Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten." Most of us will experience or know someone who experienced domestic violence. This book provides a realistic, and often scary, portrayal of domestic violence that engulfs readers from page one. Fischer wastes no time by detailing the last brutal attack that almost took her life. After the initial pages my stomach knotted and threatened to throw up my dinner. I was uncertain if I could finish the book due to the vivid, graphic details. This upset me. How could I even think of not reading this book? This is based on experiences someone lived through and survived. I owe it to Lindsay Fischer to read this story of survival. Also, I knew I had to read on to educate myself on a subject I knew very little about. Once my stomach settled, I naively and harshly I wondered how the relationship got to that point.
Fischer's narrative weaves details of Sarafina's personal life including her story of being torn between two careers she loves-teaching and writing. In the midst of her professional turmoil, Sarafina begins a budding relationship with Mike. My skepticism in the beginning of the book turned into understanding as Sarafina falls for Mike. Fischer eloquently deceives readers by making Mike seem like the perfect gentleman for Sarafina. He possesses confidence, charm, and charisma with a beautiful physique. Before I knew it, I was falling for Mike along with Sarafina. He even supports her when she leaves her teaching career to pursue writing. The first verbal and physical lashings from Mike shock readers just as much as the protaganist. How can this be the same Mike from earlier in the book?! The nightmare continues for pages as readers grapple with the downward spiral that becomes Sarafina's life.
I cherish the perspective Fischer provides on what it is like being in an abusive relationship. Fischer's writing corrected my misconceptions about domestic violence, but without admonishment. As one that has not experienced domestic abuse personally, I will be forever grateful for the raw, emotionally-charged narrative that taught me the many facets of abuse. Fischer's narrative educates by simply explicating her experiences. What I love most about the story is that it is one of survival. I learned that leaving the abuser is just the first step on the long journey of healing. Again, naively, I believed Sarafina would heal relatively quickly after leaving the abuse. Fischer unabashedly kills my false hope as she details the internal war that wreaks havoc on survivors. The invisible, internal struggle is one that often cannot be conquered alone. I thank Fischer for the plethora of resources she provides readers. Above all else, readers learn to speak boldly and act swiftly in life. Fisher ends profoundly by stating, "My hope for my readers is simple: that you find yourself in a place to speak out about the
injustices you face. Our stories don’t define us, but they shape where we head. Sometimes that’s a
good thing. Sometimes it’s the worst. It’s not about how you got here or why you stayed, it’s about
why it shouldn’t have happened."