Review: THE WAY I USED TO BE by Amber Smith
THE WAY I USED TO BE
I dove into this book eyes closed. It was almost a full year before publication date— I had no synopsis, therefore no expectations. A year later, I still remember it vividly. The story engulfed me from the very first page. Amber Smith takes a very delicate subject, and builds a powerful story around it.
The Way I Used to Be is an eye-opening story about the lasting effects and haunting aftermath of sexual violence. In this story, the main character, Edy, grapples with the reality of her rape and tries to understand how it will affect the people around her. The book is divided into four parts, one for each year of high school, starting winter break during freshman year.
Smith delves right into the story, and you find yourself in the mind of a terrified 14 year old, just realizing that she has been raped. Throughout the pages, the author demonstrates Edy’s struggles: her need to speak up, her shame, her search for something to make her whole again.
As you can tell the story isn’t a light one, yet it is THE most unputdownable book I’ve read this calendar year. It is raw, compelling, and poignant; gritty and tragic, yet powerful, beautiful, uplifting and real. It touches a taboo subject; a topic that should be spoken of more openly and freely. Unfortunately, sexual assault is a common thing, a daily occurrence, yet we stay silent. It is my hope that this book will create a wave of open debate and communication so that maybe, just maybe, the victims of sexual assault will not have to suffer in silence.
Be on the lookout tomorrow for our exclusive interview with the author, Amber Smith, and for a chance to win a copy of THE WAY I USED TO BE.
Amber Smith grew up in Buffalo, NY and now lives in Charlotte, NC with her two dogs. After graduating from art school with a BFA in Painting, she earned her MA in Art History. When she’s not writing, she is working as a curator and freelance art consultant. She has also written on the topics of art history and modern and contemporary art. THE WAY I USED TO BE is her first novel.