Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (10/15)
“Thanks for the Pain: One Rape Victim’s Wrath” by Josh Gates tells the story of Scarlett, whose life was severely affected by the abandonment and death of her mother, the betrayal of her father to her mother, and a rape by a stranger. Scarlett’s mother had left her five years before she passed away. After her death, Scarlett finds herself struggling to understand why she appeared to have simply abandoned her. Scarlett’s father has many secrets of his own. After her mother passes away, he shares a family scrapbook with her. This book can’t be considered something to be treasured because it contains many painful stories written from experience by family members. Some of the stories are very straightforward, others are symbolic. As Scarlett reads, she gains an understanding of the pain that has been passed down through generations.
Scarlett also learns about her father’s own transgressions and she discovers that her mother didn’t leave because of something she did. As time goes on, Scarlett is given a box of letters that were written for her by her mother. She realizes that she hadn’t been completely abandoned, and that her father had held them back from her. Scarlett has to deal with the anger towards her father, for the letters and for what he did to betray her mother and make her leave. To add to the complication, Scarlett also is severely affected by a sexual assault that was forced upon her while she was at one of the darkest points in her life. The damage from this assault carries on into the future and helps destroy her relationship with her husband.
This family has gone through so much pain and loss. Many of the events were caused by poor decisions made by family members. Many of the seven deadly sins play a huge role in the poor decisions made by these people. Scarlett tries to overcome her own problems and use the knowledge gained from them to help others. She can only take this so far because she hasn’t fully healed herself. She also sees that there is a connection between what happened to her and somebody who becomes close to her. The desire for revenge soon outweighs the need for peace.
“Thanks for the Pain” by Josh Gates is definitely not a light read. The story involves a great deal of depth and as a reader, I found myself looking introspectively back at issues that my own family has faced and I realized that there are probably many of us out there who could write biographical books like this. While this book is listed as fiction, it felt very real to me. Readers who are ready to take a break from traditional fiction books will definitely see this book as unique and thought provoking.