Rachel’s Tears by Beth Nimmo and Darell Scott

Title: Rachel’s Tears
Authors: Beth Nimmo and Darell Scott with Steve Rabey
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson; 10th Anniversary edition edition (February 17, 2009)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

About the book:
“I am not going to apologize for speaking the name of Jesus . . . If I have to sacrifice everything . . . I will.” -Rachel Scott

The Columbine tragedy in April 1999 pierced the heart of our country. We later learned that the teenage killers specifically targeted Rachel Scott and mocked her Christian faith on their chilling, homemade videotapes. Rachel Scott died for her faith. Now her parents talk about Rachel’s life and how they have found meaning in their daughter’s martyrdom in the aftermath of the school shooting. Rachel’s Tears comes from a heartfelt need to celebrate this young girl’s life, to work through the grief and the questions of a nation, and to comfort those who have been touched by violence in our schools today. Using excerpts and drawings from Rachel’s own journals, her parents offer a spiritual perspective on the Columbine tragedy and provide a vision of hope for preventing youth violence across the nation.

No one needs to be reminded of the Columbine Tragedy on April 20, 1999. So many lives wasted and so many young dreams shattered. This book is the spiritual journey of Rachel Scott, one of the victims of that tragedy. She was 17 at that time.

Rachel was a girl who believed in God and was totally devoted to Jesus. She did not want to be in a specific group, she wanted to reach out to everyone, especially the ones who felt lost and alone at school. I was amazed by her passion for life and her strong faith. This is one of her poems,

You said “that’s bad”
I said “so what”
You said “He lies”
I said “He’s fun”
You said “Please stop”
I said “Shut up”
You said “I love you”
I said “Not now”
But then the matches
Burned my hands,
And he was not there,
to care for me,
He left me,
In the dark alone,
But I was not alone
You said, “I love you”,
I said “Why”
You said, “Because I made you”

Writing about this book was not easy. There are many things to consider. Firstly, Rachel as a person and her faith (I don’t think I can find fault with that, nor I want to). The second is the purpose of the tragedy as the book puts it. And third is whether praying and believing in God would help keeping such tragedies in control.

I don’t think Rachel was a martyr or anything. But she was a girl with an extraordinary faith in God. And this was evident enough in her journal writings. Also, the book says that Rachael always wanted to spread the word of God and this is what happened after the Columbine Tragedy. God did it to “use Rachel” to spread his word. All those wasted lives and those mindless killings to spread his word is something I find very disturbing. I believe there is no excuse for something like this, not even saying it was one of God’s plans. But if something good comes out of it eventually, well, nothing better than that.

Finally, why did something like this happen and what could be made to stop it. The media at that time attributed all this to the violent video games and music, but that’s hardly the complete picture. Obviously they were used to feed their anger but it was not the root cause. We should go deep into the psyche of the killers and try to understand why they did something like this.

Can bringing religious values and prayer back to schools prevent kids from going over the edge? I’m not a very religious person myself and I don’t think that you need to believe in God to keep your morals straight. But I do believe that some people are weak and when they are confused and angry and have no one to fall back on, faith and prayers do help. Believing in God could help if not cure.

This book could be a good inspiration to teens who are confused and lost and don’t know what to believe anymore. Rachel more or less struggled with the same things but comes to terms with them at some point.

Finally, you might like this book a lot if you are a practicing Christian. You would like this book even if you are not very religious like me because you might enjoy (I’m not sure that’s the right word) reading about someone as passionate and devoted as Rachel. If you are an atheist, good luck with it.

Having said this, I would say that this book definitely made me think. And whether you like the book or not, it has impacted the lives of many people. Thats more than what Rachel’s parents could hope for.

10 thoughts on “Rachel’s Tears by Beth Nimmo and Darell Scott

  1. I may not know the entire story, but by my definition of martyr, Rachel is indeed a martyr. Fascinating review, Violet – you intrigue me with what books you read. 🙂

    • Thanks Care 🙂

      According to wikipedia, The term martyr is most commonly used today to describe an individual who sacrifices his or her life (or their personal freedom) in order to further a cause or belief for many.

      She might have been a believer but I don’t believe she sacrificed her life. She was at the wrong place at the wrong time. And reports that she was asked whether she believed in God before being shot were actually denied by the FBI.

      But yeah, each to his own 🙂

      • Fair enough. Like I said, I don’t know the whole story! Interestingly enough, I was at the HighSchool today and a huge banner is up in the entrance requesting acceptance of “Rachel’s Challenge” – I stopped a student and asked if it was the Rachel from Columbine and was told YES.

  2. I found this book to be very interesting. Like you, I don’t know that I would call her a martyr, but I certainly found some of her writing to be prophetic.

  3. she wrote some really good things about her life and knowing how she was going to die. i thought it was amazing to hear her words and how much they could mean to someone who didn’t know her at all.

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