The Way Back from Broken – Amber J. Keyser

Keyser, Amber J. The Way Back from Broken. Minneapolis, carolrhodaLAB, 201

Rakmen is a 17 year old guy with serious depression and grief issues. In fact, his whole family has grieving issues. His baby sister, whom both he and his parents adored, died in his arms while he was babysitting her. She had heart problems, but nobody, including the doctors, discovered them before it was too late. Rakmen blames himself for her death, he believes his parents blame him as well, and the whole family is in dysfunctional mode as they try to cope with their loss. Rakmen’s mother drags him to group therapy sessions, where he runs into his biology teacher, who has also lost a child of her own. He finds himself hating the therapy, hating his life and hating his parents. Through a strange turn of events, he ends up travelling north to a wilderness cabin with his biology teacher and her daughter. It is there, during a two-week canoe trip into the bush, that Rakmen finds peace within himself and the means to cope with his overwhelming grief.

This book was so easy to read and very well-written! The visual descriptions of the wilderness are vivid and give the reader a mental vision of Rakmen’s experiences as he travels. People who are into Outers or love the bush will ‘get’ this story – it really captures the essence of how nature can heal a wounded heart and give you a fresh perspective on life.