Loren E. Pedersen, author of The Soul Grows in Darkness captivates the reader through profound descriptions of his life. Born in a poor section of Chicago, Pedersen faces profuse challenges of gang violence, social injustice, and prejudice while contending with a hearing impediment. His realistic portrayal of his childhood, neighborhood, and family circumstances shakes the reader with its vivid clarity of events. Pedersenís ability to share his feelings and personal history demonstrates tremendous courage on his part, given that his life is far from a summer picnic in the park; many of us would run from negative memories that shatter the heartís ability to receive and accept love.
The memoir takes the reader on a journey through the authorís life, showing the intensity of lifeís challenges wrapped around a soul that searches for meaning in life, a purpose. Pedersen highlights critical points in his life through candid descriptions of his feelings, such as when he was in medical school while supporting a family and struggling with an unhappy marriage. Woven within the story are the intrinsic details of his family painting, brushed with dark colors but highlighted with a stroke of white: his desire to learn more about his purpose in life.
I found myself being enticed to read further, longing to digest each chapter and understand the meaning behind the words. What strikes me most about the book is the spiritual nature of the authorís journey, struggling to understand the self and to put content around his feelings. We all have moments when we search for meaning in our life. At many points in the book, the authorís internal struggle clearly illustrates darkness, a soul searching for its masterís ability to direct and find love within.
This book is distinctive. If you look beyond the many pages of graphic descriptions of his life (at times too graphic for the likes of me), you begin to realize that this book could win a prize for uniqueness. There are many messages in the book, a psychological manual written by a man whose true life story is a compelling reality that while life is not fair, goodness can arise from darkness. I would recommend this book to anyone who prepared for thought-provoking material and with a strong stomach for one manís experiential reality.