☆☆ Book Review ☆☆ Holding on to Hurt by Charlotte Roth

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

Irene Hurt’s life is perfect and she cherishes every moment with her son and her husband, until … the day she gets the call every mother dreads. Her son, Scottie is injured in a mass school shooting and is rushed to the ICU, where he’s put into a medically induced coma to wait out his fate. Devastated, her husband pulls away and even tries to convince Irene to remove Scottie’s life support, to save his son from a life of lesser existence. But, Irene refuses to give up hope.

On her journey through grief, denial, anger and finally, acceptance, Irene discovers more about the events of that tragic day, the boy who shot her son and then took his own life, and the husband she thought she knew and could trust. Will Scottie pull through? Or, will Irene accept that sometimes, the best thing a mother can do for her child is let go?

Set in the darkest hours of winter in Seattle, Holding on to Hurt tells the gripping story of one mother’s fight to keep her son alive, no matter what she has to sacrifice.


As a parent this is obviously one of your worst nightmares: Three students and the bus driver are killed in a school shooting by another student, and then the student turns the gun on himself. This is a story that is unfortunately so common in the US anymore, many don’t even look up from their breakfast anymore.

But what if it happened at your child’s school, on your child’s bus. What if you come to find out that your child was involved? How would you be able to handle the next couple weeks? The next couple years?

An intricate examination of what it is like to be in another parents shoes, Charlotte Roth takes us on an emotional journey of two people faced with the impossible decision to either hope that their son wakes up from his coma, or to pull the plug and move one without him.

The author tackled some pretty heavy subjects in this book, including but not limited to gun violence and the decision to end life saving measures. It was gritty and raw in its attempt to bring you a story that too many Americans (as well as globally) are becoming familiar with today.

There were times when it was almost painful for me to read, the connection to what I felt in a similar but much less dire situation was so strong (our newborn twins were in the NICU for 2 months). The feeling of being a mother and seeing your children in an emergency situation is never easy, even if they are just getting a cavity filled you want to make them comfortable and not in pain. Not being able to help your son while he lies lifeless in a hospital bed leaves a person feeling helpless and hopeless.

Everyone likes to say that they know exactly what they would do in this situation, but as a parent I don’t think you do until you are faced with it. This story forces you to look behind the curtain and feel Irene’s pain and the impending loss of her son, and consequently, her marriage.

Well written and fast paced, this was a story that was so much more about the characters rather than the action happening in the story, although that had me at the edge of my seat also. The author was able to make you care about them and feel what they were feeling. I liked her last book Dancing Queen, but this one cemented Roth into my heart as one of my favorite authors. What a wide scope of writing! I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!

All the proceeds earned for the month of June will be donated to Sandy Hook Promise so get your copy today!

*I was given this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review.*

You can purchase this book on Amazon

You can read this review and others about this book on Goodreads

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Sara is a book hobbit that lives in a house of all boys, located in the promised land. Books stack the walls to the ceiling in some places, and she just keeps adding more. She was raised on top of a mountain that is locked in the dead of winter ten months of the year. She wears a size eleven shoe and enjoys her chicken cooked on the BBQ grill. In addition to reading she enjoys pinning crafts on Pinterest that she will never make and watching movies about people with sad lives or documentaries about serial killers.

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