Monday, July 06, 2009
Higher Honor by S.M. Kirkland
When Cadet Cassidy Sanders is brutally assaulted, she struggles to carry on as she turns further from the God of her youth. Her attacker is an acquaintance who has his own struggles to face. God uses their mutual friends to show both cadets the depth
of his grace and mercy.
Higher Honor is set within the sub-culture of America’s military colleges. The novel focuses on the elements of honor, brotherhood, duty, and the spirit of the characters to face and overcome challenges that grow them into the military’s
next generation of strong, capable leaders. The realism of Higher Honor’s setting and plot is a result of experience, observation, and much research.
Higher Honor is the story about a rape and how it affects not only the victim, but the perpetrator and their friends. Kirkland handles the situation--including the actual rape itself--with realism yet delicacy, so that you get the horror of the situation without the morbidity. Even more, she successfully portrays the emotional and psychological trauma Cassidy goes through--and does a convincing job of making Chris, the rapist, a believable and very human character instead of a cardboard human.
One of the themes is learning to depend on God, and finding strength in God's love. I think Cassidy explained it best when she told a support group that she had to remember that God defines who she is--not those few horrible minutes in the shower. For that line alone, this book will remain with me forever.
There is also an important theme of forgiveness, though I was not so pleased at her willingness to defend her rapist when he went to turn himself in. I was glad leveler heads prevailed.
I thought a few parts of it--like her recovery after she rediscovered Christ in her life--a little too easy, but not unbelievably so. Overall, a very good book, and I think many that Christians, especially any who have been in Cassidy's situation, will identify with her.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
S.M. Kirkland brings firsthand experience to her fiction.
While a student at North Georgia College and State
University (the senior military college of Georgia) she
enlisted in the Georgia Army National Guard. During a 10-
year military career, she served as a photo- and broadcast
journalist while serving in Italy and for the 1996 Summer
Olympic Games in Atlanta.
Kirkland currently works for the Calhoun Times as the
government reporter and her feature stories have appeared
in newspapers nationwide. Her first fiction publication was
a short story “Fair Balance” included in the anthology Light
at the Edge of Darkness (TWCP, 2007). This story received
several rave reviews.