Friday, January 15, 2010

Book Review: A Shattered Life, An Amazing God by Madeline A. Spencer

About the book:

Divorce broke his heart, abuse crushed his spirit, and betrayal shattered his life.

Before he was five years old, Cody experienced physical, verbal and sexual abuse. He would witness his mother's sexual immorality and drug abuse, and then she would be removed from his life. Her choices would adversely affect his young life and would send him into a pattern of fear, hopelessness, rebellion, and rage that would take him into a world of darkness he could not escape. His behavior was easily interpreted as malicious and devious, but those were just symptoms of a wounded spirit, a crushed heart, and a lonely little boy who desperately longed to be loved, but was terrified to be loved.

God's love would be poured out on Cody in an attempt to reach behind the wall that had been built around his broken heart. Years of destructive tendencies, despair, and fear would be ever so slowly penetrated, and a young man would begin to appear. Come walk through a five-year attempt to change a heart and redeem a soul. Step into a spiritual battle for a life.

In a world that trivializes God, come experience His presence as He equips a family to put on the full armor of God and to step into life the way God meant it to be. Learn how to reach out in love and grace while proclaiming the truth of the Living God.

Madeline Spencer was born in Syracuse, New York. As a teacher she has seen that children have been discarded in a narcissistic world. Reaching out in love to the lost young people she encounters in her community has become her role. She presently resides in Rochester, MI with her husband, Alan, and her daughter, Kelley.

My thoughts:

I very rarely read non-fiction, but when I do, I tend to gravitate toward stories that look like they're going to be stranger than fiction. From the description, I thought this would be a great book to see how God can really work in people's lives, and things can end up better than expected. Oh, how I was so very disappointed.

The author and her family open their home to this very troubled, confused young boy, Cody, which is more than a lot of people would do, and they welcome him into their home after his grandparents have thrown him out of theirs. And believe me, it's quite evident why they tossed him out. He does not care about anyone but himself, and only cares about getting his way all the time. The time he spent with the author and her family was nothing but a string of second chances that never seemed to end.

I couldn't even finish this book because after 200+ pages, nothing different ever seemed to happen. It was always the same thing over and over again--Cody messes up, Cody apologizes, Cody wants to do this, but can't and then throws a temper tantrum, Cody gets in a homosexual relationship, etc. Now, I don't have any experience in dealing with individuals that have this many problems, but after a long enough time of seeing a continual pattern....well, common sense has to take over at some point. They never seek out any type of professional help, even after it's disclosed at some point that Cody has members in his family that have bipolar disorder.

There was one incident that, in my opinion, caused this woman to lose all credibility. She repeated several times how she felt led to be the Good Samaritan to Cody, even though he continued to use and take advantage of her and her family. That's great and all, but she's an adult and he's a child, so she needs to make sure that she's making the right decisions along the way if she's going to go down this road. Well, there was a part of the story where the author and her husband and daughter go on a trip, and they ask Cody to stay at their house and watch the cats for them (Cody did not live with them at the time). The family gets into an airport that's about an hour or so from their house, and they're next flight to their home town is delayed for more than 4 hours. So, they call Cody and ask them if he can make the one-hour drive to the airport to pick them up. The problem here is that just a little more than a month prior to this, Cody had his licensed suspended for six months. The author and her husband had already been through some court appearances with Cody, and dealt with the costs that went along with them which were not cheap. So, knowing that, WHY in the world would this woman ask this boy to get into HER vehicle and take a one hour trip to pick them up because they don't want to wait at the airport when he'll be driving there on a suspended license????? Oh. My. Gosh. Seriously?? If he had had an accident or gotten pulled over on the way there, get the picture. Thankfully, nothing happened and everyone made it home safe and sound, but still, that's not smart decision-making at all.

I finally skipped to the end to see if anything different ever happened, namely if Cody EVER got his life back on track, but it doesn't appear to have happened yet. The author gives a brief summary dated August 2009, which was nothing more than a recap of the whole 356 pages before it. My question is why did the author go through all the steps of writing a book and getting it published if there was no change in Cody's behavior by the end of the story? All I can gather is that she thinks this book will help to make some sort of difference in Cody's life. I would've preferred to read this if Cody had made some sort of life change, given his life to God, or something other than the same monotony that exists through the entire book. As a whole, it's more depressing and stressful than it is uplifting.

1 Star

**This book was provided to me from the author for review through my contact with Bostick Communications.


  1. Ouch! I guess that's why I read fiction. At least it usually ends well.

  2. Hello, This is Cody, I would like to say thanks for the comments and attitude. I would also like to say that i agree with the book when it comes to the end...I am currently on house arrest and have had alot of time to focus on my life. I also think the book is depressing and sad, very stressful!
    I assure you tho, that i am moving forward and there will be another bok of my outcome and success! Thanks you.

    Any comments, you can email me @

  3. Cody,

    Thank you for your comment on my post. I apologize if, in any way, I offended you with my review, but it was my honest opinion. I truly wish you the best as you get your life on track.


I love your comments!! They make me happier than cold sweet tea on a hot summer day! :o)