A dysfunctional childhood leads to bad relationships and personally destructive behavior in this debut memoir that chronicles the author’s search for self-respect, love, and stability.
It’s been a rocky road for Rozeau. During his childhood, he says, he and his siblings were little valued, emotionally and physically abused, and scorned by an unforgiving extended family. As a result, despite his professional success in the Canadian military police, he remained walled off from interpersonal relationships. Hurt and anger spill from almost every page of this recollection, reflecting emotions that have apparently been simmering for decades. The titular devils are the two women with whom the author had relationships in 2006 and 2013. The first is the mother of his young daughter; the second, he allowed himself to love. But both relationships, he says, became toxic. The first woman, he says, filed falsified charges of domestic abuse against him and attempted to keep him from his daughter; the lengthy legal battle that ensued nearly wiped him out financially, and the thought of losing his daughter drove him to consider suicide. The other, he says, was a skillful liar who consistently cheated on him, yet he says that he found it almost impossible to completely break ties with her, due to his need for validation and companionship. His daughter, however, remains the true light of his life, and he writes of her with total joy and devotion. For her, he says, he threw himself into intensive therapy and began the journey of self-discovery. This memoir is no small part of that process, and it’s a cathartic expulsion of grievances and self-recriminations. Born and raised in Montreal, Rozeau didn’t learn to speak English until 2005, when he was 26 years old, so it’s an impressive achievement that he’s written this volume in his adopted language. However, the text would likely have benefited from stronger editing to cut down on linguistic errors and content repetition. Although the small quirks in phraseology are fine, even additive, the erratic grammatical errors are confusing and disruptive to the flow of the overall narrative.
A disquieting, uneven read, but one that’s ultimately optimistic.