Many moons ago, my fantabulous friend, Rena Olsen, wrote a book. A really good book. So good that you've probably heard of it at some point or another and, if you haven't, then this is me making you hear about it and suggesting you go read it.
I'm going to take a brief moment and say that I'm lucky enough to know a lot of really cool people. Many of which happen to be really cool authors. All of them hardworking, generous, brilliant, and kind—and Rena fits all those descriptors and then some.
When her book came out, I wanted to celebrate with her somehow. But being miles away made that a bit difficult (at least in the traditional sense). So, instead, I knitted her a gift. If I couldn't be there in person to tell her how proud and excited and thrilled I was for her, then maybe every time she saw the Ruffled Scarf I made, that could be the next best thing!
Luckily I got the scarf sent to her in time for her book release which I, sadly, can't say about this blog post. But I digress:
THE GIRL BEFORE is a truly unique book, written in the alternating timelines of "Then" and "Now". It follows Clara—a woman abruptly taken from her home, husband, and daughters—and is forced to confront the possibility that her life might actually be part of something far more sinister than she realized.
Aside from the great storytelling (which Rena is amaaaazing at. Trust me, I've been lucky enough to read a number of her drafts and short stories), THE GIRL BEFORE also deals with the important (and difficult) topics of human trafficking, abuse, and trauma. However, as a psychologist (and just an all-around compassionate person) Rena tackles these issues with equal honesty and regard. Balancing the need to give these topics the candor they need and "deserve", while also respecting them as a storyteller.
I know there are many other summaries that can better explain THE GIRL BEFORE's synopsis. However, I want to impress how it is not only a great book, but also an important read in compassion, gleaning the complexities of abuse, and shining light on the real, present threat of human trafficking.
Simply, it is a unique, poignant story crafted by an exceptionally kind and generous person.
Be proud of yourself, my friend. <3
If you, or anyone you know, may be suffering from any of the aforementioned issues, please click on the links provided, as well as consider how therapy may help.
National Human Trafficking Resource Center
1 (888) 373-7888
SMS: 233733 (Text "HELP" or "INFO")
The National Domestic Violence Hotline
1 (800) 799-7233 (SAFE)
For the deaf and hard of hearing: 1 (800) 787-3224 (TTY)