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The First Thing and the Last

4.5  ·  Rating Details ·  68 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
This beautiful, brave, and liberating book is a triumph of the spirit. Engrossing and exquisitely written, it shines with rare courage and a tender, life-saving wisdom that comes only through facing the darkness we suffer or inflict on others. It is a marvelous story whose characters I am glad to have in my life.
Joanna Macy
Author, World as Lover, World as Self
Allan J
Hardcover, 408 pages
Published February 1st 2010 by Plain View Press (first published January 1st 2010)
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Jan 18, 2011 James rated it it was amazing
I happened to be listening to NPR one day when they were interviewing the author (Allan G. Johnson). The interview was very interesting and I thought I would check out the book. Several weeks later I found
the book on and purchased it. When the book came I had just finished a Sinatra biography and thought it would be good to read a fiction book next. Little did I know that, although this book is fiction, it could easily have been non-fiction in the tale it tells. Without giving too muc
Feb 26, 2010 Charles rated it it was amazing
This debut novel by Allan G. Johnson (sociologist and author of Privilege, Power, and Difference and The Gender Knot) is a wonderful study of violent abuse and its effects on an individual's mind, body, and spirit.

Johnson captures our attention and quickly immerses us in the horrors of Katherine Stuart's abusive marriage. In the first section of the book, we are shown the insidious nature of spousal abuse through a narrative of Katherine's courtship with and marriage to David Weston. This histo
Dec 14, 2010 Myth rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Within the first 40 pages I realized this was a book completely unique to anything I had read before and I wonder if I will ever read again. This book was very moving, real and it pulled me in.

The writing is well done. There is a bit of an error in the copy of the book I have. The second part has chapter 6 labeled as 2, which caught me a little off guard, but nothing about the story was disrupted. When I began reading, I recall thinking I would have liked it if there was a table of contents. The
Mar 27, 2012 Joyce rated it really liked it
In the process of reading books, I have experienced every emotion possible, but no book has brought out a few of my emotions as this one did. Hate, anger, compassion all were present. But, most of all, the inability to understand how one person can inflict their rage on another. I don't want to hear that these people are sick. They may be, but it isn't an excuse. This is a powerful story about abuse. Since I have never been in this position, it is difficult to even imagine the physical pain that ...more
Jan 25, 2016 Kim rated it it was amazing
I love the writing style and the story. The beginning was difficult to get through as a good book on domestic violence should be. He captures the pain and loss of self so well. It makes you realize how this situation could happen to any one.
Linda Quinton-Burr
The best book I've read recently -- actually the best novel I have read in a very long time, and I read lots of good novels.

The first few chapters are rather horrific to get through. I couldn't get further than the first few pages when I started it several months ago, partially because of particular clients I was working with at that time. I forgot I had it and bought another copy and this time could barely put it down. Everyone over 18 should read this book! Maybe even at an earlier age. If you
Dec 17, 2014 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read_in_2014
Brutal, raw depiction of domestic violence and its aftermath, but beautifully written. This one will stay with me for a long time.
Ellen Bowdon
Aug 10, 2016 Ellen Bowdon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gut-wrenching to start. Beautifully written. Fantastic. Loved it!!
Aug 25, 2014 Marie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I will read this over and over. a wonderful piece of writing.
Dec 23, 2014 Annie rated it it was amazing
Just published, by Plain View Press, a debut novel written by a friend of mine. The story of a woman's healing, through a relationship with an older woman who understands, after devastating domestic violence. Lyrical language, true characters, compelling story. The novel is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Off the Beaten Path.......Check out the author's website to find out more about his work.
Pamelarbroadley Broadley
This was a rather tedious and reportorial book about severe domestic violence and the process of healing from the trauma. I loved the Vermont setting and the author's description of the changing seasons. There were a few interesting plot twists. Otherwise, the book read like a case study for domestic violence advocacy training.
Jul 16, 2010 Christina marked it as to-read
i just heard allan johnson on npr & am really intrigued by this... it's a novel about one woman's path to healing after being abused by her husband. it's being called a very realistic portrayal of survivor's experiences and apparently he had a very difficult time publishing it because of that.
May 17, 2011 Tene rated it really liked it
This was a heart-wrenching, beautifully written book. You think you have problems, and when you read how this woman lost everything near and dear to her (with the exception of her parents), you just cannot imagine the pain she is in. I recommend this book, but get ready to cry.
Jun 16, 2010 Tiki rated it it was amazing
I could never have imagined how a novel about the horror of domestic violence could be so moving but this story wrapped itself around my heart and amid the many tears endeared itself to me through its characters and what it taught me.
May 17, 2014 Leeah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely incredible! Best book I've read in a very long time. To be honest I've never read anything like this and it breaks my heart to know this is actually how so many women live

wow wow wow
Robin Moore
Jun 15, 2011 Robin Moore rated it liked it
Another book that was very difficult to read, due to its subject matter - it took me a long time to finish this book, but I did like it - just don't know if I could recommend it to anybody!
May 10, 2012 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received this book through the Goodreads giveaways. What an amazing book this was. I highly recommend it!
Dec 25, 2013 Stephani rated it really liked it
A very emotional read but excellent!

May 04, 2010 Sharon rated it it was amazing
Hard, hard book to read - but it has important things to say - and says them beautifully. Still, I'll be glad to move on to something lighter now!!
Sharon Mitchell
Feb 02, 2013 Sharon Mitchell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gennie marked it as to-read
Aug 31, 2016
Lauren Forsyth
Lauren Forsyth rated it really liked it
Aug 17, 2016
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Jul 30, 2016
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Jul 09, 2016
Margaret rated it it was amazing
Jul 08, 2016
Kim marked it as to-read
Jun 04, 2016
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May 24, 2016
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Apr 02, 2016
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Allan G. Johnson is a novelist, nonfiction writer, sociologist, teacher, and public speaker who has spent much of his life trying to understand the human condition, especially as shaped by issues of gender, race, and social class. His nonfiction books have been translated into several languages, and his first novel, The First Thing and the Last, was recognized in 2010 by Publishers Weekly as a not ...more
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