All Because of You: Eleven tales of refuge and hope, by Isobel Blackthorn: Review

 

Published by OdysseyBooks 2012.

This powerful collection of stories that certainly hit me hard, and I think will do the same for anyone, leaving you thoughtful about relationships and events in your own life, and about people you may have known, perhaps even have tried to help.

Most of the tales are narrated in the first person and by women. They seek escape from abuse and manipulation, and not always from male husbands and ‘lovers’. One tormentor turns out to be a therapist, another a female ‘friend’. We meet survivors bonding as they huddle in the soul-destroying shelters. We watch on as mothers, themselves survivors of dire relationships, struggle  to save their daughters from also being undervalued and misused.

The belief held by so many victims that the blows dealt to them are somehow their own fault permeates these stories. The victim’s tenuous grasp of self esteem, even when they’ve perhaps had years of space to feel safe again, is vividly portrayed in ‘Bad Good Friday’ in which a woman tries to cudgel up a sense of grief for her dead father, who we gather was cold and cruel, while all the long night someone’s locked up dog howls with its own misery.

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The last three tales have a lighter touch which leads you out from the others with a sense of relief, even a smile. Two are narrated by men and one in the third person, and while this change in form might seem at first discordant, I found it fitting. A wounded person often needs a wholly different perspective – usually that of someone who at last cares, to find the sense of hope the sub-title of these stories refers to.

All Because of You is at Book Depository.com

More about this and other books by Isobel Blackthorn at https://isobelblackthorn.com

 

 

 

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