An astute investigation into repeated patterns of abuse and victimhood.

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WHY DO YOU STAY?

BASED ON ONE SURVIVOR’S TRUE STORY FROM ABUSED, TO LEAVING, REBUILDING AND FINALLY THRIVING

In her debut memoir, Lee painstakingly re-creates her experiences of domestic violence and charts her journey toward self-assurance.

In one of the author’s earliest memories, she recalls her nonreligious father bringing a gun to a Tuesday night Jehovah’s Witness church service and waving it around, as she and her religious mother sat in a pew. She says that her mother talked him down, as she so often did during his verbal and physical abuse, but it foreshadowed events to come. After spending time in a mental hospital, she says, her father shot an older man dead in a car near their home—an event that Lee witnessed. Although he coached her to say that she’d seen nothing, he was eventually arrested, found guilty, and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Later, she says, her high school boyfriend pressured her into sex and then marriage. She temporarily left college to run his grocery store, but when his bullying turned physical and he broke her ribs, she left him. Divorced at 23, she stumbled into an abusive relationship with a man who broke her jaw during a drunken blackout, she says; even so, she stayed with him for six years. Lee’s vivid recall of decades-past events is impressive. Along the way, she effectively interjects psychological insights that she’s gained about various people’s motives. Only with hindsight, for example, has she understood that she repeated her mother’s behavior and internalized blame for bad situations in her life: “My self-worth was nearly nonexistent,” she notes. Her use of the present tense for accounts of her memories allows readers to be there in the moment, experiencing her fear and feeling compassion for her. Later, she insists that the cycle of violence only ends when one admits it: “to stop seeing yourself as a victim of abuse, you must stop denying that the abuse occurred.” A late section, regarding a feud with a neighbor and her own decision to drop the legal battle against the man who broke her jaw, is overlong, but it emphasizes the value of abandoning one’s desire for revenge.

An astute investigation into repeated patterns of abuse and victimhood.

Pub Date: June 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-692-88445-4

Page Count: 292

Publisher: Bond Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2018

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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