The Way I Used To Be by Amber Smith

So, I guess I have been reading a lot of books involving rape lately. They cut so deeply into my heart and I always find emotional strain with the damage left on the victims even if they end up with justice against their abuser. The Way I Used To Be was no exception and it is a wonderful book.

Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.

What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.

Told in four parts—freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year.


Something unique about The Way I Used to Be is that it follows her all four years of high school. This magnified everything for me because reality is people go their whole life dealing with being sexually abused and many books focus on a short time frame. (of course four years isn’t a crazy long time either, I know) She felt empty increasingly so as each year went on. And a reason I cry so easily at these books is when I read what empty does to people. So many people become a shell for different reasons. When you no longer feel, you need something to happen and that’s why some people choose to physically harm themselves or others along with a long list of other alternatives. I use a lot of ‘some people’ because I am not going to say everyone turns to these things or that turning to frowned upon alternatives is inherently bad. Eden decided to use smoking, alcohol, and sex with people who don’t matter. And of course some of that was just normal teenage behavior. I hate how much rape is not just a body game but mentally suffocating. This was a very impactful book. If this is a healthy topic for you to read, I suggest going out and getting The Way I Used To Be.



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