You Believers

You Believers - Jane Bradley A heart-crushing tale of a girl lost, a girl saved and several who fall somewhere in between. All the characters are flawed and because of this, demand sympathy on some level. The juxtaposition of the characters poses the question when victimized, is it better to be killed or live. It examines what happens when we come out the other side of horrific events, how we are changed and what motivates us as individuals to move on, or not. Most would say this is obvious, but is it? What does it mean to live through an unspeakable violation and event whether as a sister, mother, father, or spouse -- or as the victim. Then, there are others to consider -- those who are also touched by evil because as Bradley shows, evil seldom takes a straight path. Pain splinters and fractures as it spreads like a web. Is it our reaction to such evils that continues to feed the fear and power of it? You Believers is horrifying not just because of subject matter, but also in the manner through which the story is told. The starkness is unrelenting and details paralyzing, not because of graphic depiction but rather through a realness that won't let the reader look away. At times, I felt as if my eyeballs were super-glued opened. It is impossible to detach from what is happening to all the characters emotionally, and because of this, can be downright exhausting. For those who have never experienced anything similar to the situation told in the story, hold on, because you are about to. For survivors of events, I warn the pages may contain a great deal of triggers that will be hard to get through. For example, there is a rape scene that is viewed from the perspective of the victim. Not a read to be considered lightly, but worthwhile to examine if you have the strength to face human helplessness and the grace to rise above it.