poignant and riveting. Words is, quite simply, one of the most moving books I've read in a long time.
Words is so beautifully written, it blows me away that this is the first book for author Ginny Yttrup. Yttrup herself was a victim of child sexual abuse, so she knows whereof she speaks. She writes on her website:
The opportunity to write is the fulfillment of a life-long dream. Words were my salvation as a child, until I met my true Savior, the Word. Through the tumultuous years of my childhood, I lost myself in the stories I read. There, in the world of fiction, I escaped the trauma I faced and found a place of safety and rest. Today, I enjoy the gift of combining my two loves--I write words that, I hope, reflect the glory of Jesus Christ.(While Words doesn't sugarcoat the reality of abuse, neither does it go into sordid detail, so the reader is spared any especially disturbing scenes.)
Yttrup also doesn't minimize the part that faith in Jesus Christ can play in the triumph over guilt, shame and horrific tragedy. Neither does she pretend that healing is ever a done deal...it's clear that victims of such abuse will need ongoing counseling and therapy to deal with the ordeal they've endured.
I've already read seven books so far in 2011. Without a doubt, Words is the best one so far. I highly recommend it!
For more about author and speaker Ginny Yttrup, go to her website.
I'm participating in Semicolon's Saturday Review of Books--Click the icon for more info!