Review | Nowhere But Up by Pattie Mallette

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Nowhere but Up: The Story of Justin Bieber's Mom by Pattie Mallette
Revell | September 2012

Eating Ketchup chips, begging parents for cable TV, schoolgirl crushes and bike rides are all joyous childhood memories — but not for all. Although Pattie Mallette reveals details of her happier memorable childhood moments, one that we could all relate to, it is marred by the jarring explicit details of her experiences with sexual abuse as an adolescent and her teenage tribulations inhibited by drug use and various misdemeanors.

In Pattie Mellette’s autobiography Nowhere But Up, she finally finds her voice by giving the reader a detailed account of her broken childhood. Her candid testimony gives hope and voice to many suffering from surreptitious sexual abuse. The majority of her narrative lingers in heartbreak, beginning with her own birth into an atmosphere of suffering due to the recent death of a sibling, a disconnection between with her biological father and stepfather, clandestine sexual abuses, rape and rejection, attempted suicide and the struggle as a single parent.

I closed the book numerous times wondering (as her title proposes) when will we “go up” and will it be enough to make us keep going? Her morose narrative does not undermine her intentions to inspire, but rather strengthens the epiphany. Once we know her full narrative, then we can experience a fraction of her full joy as she realizes GOD IS REAL.

Even with a Godly revelation, we cannot assume that all things will suddenly turn out for the better. She depicts a life where faith is constantly needed, not complacent faith but an active faith. A true Job-esque story.

Although the target audience may appeal towards single mothers, women and “Bielebers”, as a male reader, I’ve learnt the importance of a male figure in a woman’s life. As you read on, you will try to find characters to blame (mostly male for me) for Pattie’s broken childhood. Regardless of this natural inclination to blame people, Pattie actually refrains from blaming anyone for her misfortune. This experience will force an introspective look at our own relationships.

This may be a story of Justin Bieber’s mom, but even without the reference to the pop superstar, her testimony will stand. The publicity is certainly strategic for sales but also for viewership; the youth (whether female or male) need to read this. Her voice is your voice. Be heard. In the words of John, the one who led Pattie to Christ, “What do you have to lose?”

Used by permission. Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications Inc. Available from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.