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Sleeping with the Enemy

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  8,593 ratings  ·  153 reviews
She is a stranger in a small town. She changed her name. Her looks. Her life. All to escape the most dangerous man she ever met: her husband.
Paperback, 314 pages
Published February 1st 1991 by Berkley (first published 1987)
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Crystal Dawn As this is a regularly published book, with a movie to solidify it's standing with an audience, no there isn't a way to receive this book for free for…moreAs this is a regularly published book, with a movie to solidify it's standing with an audience, no there isn't a way to receive this book for free for review purposes anymore. If you are looking to read this book for free though, it is at most public libraries. :)(less)

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Average rating 4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,593 ratings  ·  153 reviews

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Jane Stewart
4 ½ stars. Worthwhile read about a woman escaping a physically abusive husband. Fulfilling feeling at the end.

I saw the movie years ago. The book is better. One part of the movie annoyed me - stupid frustrating act of the mother. In the movie Martin visits the mother in a nursing home pretending to be a cop. He tells her that he needs to contact Sara to warn her about something with Martin. The mother stupidly tells him where Sara is. The book is different and better on this part. Sara does smar
Cheryl Latter
Nov 17, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
For the first time in my life I have to say 'the film is better than the book.' I was really looking forward to a real psychological thriller like Sliver or Single White Female, but I was very disappointed. The characters are all a bit cringe-worthy, and I was surprised that a book written by a woman made so many allusions to the heroine's 'round breasts'. I think that phrase is used at least once a chapter. The bad guy isn't bad enough and the love interest is a sap. The writing is good in part ...more
Mar 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, fiction
This was one of those sickening but compelling books that I just could not put down. I keep very few of the books that I read because while I have a book case in every room of my house, there's only so much room that I have, so I only keep the books that affect me deeply or that I think are very good (and they are not always one and the same). This book is on my shelf and will stay there.

The really creepy thing to me, though, is that the man she ends up with - the good guy - the guy who is not h
Mari Butler
Nov 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
To everyone else Laura Burney has a perfect life except that her charming husband Martin is a cruel abuser. He purposely takes her on boating outings knowing that she is afraid of the water. The reader discovers that as a little girl she fails to save her brother from drowning while they are swimming. She decides to take swimming lessons in order to fake her death the next time Martin takes her out in the boat in a storm. She makes it to a small town where a drama teacher named Ben becomes obses ...more
Fiona MacDonald
Although initially excited to read this, I started to feel quite let down the more I read. The writing wasn't especially groundbreaking, and much of the book was filler in my opinion, it could've been a lot shorter. I think the story itself is great, but on this occasion I would have to say that the film is far superior. I was simply relieved when I turned the last page.
Aug 06, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
One of those rare ocassions where the movie was better than the book. I'm not even sure why I finished it, perhaps to see how the ending differed from the movie.

So, I have a few complaints. The writing was so choppy and juvenile. The paragraphs would have 2 differen topics in them with no relation. And what was wrong with Ben, every sentence was about him being angry and mad. And what grown man thinks in terms of "trying to score" and "doing it?" So juvenile and embarassing. He also kept thinkin
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having seen the film a long time ago, I knew about this novel going in. However, the title is used in the novel to describe more relationships than Sara Burney and her abusive husband, Martin. I really enjoyed how Nancy Price switched from one character's perspective to another's with such ease and very little (if any) confusion. It was refreshing to know exactly where one character was in relation to it the hunter or the prey. In a time before cell phones and the internet it may ha ...more
Aug 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
The first time I read this book, I was horrified at the story, while being enchanted with the beauty of the storytelling. This time a single exchange stood out:
"You want respect," the young man said. "Your own job, your own house, your own money."
"That's what I want first." Larry put one ankle on his knee, lifted his bearded chin, and fixed blue eyes on Ben under heavy black brows. "Respect. Not the kind we 'give' women. I want the kind men get."
Suanne Laqueur
Forget the movie. The book is genius. I read it every few years. For the story, the writing... And for the food. Really. The food is awesome. Read more about that here:
Jessi Rose
Jul 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book is just great! It's about a woman's stuggle to get free of her abusive husband! It's shows how much strength a person can have! This book is amazing!
Apr 28, 2018 rated it did not like it
The movie inspired by this book is one of my favorite movies, so when I realized there was a book, I couldn't wait to read it. This is one of the rare cases where the book is NOT better than the movie. The author seems to think that all men are rapists, abusers, womanizers, and obsessed with breasts. She mentions Sara/Laura's breasts ad nauseam and treats her like an object. Also, there appears to be no point to most of the other characters in the book. You've got the big three (Sara/Laura, Mart ...more
Chelle Dey
Aug 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book has such vivid descriptions of places and people, appeals to all the senses. I especially enjoy the author's ability to describe food in such an enticing way. Also, she's a genius with character, and all the complex nuances of who we are-- even the "good guys" are not 100% good in this book.

The author does an interesting thing with point-of-view by going into the heads of many of the characters, including ones who are very secondary characters so that we may get a thorough view of the
Feb 08, 2011 rated it liked it
I have a relative who has been in a very similar relationship with an-ex husband, making this book seem so very real. It was a bit much - the movie is over in an hour and half, but the book continues on for quite a bit longer than that. But Nancy Price has a way with words, and as she writes about the emotional turmoil in each of the character's minds, it's as if she's been through it all herself. While the story was incredibly stressful to read, it hit the nail on the head with all aspects of a ...more
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
I thought that this was a good representation of how a battered and frightened woman takes charge of her own life, try to start over again and escape from an abusive situation. The author did a nice job portraying an abusive husband. My goodness I didn't like him at all. Of course this wasn't a perfect piece of literature and there were several aspects that I felt could have been improved upon. I wasn't a big fan of the lack of support and family that our main character has. Or shall I say, does ...more
Sep 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
I have wanted to read this book ever since I saw the film with Julia Roberts, which I thought was excellent. There are a few minor differences between book and film but the story is basically the same - a woman's struggle to escape from an abusive relationship.
The writing is good, almost poetic at times and the story moves along smoothly. However, I felt there was a touch of remoteness about it, almost as though the author was not quite engaged with the characters. I think the film actually give
Michelle Norton
Apr 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 15, 2014 marked it as to-read
Sleeping With the Enemy is a book?!?! Um, I watch this every single time it's on TV (Aaahhhhh, the cans are all lined up in the cabinet!) so I will clearly read this pronto. Thank you, Goodreads, for recommending this after I told you that I'm reading Beaches.
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
I am very disappointed by this book! I have loved the movie for years and had this book on my read list for a long time, but I have to say the movie is much better than the book. Sara is married to an alcoholic, physically, mentally, emotionally abusive bottom of the totem pole computer salesman. She plans her escape as the book description states and creates a new life far away in a small town in Iowa. In the movie she becomes friends with a kind, caring, bright, unimposing man named Ben who li ...more
Jun 05, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
I read this while in high school and was braver. lol! It's definitely a thriller, so scary in parts, but riveting. It's about a woman who is married to a very controlling and dangerous man. Over time, she decides she wants to leave him, so she plans out this very crazy plan to fake her death. There's a movie out about this as well starring Julia Roberts and it's every bit as scary as the book.
Beth Wemple
Apr 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book was pretty good! I did like the way the movie ended better as it was much more resolved. Here I finished and looked for a possible missing page. But the characters were colorful and the suspense intense. The Martin character reminded me of the Norman character from one of my favorite Stephen King books: Rose Red. Both are violent, vicious woman haters and we see them spiraling into madness, a scary journey we experience firsthand.
Ksenia Anske
Sep 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Claustrophobic. Stark. Painful. A trying read, especially now, as we struggle to shed patriarchy, decades after this book was published. It captures perfectly the crippling terror of a domestic abuse victim, a woman who doesn't even ask for help as she's sure she'll get none. And it dives into the abuser's psyche, his view of women as objects to possess, to do as he pleases. The fear of simply being a woman is on every page, magnified. All men, read this.
Carey Henderson
Jan 20, 2019 rated it did not like it
Got 100pgs in and gave up, couldn't get into and finish. Writing just wasn't very good. Didn't find the storyline believable and her "disappearance" seemed unfinished, it wasn't thought out and any rookie detective would've been able to find her. Too much character jumping in one paragraph that I couldn't follow who was talking (and about nonsense filler stuff). Every other sentence talked about how pretty and thin Sarah/Laura was and how amazing her breasts were, it just obnoxiosly annoying.
Dec 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
A few weeks ago I visited relatives in Cedar Falls, Iowa. We went for a walk one day to a block-wide city park, where I noticed a plaque dedicated to Nancy Price, a writer who lived on the west side of the park, and who set her only famous novel Sleeping with the Enemy in a house on the east side. I was dimly aware of the Julia Roberts movie, but I had never heard of the author, so I was curious. The book is far better than I expected: I would rank it at least as high as the best of Mary Higgins ...more
Nov 13, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sleeping with the Enemy is a novel that really digs deep into an abusive relationship and the minds of both the abuser and the victim. Sara seeks to escape a terrible marriage and the bruises on her body and soul. She must make some heart wrenching decisions if she's to do that, but Martin won't take it lying down either way. We do have the opportunity to understand both Sara and Martin - seeing their backgrounds play out first hand and listening to their thoughts. There are other characters who ...more
Jun 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I re-read this, since the author is a local celebrity and I'm helping with the current Cedar Falls Authors Festival. I lived in the Seerley Park neighborhood for 23 years, which is the setting for most of the book. One of the things I loved about living there, was knowing the history it had from this book and the movie by the same name. All of us knew which house was "Ben's" house, which one was "Sara's" house and which one was the author's house.
I think when I first read it (in the early '90'
Sep 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
This book was kind of a mess, and, although I normally never say this, I think the movie was done more skillfully. The author offers glimpses into the mind of both the "good" and "bad" male characters; to be honest, they didn't seem all that different to me. Both Martin and Ben harbor disturbingly juvenile, chauvinistic, demeaning thoughts towards women; neither made for very likable protagonists...perhaps that was the author's point. There were several underlying themes regarding gender roles a ...more
Aug 31, 2012 rated it really liked it

i LOVED this book....way better than the movie! luckily, i had seen the movie when i was very young, so i only had choppy memories of it...i got to use my imagination and quickly became absorbed in this delicately creepy, suspenseful tale of domestic abuse; when the main character runs from her husband, the tension literally drips from every page, and the reader is panicking along with her...convinced the violent erratic husband is around every corner !!

A must read .. even if you HAVE seen the
I read this about a year before the movie came out and loved it. In fact when I read it I didn't know a movie was in the works. The concept of faking your death and reinventing yourself was interesting to me. I thought it was clever that the author had the main protagonist do the things she did in preparation. The idea that someone could be so desperate to go to such lengths was scary itself. As much as I loved the book, I actually think I enjoyed the movie just a tad more.
Oct 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
I actually read this book when I was a freshman in high school. I had seen the movie (on tv) and LOVED it, so I decided to pick up the book. I loved the book as well, although the ending is different. I preferred the movie ending if you can believe it, even though the rest of the book was pretty amazing. Just about what you'd expect...intense, emotional, suspenseful, and it kept me on the edge of my seat.
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“I was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and raised in Detroit, but it seems to me that I spent my childhood in books,” Nancy Price says. “At fourteen I saw a poem of mine published in the Detroit News, and there I was: a writer.”

Nancy received her B.A. in English and art from Cornell College in 1946. In 1945 she married Howard J. Thompson, who joined the faculty of the University of Northern Iowa

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