A debut memoir that explores a young woman’s time in an abusive relationship.
In early 1970s Atlanta, Scott was just beginning a career as a computer programmer after obtaining a degree in computer science: “Rare for anyone in the late 1960s—more rare for females back then, and especially rare for a black female,” she notes. Between writing computer code and navigating a new city, a lonely Scott met and fell in love with Mark, a handsome, passionate African-American man with strong convictions and opinions. He seemed like the perfect boyfriend—until, she says, he struck her in a moment of jealous rage, leaving her with a bruise on her face. The author, a self-reliant woman, made no excuses for his behavior and immediately distanced herself from him and sought counseling. However, the primary advice that she received from her counselor was to marry Mark, in order to quell his jealous outbursts—and she followed that advice: “My desire to get married blocked out any wisdom that I should have had,” she says. Not long into the marriage, she writes, Mark’s paranoia returned. She says that he interpreted calls that she received from work and even pieces of cigarette paper on the floor as evidence of Scott’s alleged lovers, and that he attacked her with increasing violence. Scott relates instances of abuse with forceful prose: “He rammed me. With his fist. In my face.” The short, brutal sentences seem to come out of nowhere, just as she says Mark’s rage did. She also excels at re-creating the anxiety of trying to escape such a situation; she offers deeply affecting accounts of her hesitation while crossing a parking lot and of waiting in an airport while trying to get away from Mark. Scott focuses entirely on this relationship throughout the book, so she misses many opportunities to develop the story of her earlier life. The resulting memoir, however, offers an important analysis of her frame of mind during a difficult time. At one point, for instance, she says that she successfully escaped Mark, but later returned. Overall, she provides a firsthand account of how an extraordinary, capable person can still be manipulated by another.
A frank remembrance that tells of how the author found the strength to free herself from a dangerous situation.