On June 10, 2007, Carmen Blandin Tarleton's estranged husband broke into her rural Vermont home, beat her with a baseball bat, and doused her with industrial-strength lye. Doctors called it "THE MOST HORRIFIC INJURY A HUMAN BEING COULD SUFFER."Tarleton spent the next three and a half months in a medically induced coma, and when she awoke, it was to an unimaginable reality: she was blind and permanently disfigured, with burns covering more than eighty percent of her body. Her recovery would include months of painful rehab, dozens of surgeries, and total dependence on family, friends, and strangers for physical and financial care.
With so much taken away, no one could have anticipated what Tarleton would gain from her experience: an awakening. A purpose. Joy. By sharing her struggles and ultimate victory over catastrophic loss, Tarleton proves that life is a choice-and, in the process, offers a rare glimpse into the best and worst corners of the human heart.
There are no words that can articulate the depth of human suffering that Carmen Blandin Tarleton experienced but through her strength, determination and will to live, her story represents the epitome of survivor. Her story is one that is a must read for every woman who ever has ever had doubt, ignored the little red flags or just hoped that a relationship would evolve into what it was meant to be. Her story is one that needs to be told through her journey of love, loss, pain and redemption, she gives a voice to so many women whose courage has been weakened and their voice silenced.
She is a mother, sister, daughter and was a nurse. Her story is one that many women will find strength and inspiration from. She could be anyone that you know. After divorcing her husband, she took a leap of faith and traveled across country to start a new life. Unlike many who get divorced, she had hoped one day that she would fall in love and have a serious relationship. She met a man whom she fell in love with and thought things would be wonderful. Even though there were little things along the way, she was determined that time would evolved their relationship into what it was meant to be. After deciding that it would be a good decision to move back home, they left their life and came back but things were never the same. After deciding it was time to dissolve their relationship, with time exposing secrets that were never known, she knew for her daughters and her life it was the best decision. One tragic night changed everything, and her life was never the same.
What happened to her, no human should ever experience. This book will make you angry, sad, frustrated, inspired and amazed at how she went from victim to using her experience to inspire so many. Given her circumstances, to be able to tell her story is a testament that she was meant to be here. There are so many women who ignore the little signs or think things will get better but when you see a situation like this, you really feel for anyone that never had the courage to walk away because they could be her. Even though her situation wasn't one that had a history of abuse, for those who did, her story might empower you to have the courage to walk away. There are two things she says in the book that sum up everything that makes her such an amazing woman. She said, “I had already experienced the worst thing that could happen to me and I lived, what did I have left to fear” and “He was going to pay his debt whereas I was not going to stay imprisoned by what he did to me.” Anyone who has the power to forgive after what happened to her, is truly an inspiration.
Her story is definitely a must read. I can say how great it is but this is one of those books that you need to read and experience for yourself. Her book isn’t just about what happened to her but the inspiration drawn from the lessons we all could take from the person she became through such a tragedy. Her story will give you hope, inspiration and gratitude for all that you have. For all that has been taken away from her, she has taught me gratitude for everything that I easily take for granted.
Reviewed by Michelle Bowles
Publisher: Writers of the Round Table Press
Publication date: 3/1/2013