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    Genuinely Inspiring

    The title of author V. M. Franck’s book, Trying Not to Drown, couldn’t possibly be more appropriate. In this book, readers are given a close and personal glimpse into the real-life tragedy of mental illness, murder, and the devastation that it released on three families: the families of those murdered and the family of the murderer. Based on a true life story, readers follow the book’s main character, Violet Andre, through the tragic events that propelled her life, the lives of her family, and the lives of those murdered into a world of grief, despair, sorrow, and forgiveness. Lost in a labyrinth of emotions while searching to do the right things, the main character struggles to hold her life and the lives of her loved ones together after her own brother’s mental insanity blew a hole through them. Franck’s gift for writing gives readers a glimpse into the thoughts, feelings, and emotions surrounding herself and her family. Her ability to show their struggle to survive and not drown in the grief, the legal system that entangled them, the stigma that followed them, and the shame that gripped them is truly vivid and compelling. The writing style is so smooth and fluid, and the characters each possess unique, well-rounded traits that make them interesting to follow all on their own. There were one or two portions that were a bit slow, but that was easily overwhelmed by the poignant narrative and doesn’t subtract from the fact that I’d give it a full five stars for its impactful tone. Reading this book will encourage others to keep on treading and learn to build new dreams. The author’s account of her 36-year-long struggle shows readers her own personal growth, understanding, and resolution to live in spite of those forces which might otherwise have drowned her.

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