It's hard for people on the outside not to judge. When it comes to spousal abuse, Kendall felt like many others. That would never be her. After her longstanding relationship with her boyfriend of almost two decades dissolves, Kendall wants to live her own life for once. She doesn't realize at first, though, that this means sacrificing her relationship with her children and falling prey to an abusive man. Her desire for independence becomes a struggle to survive.
This was a tough topic to cover. From the beginning, I wondered how I was going to be able to connect with Kendall and understand her choices. I wasn't sure it was possible, but Ramsey surprised me with the strength of her writing. The emotional intensity of this book was captivating. She was somehow able to make Kendall's decisions seem realistic enough that I understood her and sympathized with her. Yes, I wanted Kendall to make the right choice and leave at the first sign of danger, but I knew she couldn't because Ramsey did such a good job of letting me get inside Kendall's head.
The other characters in this book were very deep and complicated as well. The boyfriend, Michael, was so childish in the beginning, but the personal change he experienced throughout the story developed him into someone I cared about as well. Their son, Jules, wasn't a big player in the book as far as page time, but he did a great job of tying the family members together and giving a different look to each situation, especially in dealing with his sister, Diamond.
Diamond was another great aspect of this book. I felt like I connected with Diamond even more than Kendall at times. As a teenage girl struggling to deal with her parents splitting up, her mom remarrying, and basically being abandoned, Diamond acts out and makes choices she never would have made otherwise. It was heartbreaking to watch Diamond stumble through choices made just to escape what was happening at home. She ends up putting herself in dangerous situations and then is forced to face ridicule and harassment when her secrets are revealed. Not many books make me tear up, but this one did as I watched Diamond's world fall apart around her.
This book was heart wrenching the whole way through. It's a hard one to put down between watching Kendall convince herself she deserves the life she leads and watching Diamond tear her life apart. The emotion in this book was developed very well and expertly woven through each chapter. This is a book that will stay with me for some time.