This book is so well written, the auther, Melody Carlson, has such a talent. I've read her other books but this is my favorite. It's about how she needs to make choices between life and death. I totally reccomend it!!!
Pitch Black tells the story of Morgan and her friends, who are dealing with the recent suicide of a close friend and member of their youth group. As the teens discuss the problem, they begin a spiral of deepening sorrow, and while some are able to rely on their faith, for some it feels less than helpful. As the days go by, the hopelessness of those who are relying on themselves begins to overwhelm them, and they begin to seriously consider drastic measures to fix their problems. The question becomes will they stay in the pitch black abyss or turn to the One who is a true friend.
I'm pretty far from being a teenager. I do have a teenage daughter, and as an avid reader, I insist on reading any materials she brings home, especially if they are unfamiliar to me. Having read the Hunger Games series, I find that it's not always a waste of time, and while I don't censor my daughter's reading material, I do know what she's reading, and I can talk to her about the topics. I say all of this to say - I feel as though I have recently become an expert in the teenage fiction arena, and so when I tell you that Pitch Black is an artful fit with a great message in a genre that is full of nihilistic and self-involved titles, I say it truthfully and armed with some experience.
In my life, I have had days when it seemed ridiculous to go on - every human being has. I'm grateful for a God who loves me enough to forgive me when I can't forgive myself, to love me when I don't love myself, and to turn desperate sorrow to infinite hope in the midst of any circumstance. Melody Carlson has the voice to explain that to teenagers and adults alike. That is a gift I'm glad she shares, for my own sake and my daughter's.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255
Morgan's life has always seemed tough but in one week it seems to spin utterly out of control and a black cloud of thickening despair settles over her. With her parents divorce everything seemed to spiral into a darkening abyss. Her older brother became involved in the drug scene so much that she installed a dead-bolt on her door. Then to make matters worse her 40 something mom starts to dress like a teen and dates a younger man.
With the announcement of their marriage Morgan could not imagine that her life could get much more chaotic. In fact by now she had formed a firm opinion that being in youth group and knowing God never helped her. The more her life shatters around her the more that opinion solidifies itself in her heart.
However, little did Morgan know that morning she woke up for school that this would be the pivotal week of her life. That in this week Morgan would discover some soul-shattering truths about herself, God and life in general.
When her best friend commits suicide Morgan must decide if life is bearable, if God is worth counting on. While learning more about herself and exploring the depths of the darkness of Satan's pull and evils despair she also learns more about the one true God. Searching for answers everywhere she trudges through the weekend, discovering bit by bit the reasons that her friend committed suicide. And as if things were not already overwhelming Morgan feels absolutely suffocated by a sense of guilt for not being able to prevent the tragedy.
This novel is true to life and a little gritty. However, each of us needs to be totally honest with ourselves - as teens we all felt over whelmed at times. And if we were to be absolutely honest with ourselves (even if we never admit it out loud) some of us have questioned just like Morgan early in faith if knowing God has really helped to bring a since of order in our lives (after all there is a certain security in the midst of storms that is only developed through the storms and as we mature spiritually).
In today's increasingly evil and oppressive society teens are faced with a myriad of issues. Sometimes as parents we don't like to admit that they too may face the issue of suicide. Either through a friend or as a personal contemplation - the question to be answered: Is it worth it? In this book Melody Carlson explores just this - with a fresh look at scripture. I appreciate the true to life aspects of this book and am sure that it will guide more and more teens out of the bondage's of suicidal thought into the realm of victorious living through Jesus Christ.
Though it explores the darkest depths of despair it also illuminates the greatest heights of faith. Teaching a great lesson that suicide is never God's plan - and that if resorted to you will never see the light dispel the darkness, you will never see the Son break through the clouds of your despair, you will never see God work something beautiful out of the tattered and torn life you currently live. And most of all you will never experience the amazing power of God when he takes something shattered and redeems it to something more extraordinary.
Melody Carlson is a much loved young-adult fiction author and on this evidence, it is easy to see why. Writing a book about teen suicide sounds like a difficult task as the theme can be dark, finding the right words can be challenging and confronting the reality and fallout can seem almost taboo.
The central character, Morgan is a quite wonderful and partly vulnerable character whose life is surrounded by equally flawed but very human and recognisable fragile friends and family, including a well portrayed drug addict brother and a Ã¢â¬Ëcradle-robbing mother'. But the book's opening chill comes when her best friend Jason, an intelligent, humorous and perfect youth with everything to live for takes his own life.
Like nearly all suicides, it is a shock to his community and the individuals within. What seems a greater shock to our narrator Morgan is that while Jason was a patient listener and insightful sounding board to others, she was not there to listen when he needed her most. The tone of this book is set perfectly between the roller-coaster of denial that this could ever happen to the jolt of acceptance that it has. What is striking perhaps is that the reader almost physically identifies with the characters portrayed - you might find yourself physically reacting at parts of the story as Morgan goes through her cycle of emotions.
This is a story told honestly and with hope. It is a convincing narrative with the dialogue, action and references found in teen novels. What marks it as different is a wonderful grasp of what teenagers say and what goes unspoken in informal understandings. For the reader, this novel might seem like a difficult journey but also a real confrontation with the reality of a life beyond this and of the claims of the one Friend that will never leave us or forsake us.