Reviewed by Jen B.
TITLE: The Race
SERIES: The Race to Self Identity #1
AUTHOR: Stephen Land with K.C. Wells
LENGTH: 132 pages
RELEASE DATE: December 7, 2016
The Race is a story of one man’s triumph over sexual abuse and bullying, striving to find his own sexual identity. Growing up in an ultra conservative, religious family, Stephen aimed to pray the gay away before anyone could find out his secret. Stephen’s life became a constant battle, up to the point where he couldn’t hold on any longer. A failed suicide attempt finally put life into perspective, and Stephen came out, not just as a gay man but as a survivor of sexual abuse.
A week in the hospital with too much time to think, resulted in flashbacks that plunged him back into his nightmarish childhood and adolescence. What began as Stephen’s attempt to exorcise his demons, ended up being a story of hope for others who have also suffered sexual abuse.
His message? No matter how much you stumble coming off the starting blocks, you can still win the race.
This was an extremely powerful and moving story. Knowing you can never fully understand how it feels to have gone through so much and be such a strong person at the other end, Mr. Land does a beautiful job at expressing and giving the reader an idea, in as much as I believe he possibly could. To say that someone should never have to experience the kinds of things Mr. Land describes, let alone as a child, is an utter and complete understatement. This is a very difficult story to read in so many ways. Knowing how many people have failed this young man over the years is completely heartbreaking. But, at the same time, it is filled with an incredible amount of survival and hope. It is a shining example of overcoming major obstacles time and again and really shows others that things can get better.
This is told in a somewhat unique manner between current time, while Mr. Land is dealt yet another blow, and the past where he tells the story of his childhood, or lack thereof, as it was clearly ripped away. I went through many emotions as I read this story, from heartache and despair to horror to hope and happiness, not just from the actual words, which were bad enough, but in the way in which they are laid out. I was riveted from beginning to the very end and felt some of Mr. Land’s emotions as he told the different parts of this story, right down to the various cathartic letters at the end.
Mr. Land said he felt the need to tell his story to help others who may have been through similar ordeals or who may feel there is no hope. It was a very brave and powerful thing to do, and I really hope others will find some peace and help through his words. This story definitely shows that there is a potential light at the end of the tunnel, to not be afraid to seek help, and to never give up. I’m really looking forward to seeing what direction this story will take and how it progresses in the next installment.