Susanhayeshotmail.com's Reviews > Into the Darkest Corner

Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes
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Jun 25, 12

Read in June, 2012

I work for a domestic violence services agency and found this book fascinating. Cathy is a personnel relations worker who was once something of a party girl who drank too much and had sex with way too many men she didn't really know. She was happy, had a circle of close friends and did well at her job. Now she is struggling with OCD and can barely get herself to and from work. Going to the office Christmas party is more than she can handle, she speaks as little as possible with her coworkers and outside of work only with the little old lady who occupies the neighboring flat who pops out to great her when she is constantly checking and rechecking that the door is locked. Into the Darkest Corner is the story of how she got from the one to the other. The chapters alternate between the past and present, which eventually collide. It was an intense and disturbing book, as it should be.

Every day at work I see and read about women who have been abused by an intimate partner, someone they love, someone who supposedly loves them, and I felt this book hit the nail pretty squarely on the head as to how a woman finds herself in this kind of a relationship, why she doesn't leave, and what can happen on the way to her eventual escape (and after).

I generally try not to read reviews of a book once I've decided to read it until after I have finished my own review to avoid unduly influencing how I feel about a book. So with this one I am wondering how many readers think this is extreme, wondering if it is really possible for her friends to take his side, thinking to themselves if it's that bad why doesn't she just leave?!

For any who may be asking those questions the quick answer, in my experience and from the reading and studying I've done, is maybe it's just a little teeny bit on the extreme as far as the abusers ability to stalk her, maybe. Most of us probably wouldn't know how to tap phones - but you could probably google it and abusers who use cell phones and GPS to stalk are a reality. But this abuser, Lee, is a police officer so that ups the stakes from my point of view. As to him being able to convince her friends that she is nuts, you bet he could, it happens all the time. Families and friends of abused women can and do buy into the abusers story and side of things. Even when the abuse is plain to see they also get tired of feeling helpless, hearing the same old sad tales and loose interest in helping someone who does not appear to be helping herself. As to that good old question why doesn't she just leave, let me tell you, it's way too complicated to cover in a book review. You will just have to trust me, it's seldom as easy as just changing the locks and your phone number and just walking away. Statistically the most dangerous time, the time there is most likely to be a fatality for an abused woman is when she does leave. And Cathy's fear and compulsions make complete sense. She is desperately trying to keep herself safe.

As to the rest of the book, I will tell you it's intense, it's brutal. I don't think Cathy and I would ever be clubbing buddies. For one, well, I never was the kind of gal who would have considered clubbing and her previous life style was appalling to me. However, again, from my work point of view, though the author does not actually come right out and say so this is a good literary device to illustrate a point, her lifestyle is not responsible for what happens to her - her abuser actually appears to be a step in a good direction, an improvement! Everyone, including Cathy, believes this is true. At first I thought it just a little too convenient that her new neighbor is a psychologist and they gradually become a couple but in the end, well, how else would she meet anybody? He's not her psychologist, he professionally refers her elsewhere (and, again, subtly the author shows Stuart getting frustrated with her at times, even though he knows, as a professional, what's going on with her). So, I heart Stuart and give this four stars. Might have been five except for two points. Some of the sex scenes and the language. I know the author was using the sex scenes to make readers squirm a little - they are not horribly graphic but they did make me squirm and illustrate the degree of control and dominance Lee has over Cathy. And there were way too many F bombs for my enjoyment, though that does not feel like quite the right words, perhaps I should say instead: too many F bombs for my appreciation to be complete.

So, my final sum up - a well done look into the horrors of an abusive relationship.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Jason (new) - added it

Jason "For any who may be asking those questions the quick answer, in my experience and from the reading and studying I've done, is maybe it's just a little teeny bit on the extreme as far as the abusers ability to stalk her, maybe."... i have seen this with clients, however as far as mass appeal and generalizability, i think the less an author goes to that extreme point, the better.


Susanhayeshotmail.com Jason wrote: ""For any who may be asking those questions the quick answer, in my experience and from the reading and studying I've done, is maybe it's just a little teeny bit on the extreme as far as the abusers..." I agree. The extreme is hard, emotionally, to read about and I fear it makes it harder to believe the more common, general dominating/controlling behaviors are still dominating, controlling and abuse. Thanks for the comment:-)


Carol I have a "friend of a friend" who was stalked and abused by a policeman so I know he was able to do things to her that a civilian stalker and abuser cannot do. Though this is not the norm with abusers, it can happen. So I wasn't too surprised by this aspect of the book; however, I can understand how most would find this aspect of the book a little contrived. I loved your overall review of this novel. So many good points...


Susanhayeshotmail.com Carol wrote: "I have a "friend of a friend" who was stalked and abused by a policeman so I know he was able to do things to her that a civilian stalker and abuser cannot do. Though this is not the norm with abu..."

Thanks Carol, I wasn't too surprised either but then it's my line of work. I was impressed with how the author showed so many things rather than telling so many of the hallmarks of abusive relationships. Terrific debut.


message 5: by Jason (new) - added it

Jason How was the writing style? Who would you compare to? Was it simplistic? Short? Exact? Verbose?


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