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The Wounded Spirit

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Draws from news stories and his own childhood spent fighting the pain of a disfigurement that made him an object of ridicule to illustrate the effects of emotional scars, and offers ways to overcome abuse.

1 pages, Hardcover

First published September 1, 2000

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About the author

Frank E. Peretti

102 books3,320 followers
With more than 12 million novels in print, Frank Peretti is nothing short of a publishing phenomenon and has been called “America’s hottest Christian novelist.”

Peretti is a natural storyteller who, as a youngster in Seattle, regularly gathered the neighborhood children for animated storytelling sessions. After graduating from high school, he began playing banjo with a local bluegrass group. He and his wife were married in 1972, and Peretti soon moved from touring with a pop band to launching a modest Christian music ministry. Peretti later spent time studying English, screen writing and film at UCLA and then assisted his father in pastoring a small Assembly of God church. In 1983, he gave up his pastoring position and began taking construction jobs to make ends meet. While working at a local ski factory, he began writing This Present Darkness, the book that would catapult him into the public eye. After numerous rejections from publishers and a slow start in sales, word-of-mouth enthusiasm finally lifted This Present Darkness onto a tidal wave of interest in spiritual warfare. The book appeared on Bookstore Journal’s bestseller list every month for more than eight years. Peretti’s two spiritual warfare novels, This Present Darkness (1998) and Piercing the Darkness (1989), captivated readers, together selling more than 3.5 million copies. The Oath was awarded the 1996 Gold Medallion Award for best fiction.

For kids, Peretti wrote The Cooper Kids Adventure Series (Crossways and Tommy Nelson), which remains a best-selling series for children with sales exceeding 1 million copies. In August 2000, Peretti released the hilarious children’s audiocassette series titled Wild and Wacky Totally True Bible Stories, reprising his role as Mr. Henry, the offbeat substitute Sunday School teacher found in two Visual Bible for Kids videos.

Peretti released his first-ever non-fiction book, The Wounded Spirit in 2000, which quickly became a best-seller. The book addresses the pain of “wounded spirits” and was written as a result of painful childhood experiences.

Frank Peretti and his wife, Barbara Jean, live in the Western U.S. In spite of sudden fame and notoriety, Frank still lives a simple, well-rounded life that includes carpentry, banjo making, sculpturing, bicycling and hiking. He is also an avid pilot.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 142 reviews
Profile Image for Stephen.
29 reviews
January 19, 2009
This book had been sitting on my shelf for years until I picked it up yesterday. The bolded words on the cover -- "this is not fiction", "this is real" -- spoken like a zealous car salesman or a monster truck rally announcer, waylaid my interest in reading the personal story of a well-known author of Christian fiction. I thought I'd read a couple of pages to see if it was worth keeping on my bookshelf.
Well, a few pages turned into the entire book in just half a day. I was surprisingly pulled into Peretti's story, all the while feeling both convicted and humbled by his experiences. He did a fine job of illustrating how deeply people can bury their hurts; many carry burdens from childhood into their adult lives and continue to struggle. I don't imagine anyone could read this book without evoking remembrances of persons whom they've harmed or been injured by.
The ultimate point Peretti makes is that we are all God's creation, and as such we must respect the divine inspiration by which we were fashioned. No one likes to be tortured, physically or verbally, and this points to a universal truth -- "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." In a postmodern world of relativism, it's good to be reminded that every person abhors being tortured. Absolutely.
728 reviews31 followers
April 25, 2018
This would be an excellent introduction to the topic; I found it a bit lightweight, but I think that's because he doesn't really grapple with much research on the issue. Likely because a lot of it wasn't out when he wrote the thing!

Although frankly, the research hasn't added a whole lot to his proposed solutions. Teaching children to treat others with respect, cultural condemnation of bullying, and individuals taking action in defense of the bullied are what minimize bullying.

A couple of things I really liked about his personal story is that he showed how little it can take to make a difference, and how much difference it made when he acted assertively, not aggressively. Peretti needed the help of authorities, and he needed the encouragement of authorities, but in a very real sense he rescued himself. And that is the healthiest solution; when victims are empowered to take action, rather than merely rescued.
Profile Image for Sandy.
1,082 reviews13 followers
January 13, 2014
I really wanted to only give this book maybe 1.5 stars because I couldn't finish it and stopped on page 116. It started out really well, talking about how he, the author, was teased because of a medical issue he had. Everyone has been teased at one point or another in their lives and how we, as a people, should see that and in turn help to stop bullying in the lives of our kids. I was under the impression that he was talking about "everyone". Except this is a case of, taking the title of a Single Dad Laughing blog titled "...Unless you're gay". It seems that this author is saying that we need the rules put down by God, which I'm not against, but then who says which rules do we go by. Man interprets what God's rules are but some might not agree with those rules.

Here is a paragraph from the book:
...It touches nearly every part of your life, from what is being taught in your high-school and college classrooms, to what you hear in pop music, to what you see on television and in the movies, to what is being espoused by supporters of homosexual lifestyles, abortion, euthanasia, and assisted suicide, to radical, anti-Christian political movements, to neo-Nazi skinheads, and more.

I am a firm believer in God loving us. He made us the way we are so why would he make us this way and then turn away from us if we disagree with certain things in the Bible. If we are supposed to be against homosexual people then we need to be against clothes made of different materials, planting certain crops next to other crops, working on the sabbath (and when is the sabbath? Saturday or Sunday?). Am I to believe that because I'm straight and was married to a man who did bad things, my marriage was better than two men or two women who love and are faithful to each other? To me that's wrong.

I was so hoping that this book would talk about all bullying issues and give ideas to help all people who are being teased and bullied. I believe in God and in His love and I believe everyone should be safe from harm. I am also a supporter of people who are gay having the right to marry and have equal rights. Am I to be hated now?
Profile Image for Shari.
66 reviews8 followers
February 15, 2009
This should be a must read for every adult - every parent, school teacher, school administrator, sunday school teacher, etc... Every child from 6th grade or higher should read this as well.
Bullying leaves nothing but a wounded spirit. We've all suffered at the hands of a bully and at times have been the bully ourselves.
This is Frank Peretti's life story. He's one of my favorite authors and I had no idea that he was born with a medical condition which in turn as the years went by made him the person picked on the most throughout his school years.

It's funny that the day before I finished this, at a local resturant I saw a grown man wearing a shirt that said "I know what's wrong with you - you're stupid" THAT is what this book talks about. The wounding of spirits of others even sometimes when we think we are just being funny. We're all guilty but some are worse than others. Some end up with wounded spirits worse than others.

This was a very quick read - 3 days to finish the book.
Profile Image for Angela Blount.
Author 5 books671 followers
September 30, 2020
Part childhood trauma memoir, part tender social commentary, part empathetic plea--this book centers around the very personal (and previously unknown) story behind a prolific storyteller.

This reader basically transitioned into adult fiction thanks to the engaging works of Peretti, so it was interesting to learn of the darkness that shaped him from a very young age. I had no idea he'd grown up with a medical condition that significantly disfigured his face--leading to numerous surgeries aimed at cutting down his horrendously swollen tongue so that it would actually stay in his mouth. Any facial deformity is an automatic nightmare for a child in public school, but Peretti's condition was compounded by it's impeding of his ability to talk, his unusual smallness in stature, and the fact that he endured this during the late 50s-early 60's--in a world that regarded bullying as simply an expected "normal" childhood experience.

“By their indifference to abuse, bullying, and harassment, parents, teachers, and employers send additional, subtle messages often written between the lines: You must also endure whatever comes with the package. It happens. Life is tough. Kids will be kids. We all went through it. It’s part of growing up. It’s a rite of passage. Get over it. It’ll make you stronger. Suck it up, kid. Hey, you wanna work here, you don’t make waves.”

Peretti's decision to share this atypically non-fiction piece of himself was spurred by the 1999 Columbine massacre. At the time, bullying was one of the main factors being blamed for then-unprecedented school shooting--along with violent video games, Marilyn Manson music, oblivious parents, and the iconic movie: The Matrix. (It would be nearly a decade after this book was written before it became more apparent via abundant analysis that the ringleader of the deadly duo had all the earmarks of an undiagnosed sociopath--cold, calculating, manipulative, devoid of conscience... and was far more of a bully himself than the media initially gave him credit for.)

Note: I am technically of the "Columbine Generation." I was 15 when it happened, and remember watching the live TV footage--hearing the survivor interviews. I was also one of the weird, heavily bullied kids--secretly struggling with depression and suicidal ideation. But I couldn't fathom the degree of hatred, selfishness, and sadism that had to have been required for those boys to seek fame in such a horrendous manner.

Peretti delves into the pain of his own intense verbal, emotional, and physical abuse history with an obvious air of "there, but for the grace of God, goeth I." He is transparent about fantasizing some dark, vengeful things. And in the context of what little was accurately known at the time, his intentions are quite admirable. He had a platform and a compelling experience--and he felt called to use them. He goes into depth, admonishing both Christians and the broader culture, for not being more aware and vocal to acknowledge the victims of bullying and interceding on their behalf. Yet, his tone is consistently conversational, kind, and even consoling.

"They pick on you because they are warped and maladjusted. For any number of reasons--a dysfunctional family, low self-esteem, low achievement, too much lead in their drinking water, or some other malady, real or imagined--they think they have to push their weight around ... Unless they have a major turnaround in their lives, they'll either wind up in prison or become DMV license examiners."

Peretti talks about a turning point in his young, tormented life. A moment when, at the very end of himself, he crafted a letter that got the attention of the right person--allowing him a way out of his locker-room nightmares. But unfortunately, this aspect is given more of a passing mention than I would have preferred. I didn't expect that the author would have kept a copy of said note for over 4 decades... but I would have loved for him to spend more time on it. Perhaps reconstruct the gist of the context and the emotion poured into it. As is, I came away curious but vaguely unsatisfied in this respect.

Overall, I applaud Mr. Peretti for his vulnerability and testimony. He was willing to lay open past hurts in the hope of helping others... and in that is both sacrifice and courage.
Profile Image for Mary Knipp.
45 reviews6 followers
May 2, 2023
My husband read this book years ago and asked all three children of ours to read it. I have read this book before but it's one that is worth reading again.
Challenge let's all be protectors and not bullies.
Profile Image for Linda.
472 reviews45 followers
December 6, 2015
I thought that I had purchased the unabridged version of Wounded Spirit. What I’m actually reviewing is the audio of a speech given by Peretti based on the book. In the speech, Peretti talks about his own wounded spirit and the societal consequences of bulling.

If you have children, I would, certainly, recommend sharing this audio with them. Peretti offers clarity, compassion and a viable solution. He asks us all to treat others as we would like to be treated. It is a simple idea, but can never really be stated too often. Peretti, also, calls on Christians to recognize their nobility and do more, urging them to actively defend victims of bulling. This audio is a great starting place for conversation with your family.
13 reviews
February 5, 2020
My parents gave me this book to read instead of taking concrete action when I was being bullied in middle school. -1,000,000/10
Profile Image for Jocelyn.
16 reviews1 follower
March 8, 2017
Interesting to now know Peretti's perspective...
Profile Image for Sherry.
85 reviews153 followers
September 7, 2019
Excellent Christian Book on bullying. How he overcame it!
June 12, 2017
This book was just okay. While it did address the subject of bullying and touched on the long term effects of it, and I did agree with some of what it had to say, it didn't offer any real solutions. I realize that this is a Christian book, but I was disappointed in the message that the solution to the problem of bullying and it's effects is only found in being a Christian. What about the rest of the population? The author admits himself that many Christians are bullies themselves, though he doesn't acknowledge that many people of other faiths or no faith at all are wonderful lovely people. I was extremely troubled by chapter six, which is all about how Christians are the only people who have any morals. Ick. I am a Christian myself, but I can't stand these kinds of attitudes that some Christians possess.
Profile Image for Lade.
200 reviews75 followers
July 16, 2013
this is a great book. it's about the reality of bullying and how people are affected by their experiences. there are too many quotes to get out of this book. it's good for the bully and the bullied

I recommend it for everyone.
Profile Image for Kristi Drillien.
Author 4 books13 followers
April 16, 2020
Peretti shares with us the difficulty he went through growing up with a medical condition that caused a deformity requiring many surgeries over his first handful of years. Fighting against infections and dealing with the condition left his body unable to develop as it should, and he went through school years smaller than the rest of his classmates. This led to years of persecution by his peers, and Peretti who was left feeling like those in authority had failed him, forcing him into the situation where he was bullied regularly, unable to do much of anything about it.

I read this entire book in one afternoon, and I won't pretend that it left me feeling happy. I went through a range of emotions while reading, which was mostly pity and sadness, but included elation when Peretti described a turning point for him, which simply took a teacher caring enough to ask if things were okay.

More than just an autobiography about this part of Peretti's life, he discusses the failure of teachers and other authority figures to keep kids from going through the same type of thing. The mindset that "we all went through it, you can too" or "it's just part of life" is a big part of what he addresses, saying that it's not nearly enough reason to turn a blind eye. That kids (and even adults) who are bullied suffer long-term effects that can cause problems in future relationships, and can lead to the bullied later becoming the bully. There have been a lot more anti-bullying programs started in the 20 years since this was written, but it does still happen.

He even puts out a challenge for those who see themselves as the victims to examine their lives for times when they might have been the bully. Even just laughing along when friends or peers are making fun of someone makes us guilty. It's a hard thing to think about, but it really made a difference for me.

This book gave me a whole new insight into and appreciation for my favorite author and his lovable nature, joviality, brilliance, insight, and heart for God. It also puts my own life into perspective. I recommend this book for...everyone, really.
Profile Image for Andrew Scholes.
293 reviews1 follower
November 16, 2019
What a GREAT book! I picked it up because I had read a couple other Peretti books (This Present Darkness, Piercing the Darkness) and enjoyed them. This is not what I expected. It is about bullying and the effect it has. He starts telling of his own experience in Junior High and High School, then discusses Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris (the Columbine shooters) and then applies those lessons to current day suggestions. He does not excuse Klebold and Harris for their actions but points out that a reason may have been their being bullied, not fitting in and no one noticing or helping.

This really resonated with me. I was bullied in the sixth and especially seventh grade at Greenhills Middle School. It is hard to do good work when you dread going to school each day and try to avoid the bullies as much as possible. You don't think you can tell others because things might get worse or you are concerned about being a snitch. That may not be so true today although I am sure it is in many schools. But in the '60's, that's how it was. My grades suffered and it was no fun. I still remember the name of the bully and can still see him in my mind.

Changing schools to Cincinnati Christian was the best thing that could have happened. I was still cautious because my bully lived not to far away from me. One time I was riding my bike by myself and wound up near his street. He was out and chased me until I could not get on my street.

I am sure that over the years there are people that I bullied. I cannot think of who they might be but I believe that the one bullied retains the memory much longer than the bullier.

I get asked at times, what is the best book you have read this year. This is it.
Profile Image for Carrie Daws.
Author 32 books139 followers
August 16, 2018
Quite honestly, I could relate to a lot in this book--on both sides of the issue. One line that stuck out to me from the side of having suffered comes from Chapter 7: "Quite simply, garbage does happen, and we've all been touched by it in some form at one time or another." Yes, we sure have.

But pretty much all of us are also ones who have caused suffering. Sometimes it is just following the crowd and sometimes it's thoughtlessness, but that doesn't change the outcome of it all, does it? In chapter 8, Mr. Peretti writes: "The depth of a person's character is not measured by his or her physical strength, but by the depth of his or her nobility." It makes me pause to think how I treat (in my heart and mind as well as in my manners) those who are weaker, more wounded, less sympathetic.

This is a thought provoking read. It doesn't provide a lot of answers, but instead asks probing questions that aren't commonly brought forth.
11 reviews
January 4, 2021
an excerpt:

"Any gift you receive from God is not for yourself, but for others. The strong are strong to protect the weak; those with abundance are blessed so they can help the needy; the smart and the wise are gifted to help the befuddled and foolish.

"The measure of a man is not his strength; it is the depth of his nobility. The measure of any person is how he or she treats those who are less gifted, less intelligent, and less able. The measure of a Christian is how willing he or she is to reach down and help those who are less fortunate - to take the strength and advantage they have to help those who have not.

"God has gifted you with strength. You should thank Him for that privilege by standing on that wall and telling others, 'Don't worry. Nobody's gonna hurt you, not on my watch.'"
Profile Image for Lynn.
67 reviews
March 21, 2021
I owned a copy of this book and read it when my son was in high school, which was very timely because my son had been bullied around that same time. This book helped tremendously, and a few years later I decided it needed to be shared with someone else. So, I registered it on BookCrossing, left it on a rocking chair outside a local Cracker Barrel, went inside to eat breakfast, and kept my eye on the rocking chair through the restaurant window. I watched as a woman picked it up, read the description on the back, thumbed through it, and then showed it to her husband. They both nodded, and then she tucked it inside her purse. Possibly a child of theirs was being bullied and they knew this book was for them. I felt it was, too.
Profile Image for Lindsay Duffy.
113 reviews
July 20, 2020
This book feels like a memoir/lecture on bullying. I read this because as a parent, I want to be ready to comfort my child if she is ever bullied. Peretti does not give a perfect solution that will help bullied children but that is primarily because he's going from personal experience. I do appreciate the questions he asked. Particularly, if bullying is wrong, why do we as parents turn a blind eye to it? I've seen it time and time again. Heck, I've experienced it. If anything, this book should get us parents thinking and discussing topics that have life-long consequences (like bullying), why it's wrong, and how to deal with it.
Profile Image for Jay Budzilowski.
76 reviews9 followers
September 9, 2022
The Wounded Spirit
By Frank Peretti
The true story of best-selling novelist Frank Peretti, who was bullied in his youth due to medical conditions.
“While we can all accept that bullying and abuse betray a lack or loss of respect for other human beings, there is a deeper issue: the devaluing of human life; and that in turn indicates a lack or loss of respect for the Giver of human life and dignity, God Himself. The message a bully sends is a mockery of God's handiwork, a lie that slanders God's nature and negates His love for us.”
I am not familiar with Peretti’s novels, but this memoir and call to action is both heart-breaking and inspiring.
Profile Image for Jason Harris.
Author 3 books21 followers
June 18, 2018
Written in 2000 soon after the Columbine School Shooting, this book addresses bullying and the use/misuse of power. Peretti seeks to address the woundedness that bullying can bring and the way it can remain unhealed for decades. If you're looking for a way to address the issues of abuse, power, and bullying from a Christian perspective, this book is accessible and useful, even for teenagers. Had it's message been taken to heart at the time, Columbine might have been the first and last rather than the first in a long line...
Profile Image for Rachel.
210 reviews1 follower
February 26, 2021
Written in 2000 shortly after the Columbine shooting, this book addresses bullying in the school setting and some of its consequences. Peretti was born with a condition that led to facial disfigurement and multiple surgeries. He also was significantly undersized as a child and middle school student, which led to him being bullied. Peretti offers suggestions for both the bullied and the bully.

I read this book a second time since I'm a health/PE teacher and bullying is one of the topics covered in health.
Profile Image for Amber.
360 reviews
February 20, 2017
I feel like this book tore a hole in me.. lol.
You read it and keep saying, "I've been there. I've done that. I've felt that way.."
It's a real soul opener... It will make you feel uncomfortable. It will make you cry.
But it was such a good read. This book changed the way I thought about things and
left me feeling like I wasn't alone in some of my old situations.....

Be prepared to loose yourself and regain some pieces...
Profile Image for Becky.
330 reviews
July 15, 2017
Powerful little book that should be required reading for teachers or anyone that has been affected by bullying. Frank Peretti deals with a subject he has been well acquainted with since his own difficult childhood, but he doesn't stop there or have a "poor me" attitude....and as you will learn if you read the book, attitudes matter! I found this book insightful and soul-searching. Despite the subject matter, it was a quick read and held my interest.
September 4, 2018
The first 3-4 chapter where amazing. I was just gobbling up the pages, and even had tears at the end of one chapter.
Then once the stories stopped it got a little boring for me, and preachy. Don’t get me wrong, I agree with the message and it reads well. I just found it boring after a while. I had to force myself through the rest.
It’s not a bad read though and gets you thinking about our own life and the lessons we get through life.
Profile Image for Cindy.
147 reviews
October 26, 2019
Quick, easy read. Every human being should read this book, especially teachers, parents and those who work with children, but in reality, everyone could learn from it. Frank Peretti conveys how bullying, abuse, belittling, etc. woulds spirits and how often, that results in the wounded becoming the bullier. But...more importantly, he reminds us all that we can stop this behavior at any time. Best of all, he writes in story form, so it's easy to read, understand and feel.
Profile Image for David Szatkowski.
911 reviews
June 3, 2020
This book addresses the author's own experience of bullying and the wounded spirit that accompanies it. The author uses his own experience to give hope, conversion, and healing to others. The resources at the end of the book are dated (the book is 20 years old) but the mentality that the author challenges and ways of living that he encourages are as relevant today as then and as needed as when written.
Profile Image for Analía Dayhanna.
72 reviews1 follower
November 27, 2022
When i bought this book, and the i started reading it, i never expected something like this, i thought this was some suspense or terror book for the cover, but i wasn't expecting a biography.
i didn't usually read books like this kind, and was a big surprise.
If its true im not religious was i great experience read this book, i feel like gave me a new vision of how cruelty can the humans be.
234 reviews
September 5, 2018
This book was written on the heels of the Columbine school shooting, but don’t begin to think that the content is dated. That bullying has been and continues to be meted out cannot simply be accepted. Believers, especially need to be actively protecting those who for whatever reason, including no reason at all, become targets of “wounded spirits.” The message is well delivered.
Profile Image for Sarah.
55 reviews1 follower
January 13, 2020
An excellent book about the impact of bullying on the human spirit. I recommend this book for anyone who has been wounded, as well as to anyone in authority (including teachers). This book truly dives into the issue of bullying and mistreating others, and provides the solution through thinking of the inherent worth that God has bestowed on every human being. Very, very good book.
Profile Image for Rodney.
81 reviews
December 7, 2021
A great book by the father of Christian fiction. But this book is non-fiction. It's about his life growing up being bullied because of some physical abnormalities he had grown up with and how he overcame them. He has another book on bullying called "No More Bullies" that he wrote prior to this. I recommend both.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 142 reviews

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