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Pamela Crabtree

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The Gift of Hurt
by Pamela Crabtree   

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Publisher:  1st Books Library ISBN-10:  0759627606 Type: 


Copyright:  Jan 1 1999

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A book for people who have been victimized/traumatized or know someone who has been victimized/traumatized.

The Gift of Hurt is a non-fiction modern-day story that is set in a Midwestern town. The main characters are middle class citizens, Ellie and Matt Jameson and affluent psychologists, Ann and Dr. Smith. This melodrama explodes after Ellie Jameson’s husband is kidnapped. When Matt Jameson is found safe, after being stuffed into the trunk of a car for nineteen hours, the couple mistakenly believes that all their troubles have ended. Unfortunately, the residual affects of the kidnapping hideously creep up on Matt and Ellie forcing them to seek professional help.

Things go terribly awry as Ellie’s graduate-student therapist, Ann, inadvertently triggers memories of abuse and loss from Ellie’s past. As she begins regurgitating her repulsive childhood memories, she cautiously reaches out to Ann and surprisingly revels in what she believes is a special bond between them. She is certain that with Ann’s help the demons that have been locked up in her subconscious, for almost four decades, can finally be reckoned with and discarded. Vulnerable, open and fragile, like a fresh bloody wound, Ellie is devastated when Ann terminates therapy to do an out of state internship. Ellie struggles to stop the termination process and to see Ann just one more time. Within that deadly struggle is a journey of self-exploration that slowly turns into an uncontrollable ride into madness.

Along that treacherous roller coaster ride, you will meet Ellie’s new therapist, Dr. Smith. You will witness Dr. Smith’s efforts to save Ellie from her mode of crash and burn. In her attempts to counsel Ellie and help her deal with Ann’s rejection, Dr. Smith frequently skirts the code of professional ethics and in doing so inadvertently distresses Ellie further.

Close to the book’s conclusion you will see the madness escalate. With all hope for any sort of quality life or happiness waning, Ellie, while innocently brushing her teeth, looks hard and deep in the mirror. She stops. She looks at herself again, more closely this time. She begins to cry at what she has become and the hurt she has caused everyone. She prays. Something she hasn’t done for years. She vows to take control of her illness and no longer allows it to control her. At its conclusion you will understand that without experiencing the gift of hurt, Ellie would never have realized her potential and reached heights she never thought possible. You will understand too, that without the gift of hurt, Ellie would never have experienced the joy of loving, connecting, and developing emotional intimacy with people.

It was a magnificent-looking piece of hardware. Actually, it was quite beautiful with its polished wooden veneer and its slim black barrel. After taking the shotgun out of the case, I familiarized myself with its mechanics. I opened the bolt and saw the empty chamber. I closed it, cocked it, and slowly pulled it close to my cheek. I looked through the sight, aimed at the wall, and ever so slowly pulled the trigger.

I poured myself another drink and remembered that there was a shotgun shell in the top drawer of Matt’s bureau. As a sense of relief engulfed my body, I headed for our bedroom. After rummaging through Matt’s bureau, I came up empty. I started a search of the house that spanned five rooms and dozens of drawers and cabinets. "There’s got to be a shell somewhere in this house," I muttered.

Professional Reviews

The Gift of Hurt
This story is based on real events; names of the principles have been changed to protect their privacy. The story starts with the kidnapping of Matt Jameson, Ellie's husband of 25 years, from his place of work. Matt's been selling cars at an upscale dealership. While on a test-drive, a customer pulls a gun on him and forces him to get into the car's trunk. Matt is held in the trunk of the car, fearing for his life, for nineteen hours. When the police can't find him, Ellie begins to believe that he's been murdered. After the kidnapping, Ellie breathes a sigh of relief that doesn't last long. The trauma of this event has become a catalyst that sends her into a dark depression and on a painful journey into the past. Like any family, there are a lot of skeletons in the closet of both Ellie and Matt's families. The things that Ellie never dared tell anyone start to come out in therapy sessions after Matt's kidnapping. To complicate matters, Ellie begins to feel that her therapist, a graduate student named Ann, is the only one who understands her. Ann offers her comfort and Ellie becomes emotionally attached to her. It takes many months of therapy with another doctor, and more startling family revelations along the way, before Ellie can begin to recover. If you like true-life stories of families in conflict, you'll like this book. It's a riveting story of one person's struggle to come to terms with the past and it's made all the more so because it's a true one. Caveat: the subject matter deals with sexual abuse and suicidal episodes. Reviewed by: Christine A. Reed

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