Rating: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Obtained from: Personal Kindle Library
Read: December 18, 2012
"One Woman's Search for the Cause of the Violence that Tore Apart a Family and Destroyed a Marriage" This book is more than just another story about abuse. It is one woman’s search to discover the root of the disease that attacked her family. A search that took her into her husband’s past and beyond to his family’s past. A search that took her into her own past looking for the reasons that put a young girl on the path into such a situation. It is the story of her growth, her determination and her will to survive, to go on in hope of a better life.
|By Ernst Vikne (Engagement rings) |
(CC-BY-SA-2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
I can't speak to what editing this book underwent before being sent to print, but I truly feel it needed the services of an experienced professional. Like so many I am a reader and as such can honestly say there are few errors that undermine an author or their work as effectively as poor quality writing.
In Inside the Circle, incomplete sentences made it difficult for me to understand what exactly Simon was trying to say. "Alcoholism was just such an excuse until society tired of bearing the burden of the overwhelming destruction - medical care, insurance payments, court costs for loss of lives, limbs and property as well as destruction of lives and families." Is there a dropped word here or did we misplace half of the statement somewhere along the way?
Like nails on a chalkboard, improper grammar makes me cringe. "Its’ low rolling hills and wide desert reminded me somewhat of the low rolling hills and the open prairies of home." For those that need a refresher, it's is a contraction for it is or it has. Its is a possessive pronoun meaning of it or belonging to it. There is no such word as its' in American English which is something I am sure a professional would have pointed out several times during the proofreading phase as the nonexistent word appears nearly ten times in the text.
I also feel an editor would have been beneficial in terms of structure. Part 1 of Simon's work begins during the last years of her daughter's minority and a flashback to the troubles that plagued her own marriage. Part 2 takes the reader further back, to the foundation of Simon's family, her childhood, the first years of her marriage, the birth of her son and a miscarriage. Part 3 reverts again to Simon's childhood before plunging into the birth of her daughter and marital problems. Part 4 departs from Simon completely, following the lives of her ex-mother-in-law, her ex-husband and ex-sister-in-law before dumping the reader back into the last days Simon's married life. The piece is a choppy mishmash of information, one that is almost impossible to follow with such an erratic timeline.
Up till now I have stuck to the format of the book, now I would like to take a minute to discuss content. Quite frankly it left me confused and uncomfortable, but not for the reasons one might expect considering the nature of the material that inspired it.
In exploring her own past, Simon tackles things like the frustration she felt at having to wear her sister's hand-me-downs and the favoritism she felt her seven siblings received from their parents. I understand that perception defines personal reality and I guess one could argue that such thoughts can lead to self-esteem issues which in turn can lead individuals to seek acceptance in any form, but Simon doesn't discuss these concepts. In point of fact, Simon connects very little of her childhood experience to the abuse she suffered in her marriage which confused me as without that explanation I do not understand why Simon felt her early life needed to be included in this book at all.
Her foray into her ex-husband's family seemed to have much more relevance as there are several instances of abuse spanning multiple generations. Unfortunately, I feel the inclusion of this material presents a moral question. These aren't celebrities or historic figures. They were and possibly are private citizens, people who might be upset to have the darker moments of their history so publicly displayed. These are stories I can only assume Simon learned through her association with her ex's family years after the events occurred. This being the case I do not feel they were her stories to share and it doesn't sit well with me that Simon felt comfortable doing so.
The information she shares about her children also unnerved me. Simon concludes the violence in her own marriage is the root cause of the trials her children suffered. She depicts her daughter as having suffered abuse at the hands of a partner and writes that her son not only suffered abuse from his father, but was later the victim in a statutory relationship. While I can certainly see the lines of Simon's reasoning, I don't feel this level of detail was necessary to her story and as a mother, it made me sick to think someone would flaunt these events in print, that someone would expose her children and the hardships they've suffered to public scrutiny in such a manner.This was in no way the book I expected after reading the blurb and all told, I can't say I appreciated it the time I spent with it.
You have to remember the hurt or you'll never get through this.