Dying to Live
by Merica Saint John
Trafford Publishing

"I've lost nothing and gained everything by dying to live."

Merica Saint John's memoir encompasses thirty-seven years of battling the various forms of darkness. Throughout her young adulthood, the author, known in the book by her birth name, Patricia, or Pat bounces from one psychiatric facility to another, tackling everything from mental illness and personality disorders to a severe lack of self-esteem, self-worth, and binge-eating.

Saint John's story is intriguing because it is not just a list of all of her ailments and suffering, but rather a natural, honest portrayal of who she was, how she thought, and how she felt as one detrimental event after another unfolded in her life. In this memoir, the author captures not only her life, but also the lives of her parents and grandparents. Without a doubt, a family history of abuse, particularly from Jake, her grandfather, and the motto, "not to tell and not to ask any questions," are major catalysts in Patricia's immense vulnerability and a dependency or need to be wanted. In her new avatar, Merica Saint John, she has found the perfect love of the Lord and makes it her mission to lift the spirits and inspire those going through similar torturous experiences.

Dying to Live is filled with powerful, disheartening images of Patricia being raped five different times because she has been trained to be submissive. Only after her transformation does she understand that being angry, showing emotion, and standing up for yourself are all part of what make you you. Although Saint John's narrative can come across as somewhat disjointed—there are numerous flashbacks and character introductions that the reader is not privy to until the end of the chapter—the engaging nature and constant action in the story make the memoir a meaningful read.

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