A sincere and moving collection of detailed narratives by abused and battered women, from the author of Getting Free, a handbook for battered women. NiCarthy, who spent seven years assembling this book, offers in-depth portraits and first-person accounts of 33 battered women in order to illustrate her point that these women, rather than being ""all of a piece,"" span economic classes, races, and sexual orientations. Hidden in the long, anecdotal accounts by these women, however, are the bits and pieces of life with an abusive partner, and the bravery required to break free. NiCarthy's portraits also clarify each woman's reasons for leaving, which range from being afraid their partner might eventually kill them or their children, to the realization the partner won't change, to a newfound confidence that they could survive on their own. Throughout, NiCarthy emphasizes that a crucial component of successfully leaving an abusive relationship is to use work, support groups, counselors, and classes to rebuild confidence and meet new people; in like vein, her subjects offer advice on finding new partners who will treat them well. All of NiCarthy's advice is direct and practical: indeed, abused women can use this volume as a guide to find ways to use friends, families, and professionals to support their effort to break away. NiCarthy's book will primarily interest abused and battered/1987 women and those who work with them; but as a sociological document, it's also well-done and reliable.