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Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite
The Hands That Held Me by Lisa Jo Symonds is a poignant memoir that follows the journey of the protagonist through her hurt and brokenness towards healing and empowerment. Lisa’s journey is that of trauma, abuse, and addiction. Growing up in an addicted household, Lisa experienced physical and sexual abuse, becoming pregnant at the age of fifteen when she escapes home to live in the streets filled with prostitutes and addicts. She shares her story of her sister’s overdose and her attempted suicide. But all along with her struggle for survival, someone has cared so deeply for her and loved her even more than she might have imagined. Her realization that she is loved unconditionally by God became the path to a new life.
The Hands That Held Me by Lisa Jo Symonds is a story of pain and redemption, a story filled with hope and love and faith. From the very start, readers understand the depth of the darkness into which the protagonist was plunged. “I am struggling. Struggling to breathe, struggling to think, struggling to fight the fog that seems to be closing in on my mind." This is the story of a woman who survived abuse and addiction and went on to earn a Master’s Degree and became one of the positive influences in the lives of others. It is told in a voice that is clear and engaging. At times Lisa Jo Symonds’ voice comes across as ruthlessly honest. It is easy to feel connected to the protagonist as one reads about her pain and misery. The Hands That Held Me is an inspiring story that shows readers that they can always rise up, no matter how low they have fallen. Written in prose that is fluid and in a voice that is strong and consistent, this memoir is compelling and inspiring.