Redheffer, J. and Brecht, S. (2005). Beyond the razor’s edge: Journey of healing and hope beyond self injury. New York: iUniverse Inc.
I don’ t usually publish book review of books I don’t like, but this one, well, there was something about it that made me want write about it anyway. Being a former self injurer (or whatever the popular slang for that is now a days), I’m often drawn to books about self injury, this one being no exception.
The book is a collection of stories and poems written by the patients and staff of SAFE Alternatives treatment program. SAFE stands for Self Abuse Finally Ends and is associated with a hospital in Chicago. They are a one-month “cold turkey” program and provide after care for those living in the Chicago area.
For those who’ve been through the program at SAFE and found healing through it, I imagine this book is a nice way of remembering those times. I however found the book to be very narrow minded and very focused on how wonderful the program is. It would be sort of like a book written by recovering alcoholics all of whom found sobriety in the exact same way. In many ways SAFE resembles AA and the story repeated over and over again is “once I submitted to the process I began to heal”. And maybe that’s true, but I’m a firm believer that there is more then one way of healing.
I suppose I need to take the book for what it’s written for though. The self-described goal of the book is, “to empower individuals to make healthier choices by sharing what has worked for others” (p.ix). Well, they do share what has worked for others, but I really don’t think that the book is all that empowering. If anything, I find that it could be frustrating in the way it promotes a very specific program, which is not all that accessible.
Recommendations… well, I’d have to say don’t bother reading it. Maybe if you want to go work for SAFE, or if your thinking of starting your own program and want to read about people’s successes in this one.
The stories are good though. It takes courage to share your story and each and every woman whose account is in this book had the courage to stand up and say, “this is me”.