Saturday, November 5, 2011

Alice's Review: Lost Edens

Summary:  For Jamie Patterson, the end of her marriage is signaled by betrayal and abandonment. When estranged husband Ben asks to live with Jamie again, she ignores her instincts, her family's concern, and her friends' doubts and sets about making a perfect home in a California beach town. What follows in 33-year-old Patterson's debut reads more like a mystery (or a horror story) than an account of a relationship ruptured by infidelity. As Jamie's carefully titrated efforts walk a tightrope between wishful fantasy and cruel reality, we watch: enraptured, enraged, and endeared by this fearless yet fragile young woman who must end one way of life to forge a new one. ~

Review:  Sometimes, the hardest review to write is one in which I love the book. I loved this book. This is a short memoir about the abandonment and betrayal of a husband written in his wife’s point of view. It’s also a memoir about domestic abuse. I can’t remember the last time I read a memoir in which the writer was so brutally honest about herself, about what she went through. It takes a lot of strength to admit your weaknesses; it takes a lot to ask for help. If I had to describe Jamie Patterson in one word, it would be courageous.

I can’t begin to tell you how wonderfully raw and honest this book is. This book was especially personal to me. I have the upmost respect for Ms. Patterson for taking an experience that was so personal and sharing it with us. Those of us who have felt it understand her. Those who have not experienced it for themselves, or sadly are there now, will see that there is healing. There is hope.

For me, this is a must read. I love the way it is written, short and factual. She doesn’t sugar-coat the truth. It’s startling how from the outside looking in, you can see how controlling and abusing her husband is. What I respect about Ms. Patterson is in her honesty about his behavior and words, she is truthful about her beliefs, reasoning, and feelings. On the inside looking out, I can wholly understand her need to make her marriage work, to fight for her husband and their relationship, to honor the commitment, and to blame herself for the failure.

I loved this book because there were so many morsels of goodness. I loved that she wrote, “My pain is too big for these enclosed woods.” I love that she found a way to elucidate the feeling of a pain that is much larger than she is, the kind of pain that consumes her, stealing every thought and emotion.

Finally, I will leave you with this, her words on the end:
“Endings rarely announce themselves. They steal in and go nameless until long after their work is done.”

Final Take:  5/5


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