Thursday, 20 February 2014

Rachel's Tears: A book review 13 years in the making.

About thirteenish years ago I read a book named Rachel's Tears. It changed my life.


Rachel Joy Scott was a Christian teenager and a student at Columbine High School, where she was fatally wounded during a massacre. Released a year after her death, the book tells the tale of a teenager who was martyred for her faith. The book suggests that Rachel predicted her own death, as she knew she would die at a young age, and also appeared to have further insights into the tragedy, including drawing a picture of a Columbine rose with 13 tear drops coming, as if honouring the victims,

The greatest impact this book had on me was the way Rachel lived her life. Although her parents (Beth and Darrell) and quick to remind us that she was not a saint, and she would laugh at the notion, Rachel seemed to make many good choices about her life. She used her school work to share her faith, was inclusive of all groups at Columbine and made positive choices like not drinking, giving up smoking and not pursuing a relationship because she was concerned abut purity. Rachel had an incredibly busy life, working at Subway, studying at school, Drama Club and being heavily involved in church and her youth group Breakaway.

Rachel, like many young people her age, wrote in her journals, scribed many letters to friends and drew pictures about her faith. She wrote notes to encourage those struggling in their Christian walk. Some of her writing seems almost prophetic, however it isn't a lot disimilar to writings of teenagers. Obviously, on reflection of her death, many of these scrawled notes seemed to mean a great deal to a lot of people. As a teenager I was highly impressed, however I was much more interested in how Rachel 'walked her talk'. If anything I wanted to be more like Rachel rather than Jesus - not a great thing, but in many ways she was someone I could identify with. This book contains a lot about works and faith in action, but I'm not entirely sure it points to the Lifemaker as much as it could.

When I was in Year 10 I reread parts of this book every day as a lazy girl's devotion. It moved me and inspired my faith in a brand new way. For a long time I had been doing it on my own, but now I had a new friend -or at least Rachel's journal's to help sustain me. Of course, this was not enough as a long term solution, and as I have grown somewhat wiser, I have since discovered that things about the novel didn't sit well with me on a spiritual level. All the same, it is well worth the read.