My Son, My Son by Bernard Palmer - dealing with addiction

May 19, 2005 (Updated May 29, 2005)
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Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:decent information, easy to ready, comprehensive


The Bottom Line: take time to appreciate those around you

Bernard Palmer is a well known Christian author, dealing mainly with children and the interpretation of the Bible to child-like reading. After reaching his own personal crisis with his son, Mr. Palmer elected to write this book in his memory and as a guide to help others with their own life changing decisions.

Mr. Palmer, at the age of 21, was widowed when his new wife died due to complications during childbirth. This left him alone to raise his son, Barry. Several years later he met a woman, they married, and all seemed well. She loved Barry, and he loved her in return. He called her Mother. Life seemed almost perfect until she became pregnant with their first child.

It has been determined that this was probably the turning point for Barry. A neighbor woman, not very nice I might add, fueled the fire and planted the seeds of mistrust that continued to grow throughout his life. He grew apart from his stepmother, his siblings (eventually there were 4) and finally his father. What disturbed his parents the most was when he shunned the church and his religion.

Barry finally turned to drugs, alcohol, gambling and women. He lost his wife and children. He lost his lucrative job. He lost his home. The one thing he never lost was his family, although at times it was hard on them to stand by his side. In the end, Barry’s heart could no longer withstand the years of abuse he had put on his body. He died peacefully in his sleep at the age of 31.

I will probably never reach the level of acceptance that Mr. Palmer has obtained in his life, mainly because I do not hold his staunch religious beliefs. Not that I do not believe in God, I simply cannot reach the stature of belief that he has met.

I am still troubled, daily, by things I see in the world and find it hard to appreciate that these things can be allowed and, in fact, are increasing as time goes on. I still do not understand how a higher power can allow someone, even though I know He gives us choices and we are responsible for those choices, to maim or beat or kill or rape a child.

I cannot understand how a lonely grandmother can be sitting in her home one day and killed the next, simply because someone wanted to do it. I cannot understand the complexities of war or useless death or mindless terror. These are the things that Mr. Palmer can, and does, accept as a normal course of life. I simply will never be able to reach that plane.

The hardest part I had with this book was the religious overtones. Frankly I received this book in error after my youngest son died. The American Red Cross had told me to get the book My Son, My Son by Iris Bolton, however when Barnes & Noble ordered the book for me, this one came in its place. It was at a point in my life when it seemed like every infraction was a major one, I simply kept the book. In fact, I kept it for 8 years, moving it from home to home, never cracking the cover.

Finally, with the latest problems with my middle son, Troy, I decided perhaps there might be something in this My Son, My Son, that would help me, much like the Iris Bolton book had helped me with the loss of Jason. Granted, it did give me some peace of mind, letting me know it was OK for me to turn my back on Troy and leave him behind when I left Ohio.

I did this, knowing he was at one of the lowest points of his life but for me to continue to stay around him would do nothing but enable him to continue on. My leaving pushed him to a point that he needed to reach. Whether that point will be a success is up to Troy. So from that standpoint, I gained some help and advice from the book.

With the writing in this book, Palmer relies heavily on religion as his podium. His writing is clear and descriptive, easy to read and comprehend his feelings, but still I was often left wanting. I’m sure it is simply my problem because I don’t have the conviction that he does.

If you are in recovery, if you know of someone that is facing this situation, if you know someone that needs an intervention, I would suggest you read this book and gain some insight to the road that is before you before you make that plunge and commitment to help someone, or yourself, along. You will gain strength and understanding, and maybe in the end, you will find some measure of acceptance.

Perhaps I was intended to have this book all along, since it came to me and I’ve kept it over the years. Maybe that is just another one of life’s strange occurrences.


Major thanks to Bridgette for all the trouble I caused getting this book added to the database.

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