Monday, September 21, 2015

Character Profile - Georgia Byers

Starting on the weekly schedule I have created Mondays will be Character Profiles and with the release of Survivor coming out in just a few short weeks I wanted to focus on characters from that book. It would make sense to look at Jasmine, the main character, though I have talked about her in the past. I could always go to the opposite side of the spectrum and showcase Tyler Winegard, the boyfriend in the book, and I am sure in the upcoming weeks I will discuss him. But today I wanted to take a look at a much lesser noticed character, Georgia, Jasmine's mother.

Based in more ways than I can count on my own mother, Georgia is a strong and life affirming person that is left sadly deep in the dark about her daughter's struggles with an abusive boyfriend and dwindling self worth. She is caring, dedicated and does everything she believes is right unknowingly helping to keep Jasmine in her relationship. Jasmine hides what is happening from Georgia. She is so manipulated that she believes either that her mother and father will side with Tyler and therefore see her as a let down and a failure. Or they will end the relationship and Jasmine believes that without the attention and so-called affection she receives from him that her life will no longer matter.

There is a moment in the book that Jasmine considers suicide. I have not been public with it before but that scene is nearly identical to the night I sat crying next to my parent's liquor cabinet determined to end my own life. The internal dialogue is almost verbatim as I fought with my own mind about whether to live or die. Obviously I made it but just having the knowledge that I ever sat there considering it weighs on my heart everyday. My own mother, the inspiration for Georgia, had no idea that night ever happened. Like her literary counterpart finding out broke her heart.

Georgia stands by Jasmine when she finally decides to fight back and her will to live and seek justice overpowers her fears. My ending was different and though Jasmine is able to stand up for herself as I have now been able to do it took years longer for me to reach that level and my mother just recently had the chance to beta read Survivor and that was how she found out about so much of what I went through. Georgia because it is part of the story finds out much faster but whether it took just a few years like in the book or over a decade as in real life Georgia, my mom, has been more loving, supportive and helpful in the recovery process that anyone could have expected.

She is a minor character with a major impact and I could not have had my own story of survival without her. Thank you to Georgia and of course my mother for being everything I could have ever needed and more.

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