Pursuit of Light: An Extraordinary Journey
by Sandy Brewer. $24.95 hardcover, ISBN 978-0-9796554-4-9, published by PeachTreeHouse, Inc, P.O. Box 1008, Carlsbad, CA 92008. (760) 230-8123.
www.pursuitoflight.com Is your life what has happened to you, or is it what you choose to make of it? Do you have a choice to alter what you are, simply by viewing your life, as the poet A. R. Ammons has put it, “by the light of a different necessity”?Light: As the title suggests, this is the master trope of Sandy Brewer’s harrowing but also inspiring memoir, Pursuit of Light: An Extraordinary Journey. The abuse Brewer endured as a child was so horrific a reader may be forgiven for wondering why she didn’t go insane or commit suicide. Remarkably, Brewer not only overcame the handicaps of her own past but has also gone on to become an extremely effective therapist and inspirational speaker. Now, she has published a gripping and cathartic memoir that shares the profound lessons of her personal story.Pursuit of Light
has a double focus: It narrates the tragic story of Brewer’s childhood and also expounds the mature philosophical and spiritual perspective she has developed, which has allowed her to get beyond seeing herself as a victim. A reader quickly discovers the enormous gulf between what happened to her and what she has chosen to make of her life. The flashbacks into the nightmare world of her youth, in which mental, physical, and sexual abuse were the norm, are italicized and narrated in present tense, setting them off from the rest of the text and helping to lend them a startling immediacy no reader will soon forget.The details of these horrific vignettes, however, are not the point of the book; they merely provide the necessary context for comprehending what is the point—that even those who have suffered the most traumatic forms of abuse can choose to take control of their destinies instead of allowing themselves to be tyrannized by the invisible bonds of self-pity and passive acceptance of an identity defined by victimization. The conclusion made me think of the conclusion of Walden, which is also about renewal and living in the moment. Ultimately, Pursuit of Light is about freedom and choice.As Brewer writes, “Choice impacts every area of our lives. Being a victim is a choice. Living life in the constant melodrama of a tedious soap opera…is a choice. Happiness is a choice.”Sandy Brewer developed seminal techniques that allowed her to conquer the crippling legacy of her past. Enlightened and empowered by her journey of self-discovery, she is now committed to helping others make the same transition out of the darkness and into the light. This empowering narrative is a centerpiece of that work. Pursuit of Light provides an inspiring roadmap for how to follow the path Sandy Brewer has herself followed per aspera ad astra—“through suffering to the stars.”
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