Grace A. Johnson
Review: To Save a Life by R. M. Peterson
Y’all, oh y’all, oh y’all. This was one of those. One of those books that is more than words. One of those books that weaves a story so real and bittersweet that suddenly typos don’t even catch your eye. One of those books that leaves you staring at the ceiling for the rest of the night. One of those books that simply rips your heart to shreds.
Ryana warned me going into the book with an author’s note in the front...this is not a book for enjoyment or entertainment. This is a call to action.
She was right. (Well, of course she was. She wrote it, after all. She would know.)
But before I get into the powerful message of To Save a Life, I want to talk a little bit about the book as a “book.”
I read an unedited review copy, so there were a few typos and errors in the copy I read...that said, I was surprised by how few there actually were, so there’s no doubt that the finished product is very high quality. Peterson’s prose itself was very strong and clear; there wasn’t much unique or outstanding about it, which would typically be a disappointment in most reads. However, I think the simplistic of her writing style enabled me to better focus on the story and message rather than fawning over poetic strings of words, you know?
The plot was nuanced, well-developed, and smoothly paced, which I appreciated, showcasing several different perspectives and storylines without cluttering the story. The fact that she didn’t come at abortion from one solid point of view, but instead showed many different sides, cases, and arguments gave the story a full, well-rounded quality that really made her message that much stronger.
Speaking of the message, everything was done and told with love in this book. Unlike what most people assume when they think of pro-lifers or Christians, Peterson delicately, knowledgeably, and tenderly depicted certain scenarios in which women seek abortion, not in a way that dismissed or disrespected them, but in a way that was full of love and truth. Was I surprised? Not at all, because this is how true Christians behave, despite what the media and Hollywood would have you think.
On that topic, Peterson’s characters were all so beautiful! I adored Roman and Stephani, who were so sweet and loving! Their characters and backstories were well-developed and strong, even though I personally think that Roman acted way older than twenty-two. I had him pegged at thirty or so.
As for Amber and Chad, I think they were a perfect example of parents seeking abortion. We often think of people so misguided as cruel, extremely leftist, or even ignorant. While that may be true in some cases, the typical abortionist is actually as kind and considerate as the next person and may even come from a more conservative household. Not all of them are prostitutes and feminists. In fact, some are married women who just don’t want another child. (Trust me, I’ve read my fair share of true stories…)
Hence why Amber and Chad, your average joes leading average lives, really embody that struggle so well. Then Joanna, on the other end of the spectrum, you could say, adds another layer of depth to the message Peterson portrays, showing that not everyone seeking abortion comes from the same walk of life...and that not everyone who chooses life will choose it again or be sold out for life in general.
Which is another theme I think Peterson weaved into this story—regardless of what happens, we as Christians and pro-lifers should do whatever we can to encourage and care for those who seek abortions. Even if they don’t choose life right then and there, we’ve planted a seed in their hearts that won’t easily be removed.
And, of course, there was Cammie. (Y’all, I couldn’t help but think of my aunt Cami, who used to be a Carter, whenever I read her name. Let it be noted that my aunt Cami is nothing like Cammie Carter Tate.)
Instead of creating a heartless witch with no motivation but to destroy the world...Peterson gave us Cammie. In all her brokenness, tenderness, and misguided desire to help women, Cammie was both the villain and the victim, and her story is one I can’t wait to read! Admittedly, I struggled a lot in the first few chapters with Cammie’s views and the lies she believed, because it hurt my heart so much knowing that so many other people see things the exact same way...but after a while I toughened up. You have to be tough to read this novel; it is not for the faint of heart, my dears.
All in all, To Save a Life is an exemplary novel. R. M. Peterson gave us the most powerful pro-life fiction story I’ve ever heard of, let alone read. I couldn’t have said it better myself, to be honest. This is a novel that all Christians need to read, one that all pro-life supporters need to read, one that all those on-the-fencers need to read, and one that all pro-choice individuals need to read, if only for a glimpse into how we see things.
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About the Author
Everyone has a Heritage. Something that makes them who they are. Your family history determines a lot of that for you. Mine is simple: I am a Christian. I am an American. I am from the South. And I am an Author. I will leave that legacy behind one day.
Here at Life of Heritage, my goal is to share my Heritage with others. To make an eternal difference in future generations with compassion. I hope that as you look through my blog posts, my books and my pictures, that you may be inspired to share your heritage with others! But most importantly, I hope that everything I do here will bring Glory and Honor to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
You can connect with R. M. Peterson at her website LifeofHeritage.com!
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