Every life is a story! The 46 years of Deborah Adams Livingston tell a tragic but hopeful story that fills an entire book – Strand of Pearls – a book full of pain, full of sadness, but also and even more of hope, guidance and healing.
Deborah Livingston broke her mother’s pearl necklace when she was a toddler. As a punishment she was beaten up by her dad. It was the starting point of a regular abuse on every possible level until she was 16 and able to break out and leave home. End of story? No, Deborah Livingston’s life is definitely not a short story.
“Her freedom of that abuse took her to abuse at the hands of others and to a tragic accident that cost the life of a friend,” says the back cover of “Strand of Pearls”. The author leaves you believing that after each chapter the world seems to be at peace. But there is always a next chapter and things only get worse.
The broken pearl necklace becomes a metaphor and a stylistic device throughout the book. For Deborah Livingston, pearls symbolize life lessons and she collected quite a few along the way.
In her Introduction she explains: “It is my belief that the title of this book was not only predestined, but it also formed the foundation for my utmost challenges, growths, and transformations. As we are born, the slate is wiped clean, and we start as innocents once again. For me, that innocence ended quickly. While still in diapers, I was playing with a strand of pearls and accidently broke them. I couldn’t know then that the experience would come to represent my purpose in this life. Metaphorically, I was the broken strand. The pearls were – and continue to be – my lessons. My destiny was to repair the Strand of Pearls.”
The book starts out with a very vivid, detailed and emotional narration of the author’s mother’s life. For me, a good book is a good book when it makes me cry at the end of it, when I get moved to tears at the last page. I don’t have the words to describe a book that does that to me already in chapter two. That’s exactly what happened to me when reading “Strand of Pearls”. I worked my way through page 23, when a sudden flood of tears hit me. I had just arrived at the part of the book, where Deborah Livingston describes her mother’s experiences of her honeymoon night– a night, in which her mother realized she had made a horrible mistake by marrying this man, future father of Deborah Livingston.
“Today Mom has labeled herself an unfit mother for allowing those beatings to happen. When I was a child, I blamed her for not saving me. I’ve assured her that I no longer blame her. Forgiveness softens us and others. Now that I am an adult, I understand the position Mom was in. I don’t even blame my dad, because he was sick and didn’t know how to recover. I forgive him and have compassion for him,” Deborah Livingston writes.
“Strand of Pearls” is a book about forgiveness and about thankfulness for everything, even the bad things that happen to us – especially the bad things that happen to us! But I have to warn you: Reading this book is painful. You probably can relate to some of the incidences described in this book. Maybe you also had a troubled childhood, a wild teenage life, where you were reckless, careless and arrogant. Maybe you have felt guilty for something or maybe you even have been addicted to something. “Strand of Pearls” will take you on a trip down memory lane. This book should come with tissues! It rips up your old, hidden wounds – but only to get all the dirt out, so that the wounds can heal properly, only leaving scars, which you will be proud to show off.
Deborah Livingston gives us all hope. Her story is a fairy tale, only that it is true! She was the young Cinderella, who was abused and ill-treated – but now lives in her own little heaven on earth. However, contrary to famous fairy tales, it didn’t take a knight in shining amour to rescue her from her old, miserable life. No, she did it on her own and only she was able to build her little heaven on earth. With her story, Deborah Livingston heals the pain of her readers and gives them an example how to live a happy and fulfilling life without anger, regrets and sorrows.
This book is a gift to the world.