Born to Return the Gift reviewed by fran lewis

Born to Return the Gift

Author: Catherine E. Johnson


Reviewed by Fran Lewis


How do you deal with rejection from a parent growing up? What happens when the norm is abuse both verbal and physical rather than a hug causing your life to become one big blur? What happens when your father basks in his own bottle of alcohol for solace and comfort and your mother retaliates with force during their disagreements? How do you face lie? Many follow the same pattern creating a life filled with emptiness, no direction and aimlessly walk around in their own fog. Visions of this come when you are not aware they are there. The unhappiness permeates throughout your body and soul as an adult as the mere image facing you in the mirror reflects not who you really are but who and what you have become.


Nyima, our main character’s life has taken a downward spiral and is out of control. Trying to find a way back and learn to renew her faith in herself she turns to God.


Diagnosed with clinical depression and post traumatic stress disorder she finds her own retreat or solace in the medications prescribed but more so in her many source of therapy: Brandy. Knocked down, face down and at her lowest point, she feels only then when there is not place to go but up will she or anyone else in her situation be able to rise above and succeed. What caused her emotional upheaval? She eluded the one area we need to move on and become whole.


Wanting security whether financial or emotional can often cloud our vision and distort the choices that we make. Vulnerability and being preyed on by a cruel or deceptive person, Nyima believed in the wrong man and paid the price: Her freedom. Meeting Steffan and thinking he was her answer to making her life better only proved that she would have more of the same as she did growing up. But, Nyima is not weak and she took the high road and left. Homeless, having to find places to live, she took short- term jobs in order to survive. Her strength came from within her even though she might not have readily seen or realized it.


As Nyima flounders and tries to find herself, the true meaning of why she is here and her purpose, she makes more mistakes, takes risks and then finds solace and peace in The One: God.


Denied help from her mother, she left without warning after a family visit to find employment, hopefully a place to live and friends to support her. But, what she found was quite different. Deceit and lies filled her days as those close to her disappointed her and destroyed her trust while others used her kindness and understanding ways to their advantage. Narrated by the author explaining the inner emotions and struggles of our main character, the author brought to light in a poignant and honest manner and creative writing style allowing the reader to experience along with the character her trials first hand.


Without your voice who would hear your thoughts and know what you are thinking. Nyima’s voice was heart not listened to as her struggle for acceptance and her need to be understood pushed aside by those who failed to realize her viewpoints or care to hear and heed her words. Using her past as a reason to defuse her present, Nyima could not win. Speaking about her behind her back rather than front and center, trying to put out the flame- Nyima felt justified in her actions and feelings but alone in the end hoping to find the light at the end of a really dark tunnel drowning herself in “Paul.” Added to her latest employment position was defined by deceit, lies and more disappointment, but that did not bring her down. Told as a diary of events dealing with her stay at the Oasis Motel, we see the progression of her life as a downhill battle. But, Nyima will not give up and what happens next will alert the reader to know that she is still very much a strong force in her own right.


Leaving and moving to California, living with her own family did not improve anything for Nyima. Returning to her family and living among them she made some startling revelations. One nightmare, visions that would haunt her memory and yet bring her back to where she should never have left as Nyima relives her life, her past, her mistakes and much more in an ending that will renew your faith in healing, life and becoming who you need to be. Nyima learns that who she is as a person is what matters, her opinion of herself is what counts and the most valuable gift she has is the one God gave her: Life. Allowing others to dictate her movements, feelings, actions and life would never happen again as Nyima took the first step to returning and believing in God and she restored herself and rose back into the sunlight.

Told by the author in a narrative author Catherine E. Johnson reminds us of how important it is to not allow others to run our lives, abuse our bodies, or demean us for any reason. Characters that are true to live, events that could really happen, as one woman learns the pitfalls of what happens when you allow others to judge and prejudge, taking the wrong way out using drugs and alcohol and finally understanding the true meaning of life by believing in God and knowing that he is always there.


Well written, vividly describing Nyima’s thoughts, dreams and feelings the reader feels part of her life as if you are experiencing it first hand. Let’s hope only good things are in store for this amazingly intelligent and smart woman. Born to Return the Gift: Life what a precious one.


Fran Lewis: Reviewer



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