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    Keener33 (Michigan) review

    December 15, 2008

    Review originally posted at http://keener33.blogspot.com/2008/12/i-choose-to-be-happy.html

    I just finished I Choose to Be Happy by Missy Jenkins and William Croyle.

    This is the story of Missy Jenkins. October 1, 1997 is the date of the first high school shooting at Pearl High, when 16 year old Luke Woodham walked in and using his hunting rifle killed 2 students and injured 7 others. Missy heard about this event that happened 400 miles away from her small town of Paducah, Kentucky and thought things like that never happen in her close knit town. After all, she was 15 and invincible, she had nothing to worry about. But just 2 short months later, to the day, 14 year Michael Carneal walked into Heath High in Paducah with a blanket full of guns and a backpack of shells and a .22 semi automatic pistol. He pulled out the pistol opened fire.

    Missy Jenkins was in the lobby, in the morning prayer circle when she watched Michael, a classmate she knew, liked and even admired shot and killed 14 year old Nicole Hadley, 17 year old Jessica James , and 15 year old Kayce Steger. Five others were hit, including Missy, who just crumpled to the ground. She couldn't feel her stomach or legs, all she could do was lie there and look at the ceiling.

    When Missy had gotten to school that morning, her and her twin sister, Mandy hooked up with one of their friends Kelly. Missy had a bad feeling and wanted to go to the bathroom. Kelly talked her into going to the prayer circle first...she writes:
    "Its fascinating how even the smallest choices we make, such as whether or not to go to the bathroom at a certain time, can affect the direction of our entire lives. Had I gone, I probably missed the prayer circle - and Michael's rage." (pg 10)

    The incredible thing about this 15 year old, however, is her faith and her attitude. She doesn't whine or wallow in the fact that her friend shot her and left her paralyzed from her chest down. She is sure that God has a plan, she forgives Michael almost immediately. She devotes a chapter to forgiveness. She says:
    "We may feel like we are being weak by absolving that person of what he or she did to us, but we're not. What we're actually doing is saying, 'I'm not going to let you bring me down....'"(pg 64)

    I very rarely read nonfiction, but two sentences on the back of the book caught my eye.
    "But Missy never saw her disability as an end. Just hours after the tragedy, she forgave Carneal and took back her life."
    I have been going through some really rough times for the last couple of months and even though my first marriage was abusive on all levels, I don't need to keep living as a victim. This child never was a victim and I have been one all my life. What is her secret, how is her faith so much stronger than mine?

    This book was wonderful and I finished it in a day and a half. She takes us on a journey that I am the richer for taking. It is never overwhelming or dark, rather full of hope and at times had me laughing out loud. Missy Jenkins is an incredible woman and I long to live more like her. Having more faith that God is in control and in the small things. That there is a purpose even when I try to take over and screw it all up.

    I give this book a resounding 5 out of 5

    Posted by C at 1:55 PM

    cube said...
    Seriously, I don't know that I'd have the strength and grace of this woman had this awful even happened to me.
    December 19, 2008 7:52 PM