Friday, March 8, 2019

Tears in a Bottle - A Memorable Novel by Sylvia Bambola

Tears in a Bottle by Sylvia Bambola is a gripping story of a hidden part of the contemporary culture. The story of betrayal, hurt, and triumph accurately portrays the real truth behind the political correctness of a woman's right to choose
Vicki Thorn
Executive Director, National Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation & Healing

Becky Taylor tried to fly past her father when she heard the car beep. “See you.” 
“Not so fast, young lady! Where’re you going?” 
“Dad, I’m late. The guys are waiting.” Becky cringed. Wrong word. 
“What guys?” “Paula, Katie, the crowd.”
Jim Taylor turned in his chair to peek out the window at Paula Manning’s red Nissan. 
“They aren’t guys, Becky.” She let out an exasperated sigh, and her father turned from the window and looked at her. “Becky Taylor, what’s that purple all over your lips!” 
Becky planted her hands on her hips. She had been planting her hands on her hips like that since she was two years old. As she did, her little cotton top rode up and exposed her navel. She quickly dropped her arms. “If you think you’re going out half dressed, think again. I’ll not have a daughter of mine prancing around the neighborhood with her…with her belly sticking out!”
The teen’s hands were back on her hips. “My belly’s not sticking out.” 
“Upstairs and change. And wipe that goo off your face!” 
“Mom.” The car honked again. “Mom!” Nancy Taylor came from the kitchen drying her hands on a towel. “Mom, what’s wrong with this outfit? Daddy’s never happy unless I look like a geek.” 
Becky watched her mother’s eyes seek out her father’s. “Go change,” her mother said softly. 
“Go change!” Becky gave her mother a hurt look, then stomped upstairs, but not too loudly. 
When she got to her room, she tore off her top, threw it on the floor, and ransacked her drawers. She took out the green tank she had previously borrowed from Paula and pulled it over her head, then went to the mirror. “Hi Raggedy,” she said, pushing her doll aside to find her comb. “Boy are you lucky you don’t have parents to boss you around all the time.” The doll slumped over and Becky readjusted it so it sat upright against the corner of the mirror. The doll was old and worn, with a tear above one eye. Still, it was the only doll she hadn’t either thrown away or given to the Children’s Hospital in town. Paula said it was because Becky was still a child at heart. Becky giggled. What would Paula think now, if she heard Becky talking to it?
She heard the car honk again and quickly combed her hair. At once, Becky’s eyes went to her mouth. They always did. She wished her lips weren’t so big, so clown-like. Sometimes she’d look at herself and think of a circus. Her mother said she was pretty, but mothers couldn’t be trusted. They always said dumb things like that, as though it was their job or something. She once heard Mary Lou Potter’s mom tell Mary Lou she had the prettiest face of all the girls in her class. Mary Lou Potter? The girl had to be at least a hundred pounds overweight. Just proved her point. Mothers lie. 
So why did Becky believe Skip when he told her she was pretty? Because Skip wasn’t her mom, and guys don’t lie about a girl’s looks…unless.… But that was another matter. 
From the top of the stairs, Becky could see the back of her father’s chair. She thought of bolting down the steps and straight out the door, but stopped herself when she heard her mother’s voice. “She’s seventeen,” Becky heard her mother say. “You need to give her some slack.” Becky heard the snap of her father’s Gazette. 
“She’s pretty like you, Nance, and pretty’s not an asset. Becky’ll find that out. Flowers attract bees and bees are only interested in gathering pollen for their own use.” Becky backed away from the stairs and pressed herself against the wall. 
“No matter how hard you try, you’re not going to be able to stop her from growing up. You have to start letting go. She’s seventeen.” 
“You were only eighteen, remember?” 
“We’re talking about Becky.” 
“You want your daughter going out looking like a trollop?” 
“She wants to fit in. All the kids dress like that.” 
“Like hookers?” Becky bit into her lip. 
“Oh for heaven’s sake, Jim.” 
“I don’t think we should be reminding heaven, do you? An apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, Nance.” 
“Becky’s not me.” 
“No. Becky’s going to college.” 
Becky remained pressed against the wall for several minutes after the conversation ended. Only when she heard the noise of pots and pans banging in the kitchen did she slink down the stairs and out the door.

Tears in a Bottle
You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book. 

By Sylvia Bambola

When I saw the title of this book, Tears in a Bottle, on the wall at Reviewers Roundup, I was intrigued--enough to go out and buy it to learn more...

Of course, much is written about abortion, but I had not read a book from the standpoint of the individual--the one who had actually had one... 

Dear Diary, Today I became a real woman. Funny thing is, I don’t feel more grown up. I feel…betrayed. It was nothing like the movies make it out to be. It was awkward and embarrassing and…painful. It’s not supposed to be like this, is it? Maybe it was my fault. Maybe it’s me. I’m beginning to think there’s something seriously wrong with me. I thought I loved Skip desperately, madly. But something wasn’t right. I tried to fake it. I told Skip it was wonderful for me. I don’t think he believed me. I could tell by the caring way he spoke to me afterwards, telling me it would be better next time, that it usually gets better and better. But what he said didn’t comfort me at all. The only words
that kept ringing in my ears and that filled me with dread were “next time.” Because suddenly I knew there was going to be a next time, and a next time, and a next time. As long as I keep going out with Skip, there could be a thousand “next times.” Because now, how could I ever say “no” to him again? So, Diary, you want to know how it feels to be a woman? It feels sad. It feels very very sad.

“Every day in this country, forty to fifty women are either critically injured or killed by abortion and—” 
“Maybe neither you nor your people went into that building and pulled that trigger, but you had a hand in it. You have to be held accountable.” 
“Every day, 416 additional women are added to the list of those suffering from post abortion syndrome.” 
Jim Taylor wiped his hands on his handkerchief. “I’ll spare you more statistics, Mr. Taylor, but believe me, there are a lot of hurting, damaged women walking around, hurt and damaged by their abortions. 
The more pressured a girl is to have an abortion, the more severe her post abortion syndrome.”

This is the story of Becky, in those teen years where peer relationships mean more than her parents' goals for her life. Becky and Skip had been dating and were in love. But did that next step really have to come. Her female friends thought nothing of it, so encouraged her to just go ahead and do it...

She did...and the very night that she had sex with Skip, she regretted it. Even his words of love could not take away her sadness--she knew it was wrong...

And when she became pregnant, Becky panicked...

The author has created a provocative, yet somewhat over-dramatized story of the clinic at which Becky and others had sought an abortion. Extensive drama surrounds this portion of the book--necessary perhaps, but still very hard to read... The chance of having multiple issues about the clinic, related to criminal activities may not be fair; however, the way it is written, allows readers to consider the various potential crimes which may surround the use of abortion for profitable gain... Something quite different than the debate normally seen.

The bright spot of the book is Maggie Singer, leader of the Community Life Center. While she was not politically involved, she was placed in the midst of things because of her job. Many against abortion would seek her help in some way or another, so that she often spoke as the representative to the Assembly.

He was pointing out to her again that abortion was legal and it didn't help his job to have clinics picketed. Maggie quickly asked whether it was legal to have the abortion performed by a drunken doctor--and further, was it legal for the doctor to carve his initials into the stomach of his patient?! And, further, was it appropriate for him to also rape his patient?

No, it was clear that something was very wrong at the largest and most successful clinic in the surrounding area... Many were trying to get solid documentation on what was happening. In the meantime, Maggie would bring information she learned about, trying to help the investigation that was underway.

But Maggie's real concern was always for the girls themselves. Those who came to the Life Center when there was nowhere they could go... But she could not seek their help while they suffered still...

“A room full of them, Kirt. Broken, hurt, damaged. I see them every day. I have to look into their eyes, watch them fight the tears, the self-hatred. It will take years before these girls are whole again.” 
“Will any of them testify?”
“Come on, you know better than that.” 
“So what can I do?”
 “Make the State Health Department do regular inspections. They’re supposed to anyway, but don’t. If it were anything other than an abortion clinic, the Health Department would be all over them. When are they going to stop protecting this industry?”

When Becky realized that she was pregnant, Skip immediately started talking about getting an abortion. Skip had suggested that they attend a seminar which was approved by the principal and others, but when she and Skip attended, and she saw some of the material, she was disgusted, wondering if she was wrong about things... but went through with the abortion... because her father told her to...

Maggie led a group of 10, called the Project Rachel. They had all had abortions and had come to regret it. The symbolism of the final weeks of class ceremony was conceptually one of the most significant parts of the book for me...

And Becky was just about to begin the next group of Project Rachel... She had seen how Skip treated her after the abortion and knew it would never be the same for them...But now she had to deal with her own life...I found empathy for those girls and women who had gotten into trouble, but did not want to be pressured to abort the child.

Maggie spends many hours talking to the women who come to her Center... Perhaps that is the most important part of the book and which I highly recommend... For we learn that God collects the tears of those women, and helps use those tears to heal and feel His love...

But, at the same time, Maggie started to receive threats--to her work, her job, and possibly to her life... Praying first, Kirt, who loved Maggie, and her went to report everything that had been happening to the police...

Abortion is still legal at the time of your reading this book. Perhaps there will always be strong disagreement about the issue. But, for me, learning about those women who have been pressured to abort, with resulting trauma and a strong sense of guilt, has put a different view into that ongoing discussion...

Maggie spends many hours talking to the women who come to her Center... Perhaps that is the most important part of the book and which I highly recommend... For we learn that God collects the tears of those women, and helps use those tears to heal and feel His love... And be renewed...


Born in Romania, Sylvia Bambola lived her early years in Germany. At seven she relocated with her adopted family and saw the Statue of Liberty and America for the first time. But the memory of those years in Germany inspired her to write Refiner's Fire, which won a Silver Angel Award, and was a Christy Finalist. Her frequent moves as an "army brat" gave her an opportunity to see America and fall in love with her new country. Bambola has authored eight novels, has two grown children and teaches women's Bible studies.

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