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Reviewed by Katherine Williams for Readers' Favorite
Some Things You Keep is a poignant yet inspirational memoir about the life of the author, JJ Landis. When JJ was around twelve years old, her mother committed suicide and her life soon changed forever. The night her mother died, she immediately had to move in with her father, stepmother and stepsister, which made her feel guilty. She understood herself to be an outsider, a person forced to move in with a new family that she didn’t feel a part of. Guilt and even deeper feelings of sadness end up haunting her through most of her life. In each chapter, her age advances, and her years as a teenager and young adult are filled with unhealthy coping mechanisms of dealing with pain. These coping mechanisms include constant partying, drinking, drugs, and sex. While doing these things, JJ believes that she will always feel empty inside. But her belief slowly changes as an adult when she finds Christianity, accepts Jesus’ love for her, and comes to terms with her depression. This story is a story of struggle, but it is also an amazing testimony of faith and courage.
When I finished Some Things You Keep, I was speechless. All I could think was, “Wow, why is this book not a best seller?” Sometimes when reading a memoir, it is easy to get the sense that the author is not being genuine about their story. But JJ Landis’ writing style is raw, compelling, genuine, and honest all at the same time. Through her writing you discover that she is a compassionate, bright and wonderful woman. The way she tells it all and bares her soul in the written word is amazing and inspiring. It is written in a bit of a slower pace in order to highlight the intensity of her emotions, which I thought was done beautifully. She also manages to include an incredible amount of detail which made the book feel so real to me.
Reading of her struggles was not easy, but being able to discover her major victory made this book so memorable. Despite her hardships, she has such an amazing and radiant view of life that embraces growth. She states that “growth comes from letting go of past and pain and stepping forward each day. And with growth, the wisdom to know what to hold close and what to keep. And what to let go.” No matter what stage of life you are currently in or what you are doing at this moment, I suggest that you read this book right away. It will definitely make you cry and feel sad, but in the end it will make you contemplate life and inspire you to become a better person.