Book Summary: The Way I Used To Be
“The Way I Used To Be” is a young adult novel written by Amber Smith. The book follows the journey of Eden McCrorey, a high school freshman, as she navigates through the aftermath of a traumatic event that changes her life forever. Through the course of four years, readers witness the profound impact of the event on Eden’s relationships, mental health, and overall sense of self.
The story begins with Eden being sexually assaulted by her brother’s best friend, Kevin, during a sleepover. Terrified and confused, Eden decides to keep the incident a secret, fearing the consequences and the strain it could put on her relationships. As the years pass, Eden’s pain and trauma haunt her, transforming her into a guarded and emotionally distant individual.
As Eden struggles to come to terms with the assault, her relationships with her parents, friends, and love interests become strained. She isolates herself from her loved ones, unable to confide in them about the trauma she experienced. The burden of her secret weighs heavily on her, causing her to engage in self-destructive behaviors such as promiscuity, substance abuse, and self-harm.
Throughout the novel, Amber Smith skillfully portrays the long-lasting effects of trauma on an individual’s mental and emotional well-being. Eden’s story serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of seeking help and support in the face of trauma. As the years go by, Eden’s pain intensifies, and she finds herself on a dangerous path, increasingly detached from the person she used to be.
However, a glimmer of hope shines through when Eden befriends Josh, a new student at her school. Through their friendship, Eden begins to confront her past and slowly starts to heal. With Josh’s support, she finds the strength to share her story, ultimately leading to a process of self-discovery and empowerment.
1. The Way I Used To Be tackles the sensitive and often silenced topic of sexual assault, shedding light on the lasting impact it can have on an individual’s life.
2. The novel is divided into four parts, each representing a year of Eden’s high school experience and showing the progressive deterioration of her mental health.
3. Amber Smith’s writing style is raw and emotive, allowing readers to deeply connect with Eden’s journey and the emotions she experiences along the way.
4. “The Way I Used To Be” has received critical acclaim for its honest portrayal of trauma and its effect on an individual’s identity and relationships.
5. The book serves as a powerful tool for raising awareness about sexual assault and its aftermath, encouraging conversations about consent, trauma, and healing.
1. Is “The Way I Used To Be” suitable for a younger audience?
“The Way I Used To Be” is a young adult novel and contains mature themes such as sexual assault, self-harm, and substance abuse. Parents and educators should assess whether the content is appropriate for younger readers.
2. Does the book provide trigger warnings for sensitive topics?
Yes, the book includes a trigger warning at the beginning, acknowledging its content and potential impact on readers who may have experienced similar traumas.
3. Is there a message of hope and healing in the book?
Yes, the book emphasizes the importance of seeking help, support, and healing. It portrays the transformative power of sharing one’s story and finding support from loved ones.
4. Does the book address the legal consequences of sexual assault?
While the book focuses on the emotional aftermath of sexual assault, it does not delve into legal proceedings.
5. Is the book based on a true story?
“The Way I Used To Be” is a work of fiction, but it draws inspiration from real-life experiences and stories of individuals who have faced similar challenges.
6. Does the book provide resources for readers who may need help?
Yes, the author includes a list of resources at the end of the book, including helplines and organizations that provide support for survivors of sexual assault.
7. Can this book be used as an educational tool for discussions on consent and sexual assault?
Absolutely! “The Way I Used To Be” is an excellent resource for initiating conversations about consent, sexual assault, and the emotional impact of trauma.
8. Are there any explicit scenes of sexual assault in the book?
The book does not graphically depict the assault itself but focuses on its aftermath and the impact it has on the protagonist’s life.
9. How does the book handle mental health issues?
The book explores the protagonist’s deteriorating mental health as she struggles to cope with the trauma. It provides a realistic portrayal of the challenges faced by individuals dealing with trauma-related mental health issues.
10. Is there a strong emphasis on the importance of seeking professional help?
Yes, the book emphasizes the importance of seeking professional help and showcases the positive impact it can have on an individual’s healing journey.
11. Are there any other books similar to “The Way I Used To Be”?
Some books that address similar themes include “Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson, “All the Rage” by Courtney Summers, and “Exit, Pursued by a Bear” by E.K. Johnston.
12. How does the book handle the topic of consent?
The book explores the concept of consent and the importance of understanding boundaries and communication in relationships.
13. Does the book offer any guidance on how to support survivors of sexual assault?
While the book does not provide specific guidance, it can serve as a starting point for discussions on supporting survivors and creating a safe environment for disclosure.