Reviewed by Liana Hammersley originally for Goodreads
The first couple of pages of 'Ascending Spiral' made me feel like crying. THE FIRST PAGES! I couldn't believe it. Never has a book made me want to cry at the very beginning of the book. But it did. Mainly because it spoke about a little girl who felt lost, worthless and unloved. It was part of my teenage life he (Pip/ Bob Rich) spoke of. Although mine didn't make me want to die or feel so badly that I really didn't cope because I had friends, a small group of friends but enough to help me through the "popular crowd's" teasing and constant cruelness. Pip's words to Maria were so beautiful and precious that I couldn't help but feel lighter just thinking about them. He helped her through a tough time in her life, made her feel special and taught her that there are no mistakes in life, but lessons, opportunity's that help us grow into the person we want to be. And if we fail, we fail...but it is also a success because we learned and we survived.
That's what this book is mostly about - learning and surviving the best way we possibly can. Dermot was my favourite character/life experience I liked reading about. He was a survivor. He suffered such terrible tragedy's that you can almost understand why he turned out the way he did - I do say almost because in this life (my life) I would never go down the same path at the end and find it confusing and shocking that he would do something so horrible to someone who least deserved it. But in his mind everyone was at fault. His situation was bad, he lost his whole family, was made into an example on a convict boat that could have destroyed him, became a slave, could've had freedom but was blackmailed into staying and in the end he was trapped. he was helpless and kept suffering throughout his life. He was an injured animal, one who had been beaten too many times. He held in all the resentment, anger and frustration at being in a life that wronged him so much that he finally exploded and the way it came out was a terrible action. He suffered again because of it...his soul suffered. But when you look back on everything that had happened you couldn't say what he did was wrong. Part of his family and his soon to be wife was murdered, other family members imprisoned. He fought back because there was nothing else he could do.
Through this book you learn that every action has a ripple effect. It doesn't just affect you or your family but it effects everyone that it comes in contact with. And when you look back on Dermot's life you realise why everything is happening. The English had been bullied by their own people (as I'm sure many countries and societies have) - their own kings and queens ruled over them year after year, dictating how they should feel, act and think. If they acted any differently to what was expected of them they were punished for it - be it jail, maimed or killed. So they were victims: left powerless by the people that should have protected them. So those people through generations became bitter, resentful and angry. And those that came into a certain power (the army's, etc) followed orders and took all those negative emotions out on whoever they were to hurt. They got their revenge, just on the wrong people. And in turn Dermot got his revenge on those people. You can see how one person's wrong doing creates another ones and it just keeps going and going until people are hurt or worse. If one were to forgive then they would either be trampled over or were forgiven themselves. In Dermot's case, he had no choice. If he forgave the English he would only have become a slave himself (which he ultimately did anyway) or killed. There was no middle ground. There was no forgiveness or compassion from the other side. Once anger is involved, everything goes out the window. So Dermot stood and fought for what he believed in - to free his people from such a grievous act. No one would have been free if he didn't do anything. So in a way he helped those people to find hope, at the cost to himself.
Amelia's story had me on the edge of my seat. Her husband horrified me. I was along for the ride (emotionally) for this story because I was terrified for her children having such an abusive father. Her story was tragic in a different way to Dermot's but it had a beautiful ending in a way because she got to live out her life in the end and see her children grow and have their own children. But in the meantime she had a lot of hardship and loss. But she SURVIVED and she lived.
The two other stories about the space flower and the walking flowers didn't appeal to me as much. They were short and the story's were good, but the hardships and emotional connection wasn't there for me as much.
And finally with Pip's life I had to have a little chuckle to myself when my name "Liana" turned up in the story. It's not every day you read your own name in a book - especially when it's as rare as mine! But I loved Pip's journey - his success at reaching peace within himself and finding that "living" this life and experiencing everything that was to be learned is what life is about, not just the material things as most live for - the house, the car, the other objects we consider to be considered to be important that most people rate above all else. This life is about LIVING it, ENJOYING it but most all experiencing it.
This book just makes you rethink about your own life, the situation your in and everything that you have learned up until now. It (most importantly) also makes you ask yourself "what is your purpose for living?" It has helped me appreciate what had been given to me and not take things for granted anymore. I want to enjoy my life now and not bicker about the silly little things because this life is an important one, for my soul and for my family.
If you are of spiritual mind (as I have been my entire life, growing up with the knowledge of past lives, spiritual beings, compassion, lessons, etc) or have often wondered what is is you're doing here, I suggest to read this book as it is the perfect way of gaining more knowledge of your situation and learning to love the life that you're living.
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