A personal reflection on a life of emotional challenges and the lessons drawn from them.
Debut author Hepburn grew up in the Bahamas and experienced no shortage of adversity from the very beginning of her life. Her father was convicted of second-degree murder and imprisoned for it, and her mother suffered from an intellectual disability. As a result, she was largely raised by her grandparents, and she weathered both emotional and physical abuse under their custodianship. To make already difficult matters worse, Hepburn was sexually abused starting at the age of 8 a harrowing experience that robbed her of her youthful innocence. By the time she became a teenager, she was addled with chronic depression and attempted suicide. The author languished through several failed romantic trials and finally found herself in the midst of a breakdown before she sought professional mental help. That counsel, and the practice of meditation, helped Hepburn clamber out of a hole of emotional enervation and find peace and renewal. “However, if we choose to live, the longer we do, we find that life is not an enemy out to get us. It has its seasons, and each provides us with something that can be used to take us to the next.” The memoir is structured around a series of stand-alone anecdotes, each with its own edifying lesson; there are 14 stories and lessons in total. Also, each lesson is discovered with the help of a friend—the author believes that personal revelations are generally midwifed by those we trust, and so the entire book is a kind of homage to her friends. The lessons themselves tread familiar ground for anyone who has ever read a self-help book or has a wise grandmother: trust your intuition, avoid self-victimization, love people for who they are, and trust that your circumstances aren’t as bad as you think are a representative sampling of what Hepburn offers. The power of the book is really the personal context within which those lessons are delivered and the author’s grace in the face of tribulation.
Both humble and wise, a poignant reflection on a life of perseverance.