‘Coming out of the Dark’ by Anna Gray
Book Review by Dr Phil Noone
Senior Wellness Consultant, The Book Hub Publishing Group
Your book Anna will always have a special place in my heart. I was gifted it at a moment of vulnerability, of low mood. I write these words to attempt to explain:
The Roar of the Lion
The prod of his claws
Sarcasm, the bite that
My energy space
Leaving me low.
I call a friend. We meet. My emotional balance is somewhat restored. And I travel home with Anna’s book. A delight.
Well folks, what a book! Brilliant, brave, emotionally raw, honest, sad, funny, intellectually stimulating, insightful and beautifully narrated. Anna, you are a wonderful writer and I loved your book. From page one, I was hooked. This is an incredible book that traverses such issues as childhood bullying, domestic violence, self-harm, low self-esteem, self-survival, healing, transformation, and just ordinary life. For me, it is ultimately about resilience and survival of a very brave and courageous Belfast Girl.
Your story of being bullied in school had me gasping for air at every word, every detail. Shattered for your trauma, living it with you, captivated by your every word. The erosion of your self-esteem and self-worth at such a young and tender age. It speaks to all of us and our children.
Your travels into the darkest side of life as you recount your experience of domestic violence and abuse. You possess an incredible ability of naturalness to draw the reader in and keep them there. Your honest is overwhelmingly brave and I love you for it. I have no doubt your words reach out and offer courage and comfort to so many in similar situations.
Your time in Scotland where you detail your desperation to survive, pay rent, purchase food and your brief sojourn into the lap-dancing arena. Your inner grit and survival instinct are strongly evident here. What an incredible human being.
Your return to Belfast where you embark on your studies in counselling and psychotherapy with the aim of helping others. This is key for me. Life is not a perfect bed of roses, never is, but I believe along the way, we are offered many opportunities to learn from our experiences and to put what we learn to good use. This is exactly what you desired to do and what you achieved. Well done you, Anna Gray.
I adored your insights into the ‘alternative world’ of healing and spirituality, and I totally agree with you that there is a need to combine both conventional and alternative healing modalities in a holistic recognition of the ‘fragility of human existence’.
This book offers so much more than I have words for here. It has nuggets of wisdom and learning peppered through each and every page and a focused nugget of learning at the end of each chapter, coupled with some beautiful poetry and words of encouragement and philosophical thought. I will leave the readers to interpret the poem that Anna’s wrote titled ‘The Fight’ on page 193, “He grips my neck like a vice…”
Finally, this book for me, offers insights into the power of love, of friendship, of family, of friends. It is a story of ‘hope’, of ‘survival’, of ‘life’. A key and beautiful message for me is contained in your words: “whatever the problem, love is the way to fix it and learning to give ourselves and others more love can transform pain into pure gold (Gray 2018: 191). This hit a personal note with me and I believe it to be true.
To revert back to my own emotional state on Friday. I can honestly say it was pure, heart-felt love of, and from another, that transferred in energetic waves to me and that helped to heal the ‘lions bite’ that punctured my energy space. We are all beautiful human beings, let us share ‘our presence’ with one another this Christmas. To me, it is the greatest gift of all and the only one that really matters.
Thank you Anna Gray for writing such an incredible book of Trauma, Transformation and Healing, Thank you Niall of Book Hub Publishing for publishing such a wonderful book And for handing me this book on Friday, 12th December 2018.