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Katie Piper was an upcoming model and TV presenter with a bright career ahead of her but that was all taken away from her in one moment. After raping, beating and abusing her, her ex- boyfriend, a violent, jealous and possessive evil man hired somebody to throw a cup of acid into Katie's face, leaving her fighting for her life.
This story tells the tale of an emotional rollercoaster; focusing on the ups and downs of a recovery that nobody would of thought was possible. At an all time low after numerous operations and the anxiety and stress of having to give evidence in court against the evil savages that did this to her, Kate Piper manages to gain self confidence again. She does so with the help of doctors, God and even celebrities such as Simon Cowell who realise what a brilliant strong, BEAUTIFUL, human bring Katie Piper is and do everything they can to help her. This book makes you realise that beauty is not on the outside, but truly from within.
This book is a fantastic read. Not only is it well written and easy to read, it is a true story written by a person who has shown more courage than anyone could ever imagine. It definitely makes you think about how easily life can change and that it only takes one cruel, sick individual to do so.
24-year-old Katie Piper had her whole life ahead of her. Blonde, beautiful, vivacious and confident, she was building a career as a model and TV presenter. Everything was going well for Katie until her jealous, controlling boyfriend turned her dreams into a nightmare. After imprisoning her in a hotel room and brutally raping her, he instigated a barbaric acid attack upon her. Katie's beautiful face - the face that she had built her career on - was dramatically scarred and her life would never be the same again. This book tells Katie's shocking but inspiring story.
Katie writes in a down-to-earth, conversational style, as if sharing her experiences with a good friend. It is a gripping read, which I completed in a day. Katie takes us through her childhood and teenage years, when she was sassy and fearless. She describes getting into modelling and moving to London where she and her friends hung out in swanky clubs, which she now refers to as 'a poser's paradise.' Katie speaks frankly and admits that she was extremely vain and self-obsessed in those days and that she didn't make enough time for her family, taking them for granted. She describes meeting Daniel Lynch on Facebook and how he showered her with compliments, then became obsessive, aggressive and stalkerish in his behaviour towards her, culminating in the events that would change her life forever.
At times this was a harrowing read. Katie's account of the acid attack itself was particularly gruesome as she described the 'explosion of agony' as she staggered around the pavement, doubled up in pain. "I heard a horrible sound, like an animal being slaughtered. What was making that noise? Then I realised it was coming from me." She describes stumbling into a café and trying to dip her head in an ice bucket of water to ease the pain, then rushing into the ladies' and sticking her head into the loo, flushing it over and over again - all to no avail. She tells us about waking up in the specialist burns unit at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, wondering if she was alive or dead.
Reading this account was upsetting and also made me feel very angry that anyone could do such an evil thing. Katie suffered 3rd degree burns. She had lost most of her nose, her eyelids and half of her left ear. Her eyes, mouth and tongue were damaged. Not only was her face disfigured, but there was severe damage to her oesophagus. The acid had splashed onto her arms, hands, legs, neck and cleavage. As I reflected on the appalling details of her injuries, I was struck by the shocking irony that it took just a few seconds to destroy her face but over 60 operations to rebuild it. Katie describes in detail the pioneering treatment she received. Her admiration and gratitude towards her brilliant surgeon, Mr Jawad, is expressed throughout the book and is touching to read. Although this book shows us the most evil side of humanity, which is disturbing to read of, it also reminds us of human beings at their most admirable.
Katie recounts the horror of looking at her reflection for the first time after the attack - "That's not me......Have they given me a broken mirror? Or are they showing me a picture of someone else?" She speaks frankly about the moment she decided, whilst still in hospital, that she would commit suicide and about the sense of relief it gave her to have made that decision, then tells us how "the weirdest feeling crept over me. It felt like a warm hug and it enveloped every inch of me. It floated through my wasted hands, my scarred back, my broken heart and I felt as though I was filled with light." At that point, Katie chose to live.
Katie pays attention to the little details, such as her fears of how her dog would react to her disfigurement. She tells us about coming home and expecting him to growl at her, but to her great relief he runs straight over and jumps on her lap. If only humans could be so accepting! She provides disgraceful examples of people's insensitivity - a nosey woman following her and her mother all the way round Debenhams to get a closer look at her face, and a worker who actually orders her out of his shop in disgust. Another irony is that Katie has always turned heads in the street, but after her attack she sees looks of horror and pity rather than admiration and envy.
She doesn't bask in self-pity, although she could be easily forgiven for doing so. Katie is capable of seeing the humorous sides of her predicament, such as having to wear a special mask to aid her recovery and feeling like, 'phantom of the flippin opera.' For all her trauma, she recognises that she was fortunate to receive the pioneering treatment that was offered to her and to go to a specialist rehab clinic in France, which offered methods of treatment unavailable in the UK. It is very humbling when Katie speaks of herself as being lucky, but she reminds us that there are acid attack victims all over the world, many being from Indian or Muslim areas where acid is used to punish women for adultery and other perceived wrongs. Katie's wish to help these people led her to set up a charity, the Katie Piper Foundation.
The book takes us through Katie's many operations to treat her physical scars but also focuses on her emotional scars, which took a long time to heal. She suffered post traumatic stress disorder after the attack and describes in detail how she went from not wanting to leave the house to gradually overcoming her fears, to the point when she finally found the confidence to live alone again. The chapters dealing with the trial and having to give evidence against her attacker make particularly powerful reading. Katie describes how it took her a long time to get over her mistrust of men and feel ready to start dating again. She tells us about one positive relationship, with a lovely man who helped to restore her sense of worth, but another which came to nothing, because he could not deal with her disfigurement. As I read the book I certainly got a sense of what a slow and painful journey it was for Katie, both emotionally and physically. Just when she seems to be making progress, there is another setback, and I really felt for her. However, each time she picks herself back up again and carries on, starting to see her scars as 'badges of honour.' It may seem like a cliché to say that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, but in Katie's case there is no doubt that she believes she is a stronger, less superficial person than the woman she used to be. As she puts it: "My old dreams might be dead but I would make new, better dreams that would come true."
The writer/poet Kahlil Gibran once said - 'beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.' This is a sentiment that Katie Piper would undoubtedly agree with. Her experiences have taught her that beauty is not about "big boobs and hair extensions." Beauty is the selfless, devoted surgeon, the supportive family, the tireless charity worker, the loyal friends and the kind nurse who sat by her hospital bed and sung soothing Indian lullabies. Real beauty is about kindness and love. It is what gave Katie hope again and what makes her beautiful still.
I would recommend this book. Next time you start to fret about wrinkles, a bad hair day or some other aspect of your appearance, read about Katie's plight and you'll soon get a sense of perspective. It is a salient reminder of how quickly fortunes can change but proof of the resilience of the human spirit even in the most dire circumstances. Katie Piper is an inspiration.
Katie Piper was 24, and on her way to a successful career in modelling and TV presenting, when her boyfriend arranged an attack on her. Sulphuric acid was thrown in her face, ruining her looks, and her chances of achieving her dream career, forever .
The story starts with the build up to the attack - what her life was like, her personality and dreams then, and the build up of the relationship. It is interesting in particular to note Katie's own attitude to looks - she seems to see them as all important, and it would be fair to say that prior to the attack, she was shallow and vain. In fact, at this point in the story, despite knowing from the blurb what was going to happen, I felt nothing for Katie aside from mild dislike .
Lucky then that this part of the book (which is by far the least interesting) is quite short, and that the majority of the book centres on the aftermath of the attack - the fight to get justice, Katie's recovery, and her fight to make the pioneering treatment she received more available to other burn victims. It's in the section that I began to see more depth to Katie as a person, and to grudgingly admire her . There is a lot more to the violence from her boyfriend than just the acid attack he organised, and I do feel I should mention that there are some extremely violent and disturbing scenes in the book.
It's no great shakes in terms of the writing, but it is a relatively interesting story written in a clear and easy to understand way, and worth picking up for a read. It's not a particularly long book, and I read it in an afternoon. I did find there were a fair few proof-reading errors in the book that made it feel a little bit of a rush job, but overall I would recommend it - I found it quite inspiring to see Katie go from a beautiful but shallow young woman, to somebody much deeper and stronger .
4 stars .