Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

When a Book changes a life

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The Gainesville Sun is reporting on Christopher Mark Smith, a genuinely evil sicko.

Smith, it turns out, was apparently repeatedly sexually molesting a very young girl; he had been doing so for years. This creep was also trying to get the 11-year old girl to perform a pornographic live-feed video.

For that alone, Dante will need the 10th circle.

Now Smith is in jail.

This would normally not be the kind of story that warrants our attention, except for a side narrative many of our readers might find fascinating.

The young girl, it turns out, was motivated to report her ongoing sexual abuse after a teacher read her class a book — “Lauren’s Kingdom.”

From the book, she learned not only about what was happening, but it also gave her guidance and courage to report the abuse to a trusted authority figure.

And that is exactly what she did.

laurens-kingdomLauren’s Kingdom!

Ring a bell? For our regular readers, it most certainly does.

“Lauren’s Kingdom” was written several years ago by newly elected Florida Sen. Lauren Book and is now part of a sexual abuse education curriculum used in over 65,000 classrooms throughout the state.

And the book — and Book — changed that little girl’s life.

Sadly, there is no happy ending here. As we know, this kind of sexual abuse leaves permanent and everlasting scars, ones that could take many years to heal.

Hopefully, that healing begins today.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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