A brave and honest account that illuminates the trauma suffered by rape survivors and their loved ones.

CODE: 10-71

VICTIM TO VICTOR

A debut memoir recounts the details of a harrowing, brutal rape and the author’s difficult path to recovery.

When Morehouse (a rape counselor at the time) returned to her town house in Edmonds, Washington, one night in May 1993, she had no idea that the next few hours would permanently change her life. She took her terrier-poodle mix, Puka, out for a walk, finished counting the proceeds from the coffee shop she owned, and climbed into bed. The next thing she remembered was lying face down on the floor of her bedroom, a man’s knee digging into her back, and his first words: “Shut up! We’re going to kill you!” Then she felt something sharp piercing her shoulder. What followed were hours of torment. The 21-year-old assailant pounded her head on the floor and against furniture, cut her with his knife, and raped her repeatedly while threatening to murder her. Finally, while he was looking for her cash, Morehouse was able to find her gun. Battered as she was, she took command of the situation, firing shots at the man later identified as Allan Ray Chesnutt and forcing him to lie on the floor until the police arrived. She had caught the serial rapist who had been plaguing the area. She was hailed as a “hero,” but this brought her no comfort: “Being labeled a hero was almost as hard as being labeled a victim—I just wanted my life back.” It would take years of therapy and several unhealthy relationships before she regained control of her life. In an account at once deeply personal and starkly specific, Morehouse relates each moment of the assault with riveting and frightening clarity. Readers will breathe a sigh of relief when the police arrive to find Chesnutt doubled over on the bathroom floor with the author holding her gun on him. But the heart of the book is yet to come. It rests in the many steps—and mistakes— of her lengthy journey back to self-confidence and self-reliance. It is chilling to watch her become involved in a series of emotionally abusive relationships. For her, at that stage, it was more terrifying to be alone: “Many times after the attack I believed there was nothing I could do to change things, I just allowed them to happen. I allowed myself to be victimized which kept me immersed in a victim mentality; helpless, needy and vulnerable.” Morehouse’s prose is fluid, but she has a proclivity for run-on sentences and a heavy, sometimes-bewildering use of commas where periods are needed: “My attacker lay face down on the powder room floor, his hand clutched his head, I saw this as my opportunity to make it to the door.” Still, once engaged in the compelling narrative, readers will likely forget the minor inconvenience of filling in their own full stops.

A brave and honest account that illuminates the trauma suffered by rape survivors and their loved ones.

Pub Date: June 11, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5331-7904-3

Page Count: 244

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2017

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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