92+/100 (9.2+ out of 10)
Born to Survive is a powerful, emotional, and moving autobiography by Kylie-Anne Evans that explores her turbulent life and relationships. This new edition greatly impressed us. Whatever happened with the editing and revising really made a huge difference. This is now a solid, good book about a very inspiring person—a survivor in every sense of the word.
Something that really stands out in this book is Kylie-Anne's impressive memory. The author seems to have a photographic memory of just about everything—from the way something felt in her hands to the way something smelled. It's visceral. While there appears to be an overarching theme surrounding the author's quest to find true love and to care for her children in a way that she wasn't cared for, it's the little, subtle things that we appreciate the most.
For example, there are little side stories in here that had us captivated. You really get a sense of Australia (where most of this book takes place) and what it's like to be surrounded by such exotic fauna.
For example, there's a time when the author's dad runs over a snake on the road that then suspiciously goes missing when they drive past it again. There's the time (or, rather, two times) when the author encounters a spider the “size of a plate!” Everyone who has a fear of creepy crawlies can relate!
Australia itself is a character in this story, and we greatly appreciated that.
The writing is significantly improved from earlier versions of this book. It seems as though you can really see, sense, and feel the author's growth as a person as this book goes on. That was missing a little in the earlier version, which seemed more like a series of unfortunate events detailed verbatim. This time around, it's like these unfortunate events are building blocks and learning experiences, as they should be.
You can see the author grow and improve, becoming more independent, self-sufficient, and driven. It's very inspiring! For instance, we have the author's realization that “people come, people go.”
Now, this book could come with every trigger warning in the book. Be warned. There are instances of child abuse, sexual abuse, domestic abuse, drug abuse/addiction, death (including that of an newborn), and more. Similar to something like When to Run, Born Scared or Fictionally Nonfiction, the book is filled to the brim with trauma. And it hits hard.
In particular, the authors relationships with their father, Scott, Luke, and Jacob are incredibly fascinating, albeit uncomfortable at times. You can tell that the author really loved Jacob in particular, and you can see the spark in that relationship. It's also easy to sympathize with Luke, really the first man to treat the author with any kind of respect or dignity. Scott is terrifying at times, but it's interesting to read about times when he was vaguely concerned or emotional about things. Similar to Their Eyes Were Watching God, you see the protagonist learn from and grow from every experience and relationship.
If you can stomach stories of emotional trauma and abuse, this book might really pull on your heartstrings.
Check it out on Amazon!