99 Reasons to Forgive
By: Geoff Thompson / O-Books / $21.95
Overview: Geoff Thompson was sexually abused at the tender age of 11 by a trusted and beloved teacher. By the time he was 30 years old he was unconsciously displacing his rage into violence, sexual self-harm and long bouts of debilitating depression.
After failing to find a solution to his burgeoning mania in all the conventional places, he set off on a Campbellian quest to find the answers for himself: about abuse, about the aftermath of abuse, about the true meaning of forgiveness, its metaphysical power, and how it is possible to heal, no matter how deep or how old the wound.
Verdict: Here within the engrossing, impassioned, yet veined with sadness and regret prose, the author of 99 Reasons to Forgive: And Revenge Ainít One, assures us that there is treasure in the ruins, there can be profit in sorrow and in suffering, and, with a few tried and tested, honest techniques and a heavy supply of courage, victims can reclaim their lives, they can win love and they can find healing and inspiration, post-abuse.
In this deeply empirical study, Thompson reveals the true definition and the awesome power of forgiveness, clearly defining the difference between forgiving someone and letting them off. He demonstrates the power and freedom of giving it over; the revealed health benefits of releasing anger, dissonance and resentment; the hidden power of reciprocity; avoiding the hate trap; the healing power of love and compassion; the liberating practice of personal repentance; and discovering the world to come - the exhilarating expansion we experience when ignorance is dissolved with qualified knowledge.
I told my story very late, Thompson laments, and suffered needlessly as a consequence; Iím hoping that 99 Reasons to Forgive will encourage others to share their story sooner, be inspired by my living example of powerful healing, and embrace their walking wounds as beauty scars, the rich tapestry of personal survival.
A book where, and from the off, author Geoff Thompson freely admits he knows your pain, moreover feels your pain, and in thanking the reader for having picked up his book, for having given over their hard earned monies, goes on to suggest that as they read further, that forgiveness might well just be the remedy to what ails them.
Furthermore, he proposes that forgiveness is a panacea, not only for the problems that currently entangles us, but it might also be the key to unlock many more of our pressing miseries.
Asking why we should listen to him, the author, in the first place, he responds because he suffers also, and because he cares enough to bleed his suffering into the ink on these very same pages.
For like everyone on this planet, he too has had his moments, his days, his weeks, his months, sometimes years of insufferable, lonely, lonely torment and thus, as he himself admits, I know what it is to suffer.
In closing, and having spent a career trying to unlock the mysteries of forgiveness, attempting to excavate and unpick how people make peace with their demons and find compassion for those who have hurt them, as noted by Marina Cantacuzino (founder of The Forgiveness Project), Thompsonís book also goes to great pains not to present forgiveness as an imperative, thus stressing the greyness of this most oblique of subjects.
For within the nuance, the complexity and uncertainty, he hopes people might find some clarity of their own within these pages.
About the Author - Geoff Thompson is a BAFTA winning screenwriter, and has written over forty books. His work in the self-help genre has been published in 21 languages: he has appeared on the Sunday Times Best Sellers List several times. His bestselling first book, Watch My Back was adapted into BIFA Nominated motion picture, Clubbed. He has written articles for national magazines and broadsheets, including The Times, Menís Fitness, GQ and FHM. Geoff lives in Stratford upon Avon, UK.
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