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Aug 6, 2021

Mary Jo Thayer insists she's not an author by nature, but her editors, author friends, and fans might beg to differ. Sandy Barela graciously stepped in as host of this episode discussing a book that tackles the difficult subject of rape for me. I appreciate both her willingness to jump in almost at the last minute and Mary Jo's graciousness in understanding my personal struggle with the topic.

This interview candidly discusses the issue of rape in the book, but as one who is highly sensitive to the topic, I edited it with no trouble, and I'm even planning to attempt to read the book after listening. Sometimes the hard things are necessary. I'm willing to take a chance if the book is as good as it sounds!

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One Author's Sensitive Look at a Difficult Subject Is Helping Readers

Rape. It's ugly, nasty, and one of the worst things any woman (or man!) can endure. It creates self-doubt, self-loathing, mistrust, and that's just the beginning. PTSD?  Oh, yeah. It's a thing. Why wouldn't it be when someone takes what God meant to be a beautiful expression of commitment and love and uses it as a weapon?  How could it not cause some form of lasting trauma?

This is what Mary Jo Thayer tackled in her book Close to the Soul. Set in the Vietnam War era when there was even less (if you can imagine it) support for women who have been traumatized in this way than there is today. 

Readers are raving about the sensitivity shown, the healing offered, and the triumph that comes when you see someone overcome what is by nature defeating. 

Sandy and Mary Jo Thayer talk about the hope that this book shares and offer more.

Sandy assured readers and listeners that if anyone is struggling with any kind of pain that they need counsel, comfort, or just a listening ear, that she, Mary Jo, and I are all here, ready to listen, ready to help, ready to walk whatever it is.. with you.  And she meant it.  She's right, you know. I heartily agree with those words. Don't walk your pain alone. If we aren't the people you need to receive support from, find those who are.

As Mary Jo's mother told her when she got married, "If you ever feel you're in trouble, get help. That's a sign of strength."

I just want to reiterate a few things here.

  1. This book is not graphic, although it does contain rape.
  2. People who are hurting need help. There are people everywhere ready to help you.  If you want to talk to any of us, you can find our emails here:  ChautonaSandy (left side of the page, there's a little envelope icon),  Mary Jo Thayer
  3. Fiction is one of the best ways for some of us to process and learn. If you've never understood the trauma of sexual assault, this book might just be the one to help you understand. Those who have endured the pain and grief that comes with it may find healing in "walking" that road with another soul. 

About Close to the Soul by Mary Jo Thayer

#1 Bestseller in New Releases: Religious Historical Fiction!
Through grit and grace, Carolyn Fandel survives being raped by someone she knows and trusts.

She will not accept defeat—even when confronted by her rapist a second time. Instead, she uses her tragedy to help hundreds of others, some of whom she will never meet.

Set in the era of the Vietnam War and the new feminism, this book will have you crying and cheering for Carolyn as she navigates the challenges of life after sexual assault.

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