She said yes: The unlikely martyrdom of Cassie Bernall
192 pages, Mass Market, Paperback, ISBN: 978 0743400527
This is a great book. It is the story of a teenage martyr in America, who stood up for her faith to the end. Cassie Bernall was shot during the Columbine High School Massacre in 1999.
She showed amazing courage to give the simple answer ‘Yes’ when asked by the shooters, ‘Do you believe in God?’ It would have been so easy to say ‘No’, but she didn’t, and as a consequence was shot.
We often hear stories of people who wouldn’t renounce their faith in the face of death, but they normally took place a long time ago. Those are great to learn about, but here is something that took place only eleven years ago.
The story is told by her mother and includes the struggles they had with Cassie in the years prior to her conversion; Cassie’s conversion; the events surrounding her martyrdom; and how they as a family coped with it.
It includes statements from friends of Cassie and other people who knew her, helping to get a full picture of Cassie’s life. The concluding ‘Reflections’ chapter is helpful for thinking about the lessons of the book.
The events surrounding Cassie’s martyrdom are a bit sketchy, which is inevitable as the author has used eyewitnesses to put together a picture of the events. But it is all very honest, seeking to show their daughter as she really was and not hail her as the perfect teen. At the same time Misty does not belittle her amazing courage.
Cassie was no angel during her teenage years. The book deals with many challenges that parents face when raising a teenager and shows that parents do not always know everything about their child at this point in their lives.
It is the book’s honesty that sets it apart from others. I don’t know if you have noticed, but people tend to talk up the life of someone when they die and try to make them sound better than they were. This is what I was expecting here, but Misty does not do that. This is due to Misty being a Christian and wanting to show her daughter as she really was.
As the book shows the aches and pains of raising a teenager, it may help you sympathise with your parents when you realise that they have a tough job (OK, well maybe you can sympathise with them for a minute!).
It is easy to read and thought provoking. I thoroughly recommend it to every teenager, especially those dealing with death. Some of the struggles that Cassie went through, you may be experiencing, and it will be helpful to see that there is an answer. The story puts life in perspective and makes you ask if you too are serious enough about your faith to be able to stand up when it really counts.
You cannot know if you would stand fast in the face of death, unless you are faced with the situation; but it is helpful to think about how seriously you take your faith in Christ.