"As I look at things now, I see that I have the power to undo all that has been done to me. It's extremely empowering to know that this strange being called 'me' has been formed from all that has passed... good and bad."

Memoirs and autobiographies may follow one person's life, taking the reader along on a timeline of particular ups and downs in life, woes, and triumphs. However, like this one, some of them seem to serve as more than just a personal chronicle. Even though these memoirs may be specific to one person's story, the best of them have universal threads that make them relevant even to someone living a different life with different problems. And if not that, at the least, they provide exposure, encouraging readers to put themselves in the writer's shoes. The author's memoir hits all of these benchmarks, embracing a life full of endless struggles and, in doing so, defining the human experience as a life filled with hope, love, and loss.

The writer begins her life story from the very beginning: the day she was born. The original plan was to give her up for adoption, as her mother was only nineteen with a full future ahead of her. But when this young mother held her newborn in her arms, she fell in love with her daughter. As beautiful as this moment is, the author does not shy away from revealing her mother's faults, nor what that decision leads to down the road, especially when her mom gets involved with people who cause her harm. In fact, throughout the entirety of the author's recollection of events and ruminations, she is brutally honest with every little detail, which plays a major role in how emotionally invested readers will be with this book. Her writing style, which has an inviting and friendly voice despite how dark parts of her life get, also makes it difficult to not be drawn into her life story. As a result, it's hard not to go through a rollercoaster of emotions with all that she goes through, whether it be the loss of loved ones, making bad choices, the moments of joy at different parts in her life, or a number of the many tragedies she lives through.

No matter how dark her life gets, such as when her mother marries her stepfather during her childhood or when she falls in with the wrong crowd (becoming addicted to drugs), she manages to find a way out eventually by seeking out inner peace, turning towards meditation later in life, and reading all that she can find on the purpose of life in religious texts and more. Overall, it is inspiring to watch the author's growth throughout it all and see how her determination, self-love, and desire for a better life pull her through. Anyone who finds themselves struggling will witness through the author's life that there is always hope and that they do not need to be swallowed up by the past. In short, this memoir lives up to its namesake, being able to see the greater picture even when up close and knowing that all that happens, good and bad (but especially the latter), helps shape a person by making them stronger. No matter what life throws at someone, no matter how stuck in a ditch they might feel, there is still hope, and a life that is lived to the fullest is still possible. As the saying goes, there are no rainbows without the rain.

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