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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 2 March 2013
I have never read a book about self harm before and having been a cutter for over 8 years I was dubious about how someone could write about such a personal experience and connect with the reader but this was one of the most beautiful and harrowing books I have ever read.
When she described cutting, it was like I was back in those dark moments, slicing open my own skin. Everything she said, I could relate to. It was both an awful experience and one that felt freeing.
If you are a recovered harmer like myself, I would be careful before you read this book. It will bring back that desire to a point, it is not for someone still struggling with the urge but it is a must read for anyone who has been to those points and survived.
If you need a insight into self harm, I cannot think of a more fitting way. This book encapsulates how I felt for the whole time that cutting was the main focus of my life.

It was an incredible read. I couldn't put it down.
Truely mesmerising.

To the author: thank you. Thank you for putting into words what so many are afraid to do and thank you for helping me realise that I am so glad that way of life is behind me. You are an inspiration.
I am over 400 days clean of cutting and I almost gave in before I read your book. Now, I know I won't.
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on 12 December 2015
This is the first book I have read about self harm. It was quite traumatic to read. Very eye opening however.

Kendra, this girl is a survivor! All the suffering she put up with as a child, not having any idea who was the person to violate her in so many ways would have been unbearable. Then to cope she would cut herself, to have control, no longer be afraid or overwhelmed with thoughts and images of the man who abused her.

Her parents - I could not tolerate them at all. Her mother constantly infuriated me with her sly remarks and her lack of compassion!

I just felt for Kendra so much, my heart was breaking for her.

I'm thankful she had some people in her life to help her through bad times.

Very touching story. 5*****

And yes, Cheryl it did move me.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 27 September 2010
This is a very intense and much needed book. Cutting and other forms of self harm is a very serious matter and it is good that books like this exist. In many cases, cutting is a coping mechanism in response to sexual abuse.

Kendra, 15 has been sexually abused for a period of over 10 years, starting when she was a toddler. She is not able to identify her molester. Fortunately she does tell her mother, who, in addition to being in denial over so many things does have the good sense to get Kendra into therapy. Kendra's therapist Carolyn, is a kind, perceptive woman who has firsthand knowledge of sexual abuse and is a stable and nurturing influence in Kendra's life. Kendra's mother would later feel threatened by Carolyn and would make unsuccessful attempts to drive a wedge between her and Kendra.

Meanwhile, Kendra is living a nightmare. She believes she is being stalked, but she isn't sure who the stalker is. She has chosen a new family for herself. Kendra is a gifted artist and her art teacher sees the subtext of Kendra's paintings and is very much a support system. Kendra's mother is friends with a very kind man named Sandy and his partner, both of whom are artists. Kendra's mother has followed her own artistic muse. She has passed her artistic talent on to Kendra and regularly critizes Kendra's work. Kendra feels she cannot confide in her and no longer shows her any of her artwork.

"Happiness is a warm gun/when I hold you in my arms and I feel my finger on your trigger/I know no one can do me no harm/because happiness is a warm gun." -- John Lennon, 1968

On a more alarming note, Kendra has been cutting herself regularly. She has been doing this as a way to symbolically and physically cut out pain. Ironically, John Lennon of "Happiness is a Warm Gun" fame would die from gunshot wounds inflicted by an overzealous lunatic. Kendra is slowly dying from the weapon that gives her momentary comfort, the warm blade in this instance.

Kendra's mother also cannot accept the fact that her daughter is gay. Kendra's first partner, Sarah, took out a restraining order against her prior to transferring schools. Sarah could not take on the enormity of Kendra's needs. Kendra's current partner Meghan, a girl with a very different, yet equally traumatic background literally takes Kendra under her wing. Both are familiar with traumatic sexual relationships, yet their experiences are vastly different.

It is Meghan awho comes through like the Calvary for Kendra time and again. The girls are required to take an art therapy class at their school under the aegis of their art teacher as well as an art therapist. They form a bond that seals their friendship.

Still, Kendra and Carolyn work hard to unmask the abuser. The abuser can best be described as "lying with his eyes while his hands remain busy overtime.." -- Beatles from "Happiness is a Warm Gun," 1968. Kendra's cutting has reached a critical point; she steals blades from the art supply room and lies about why she has them in the first place. Her arm is a cross-hatch of old cuts and supporating as well as healing new ones; she finds comfort in cutting out the trauma of her past by replacing it with something flowing, like red paint, something current that to her way of thinking doesn't include sex.

Carolyn soldiers on. She provides a safe place for Kendra and gives readers insight into Kendra's mind and behaviors; she ultimately helps Kendra to unmask her stalker/abuser.

Cheryl Rainfield is a brilliant writer who has shared an important story with important messages. Sexual abuse; support systems; self injurious behaviors and confronting the abuser. Suicide and sexuality are other major issues that she tackles brilliantly and realistically as well as homophobia and self acceptance. Each of these serious topics segue neatly into one another to make for a very explosive and vital story.

John Lennon's 1965 classic "Help!" and his 1968 classic "Happiness is a Warm Gun" could easily be the soundtrack of this book.
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on 12 August 2012
Scars is not an easy read, it's not supposed to be. It's not an easy book to review either. The story is quick-paced and you're right in the thick of it from the first page. It doesn't give you a lot of space to think about what you are reading. That said, when you've finished and sit back you have a lot to digest.

Kendra is beautifully written and manages to do something that few characters dealing with self-harm have managed to do. She provides you with a platform of understanding of what it feels like to cut. Many books explore the how and why but I haven't read a story before that gives you the feelings behind those actions.

For people who don't cut it's an excellent read to help them understand why someone would do this. For those who do cut it offers the knowledge that you are not alone.

Putting aside the importance of a book like this the story is gripping and hard to put down.
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on 18 January 2013
This book was so much like my life and it helped me to think that things will be okay also it is a very gripping book
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on 27 June 2012
I read the book looking to find something/someone with who I could relate to. This book did that beautifully.

I found the book well written and a very compelling read. In fact, I ended up reading the second half in one sitting, when I originally planned to only read another 10% of it.

The ending was heart warming, I felt glad for Kendra, having family, friends and a girlfriend who loved, cared and were there for her, and that her abuser got put behind bars.

I'd recommend the book to anyone who has ever dealt with sexual abuse and/or self harm.
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on 3 September 2013
I really did like this book! The only reason it didn't get 5 stars it because I guessed the ending... apart from that it was brilliant!
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on 23 August 2012
I downloaded this book free from Amazon. This is kind of book I normally read, but something about it drew me in.
I found this to be a very interesting read. The story is centred around Kendra. A young girl of 15 who is currently receiving therapy after being abused as a child. Kendra and her therapist are trying to find out who her abuser was, by rebuilding gaps in her memory and trying to get Kendra over her fear of this person, thus allowing her to open up more and learn his identity. There is an interesting cast of characters, all of whom are crucial in Kendra's life. They help her to open up, to feel, and to be strong.

This book is told from Kendra's point of view. The writing style is perfect for this sort of novel, and you do feel as though you are there with Kendra every step of the way.

This book is based on real life events. So I believe this book will help others get through bad times. There are people who care and who are willing to help them through rough times, and listen to them sympathetically. More importantly, it will make them realise they are not alone.
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on 16 December 2015
Although I personally felt the style of writing was quite simplistic and lacking, the story itself was quite unique and provided an in-depth view into recalling traumatic sexual abuse, self-harm, and discovering one's self. It wasn't cliched, and wasn't a typical 'love saved the day, and everyone lived happily ever after' - it was realistic and full of raw emotion.
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on 27 December 2015
Loved reading this. Parts of it seem far fetched even though these events do happen. Ending seemed a bit melodramatic but still really satisfying. The author's depth of understanding of SI and what people truly need makes this book.
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