No matter where you stand on the issue of abortion --- though I suspect most readers of this review oppose it --- there's one aspect of the issue you just can't argue with. As Jennifer O'Neill writes, "You cannot argue with someone's pain." You can dismiss it, you can minimize it, you can ignore it, but you cannot effectively use your powers of persuasion to convince other people that they are not in pain. In YOU'RE NOT ALONE, O'Neill, an actress and Cover Girl Cosmetics model, writes primarily to those women who continue to suffer from the emotional pain of abortion --- and she writes as one who has been there.
In previous books and videos and in her ongoing role as national spokesperson for the "Silent No More" abortion awareness campaign, O'Neill tells the story of her own abortion, the struggles that followed, and her ultimate reconciliation with God. Here, she gives space to the stories of other women who have likewise suffered and found hope and healing through God's forgiveness. Throughout, O'Neill uses scripture to underscore the truth that God's grace and mercy are available to everyone --- even those women who feel they've bordered on committing the unpardonable sin by aborting a child.
On that score, O'Neill does a terrific job. If you don't get a taste of God's grace and forgiveness while reading this book, well, I guess you just weren't ready for it. Because it's there for the taking. On every page. O'Neill also addresses two aspects of the post-abortion experience that often go unnoticed: the need to openly grieve for the aborted child and the need to confess the truth about a previous abortion to a spouse and children.
One of the most poignant scenes in the book relates to the need to grieve. In Japan for a film festival, O'Neill wanted to do some sightseeing and decided to visit a large Buddhist temple. In one area on the grounds were thousands upon thousands of pinwheels. Next to some were tiny mementos --- empty photo frames, knitted booties, and the like. What she was looking at was the burial ground for aborted babies, a place where people could openly mourn the loss of their own child or for all of the anonymous children lost to abortion. "Grieving is part of surviving and is an integrally crucial part of the healing process," O'Neill writes. "Grieving is not a step you can skip if you want to heal." All too often, the shame of abortion causes women to skip that step, she writes, but the repercussions will surface eventually.
O'Neill also guides women through the process of determining when, how, and if they should disclose the fact of a long-ago abortion to their current family --- their spouse and children. It's a process designed not to convince the women that they should or shouldn't, but to allow each woman to come to her own decision about how to handle the situation.
Now to the downside. This is a book that is likely to resonate with Christians only. That's not to say that a person who isn't a Christian wouldn't get