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Hiding from Reality: My Story of Love, Loss, and Finding the Courage Within

3.39  ·  Rating details ·  1,243 ratings  ·  142 reviews
My Story of Love Loss and Finding the Courage Within.
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published February 7th 2012 by Gallery Books
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Average rating 3.39  · 
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 ·  1,243 ratings  ·  142 reviews

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Mar 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Ok--I went to see The View in New York City recently and Taylor Armstrong was a guest on the show. Since I don't watch tv, I wasn't familiar with her. She is one of the housewives on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. She told us her story about being married to Russell Armstrong (businessman in Beverly Hills), the abuse she sustained, and finding her husband hung in their bedroom. I was intrigued by the story. We were given the book at the end of show. I would never have bought this book. Wh ...more
Jun 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone, male or female, whether they're presently in a relationship, or not.
Recommended to Doreen by: saw it at the library
Taylor Armstrong tells her life story as she remembers it. I assume she is not lying and that any inconsistencies regarding dates or chronology of specific events, may simply be the result of the chaos and violence associated with her marriage.

I found the storytelling to be aboveboard. Each story of spousal abuse has its own distinct qualities, its own time frame, and its own ending. The ending might be death, divorce, remaining in the relationship forever, or finding a way to morph the toxic re
Angela Holland
Mar 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
If you know me at all you know I am a huge fan of the Real Housewives shows on the Bravo channel. I have watched all of them from the beginning. When I heard that Russell had died it was sad to hear then I heard about his abuse. I had no idea. When I heard that Taylor wrote a book I wanted to read it to hear the whole story. Although I was not real fond of the writing style of the book I think the way it was written probably did help Taylor through her healing process. By reading this there is f ...more
Maggie Lieser
Feb 14, 2015 rated it did not like it
This is the worst book I have ever read. I wanted to put it down when she made a comment about how much her life improved when she made the cheerleading squad. This was after she droned on and on about how "insecure" she was as a child and continued to use her "insecurities" to justify participation in ridiculous scenarios (sleeping around with a best-friend's boyfriend, ect). She writes about her childhood of spending summers on her grandparents' farm as though it compares to some Kafkaesque ni ...more
Marianne Jones
Feb 07, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: could-not-finish
I find this book outrageous. The author tells this story about a man and father who can no longer defend himself. Why would she stay in this abusive relationship and not protect herself or her daughter? it makes no sense. I truly believe she only wrote this book to keep herself relevant. This book is not going to help victims of domestic violence because she choose to stay. Victims should be encouraged to leave. Russell was a father to 3 children, those children may eventually read this book. Th ...more
Cara Bristol
Feb 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I don’t usually read celebrity memoirs/biographies, but I’m a fan of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and after watching Taylor Armstrong for two seasons and seeing her on-air breakdowns, I wanted to hear what she had to say. This book kept me up all night.

By now, everyone knows that Taylor says she was physically abused by her husband Russell, who committed suicide. Hiding from Reality is well-written, although I suspect it’s ghost-written, like many celebrity books. It’s a focused accounti
Apr 24, 2012 rated it liked it
Read as a guilty pleasure ... it seems clear she was physically abused (or else she was very well coached). Her account is constant with everything I've heard about domestic abuse. But, her account of her husband's death is incredibly fishy. I don't know if she is altering the truth because she did it or because she is covering for the person who did or for some other reason. But her story rings true until she gets to that portion. The tone and feel change so dramatically, even an amateur can sp ...more
Author Lesley Hal
Apr 11, 2012 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: anyone who loves a made up story
I'm not one for bashing anyone, but this book is full of inconsistencies with ever changing stories during interviews than from what was written in the book. During an interview on The Talk, Taylor states that Russell accused her of cheating BEFORE the first date ever occurred. I wonder how can that be if you NEVER established a relationship at this point. From what I've read she did say the first date, but then the inconsistencies start, and I quote "I know where this is going and my heart star ...more
Lori Anaple
Dec 12, 2011 rated it really liked it

i found this memoir to be a very honest rendering of what Taylor experienced in her life, especially her marriage to Russell. Many people just don't understand how the cycle of violence works. They don't understand that fear and love become so intertwined that the boundary is blurred. They tend to blame the victim because they don't understand. To those who say she is crazy because she didn't leave, I am glad that you have never had to experience violence and that your self is actualized enoug
Mar 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
This was a well written story- however I didn't find it added up in many respects. I spent my time reading it feeling like screaming at this woman who from the very beginning allowed someone who if what she writes is the truth was obviously unwell and abusive.

I feel that it only furthers my personal opinion that she either changed things to suit her after this mans death or she so clearly showed no understanding or concern for her own safety that I can have little respect for her.

I have a diffi
Feb 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. 'Enjoyed' is such a horrible word to use when you are talking about domestic abuse...

Anyway, I have a freakish fascination with the Real Housewives of anywhere, so for one of them to have an actual story to tell, I was pretty darned excited. Again, I'm not excited that she was abused...

Let me start again. I learned many years ago, while volunteering at a women's shelter, that it isn't just lower class women who are abused. Rich people get abused. Nice people get abuse
Feb 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
While some could claim that this book was an excuse for Taylor to make money or keep herself in the spotlight, I say otherwise. The amount of problems Taylor has with her self-esteem and self-worth are described in detail dating back to her childhood. She also goes into great detail about the abuse that started on her first date with Russell, her late-husband. I knew going into this book that it would disturb me, but it was way beyond what I even imagined and quite frankly revealed 10 times more ...more
Mar 01, 2012 rated it did not like it
This may possibly be the worst thing I have ever read. Her stories are so outrageous they are hard to believe and I think that the woman is the biggest idiot I have never met. Her life was hard and because she let it be. She never did anything to take any positive steps in her life and who in their right mind would put up with what she did? Not only was the book very repetitive it was terribly written. I found myself shaking my head a lot while reading this book, not just at how it was written b ...more
Feb 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 stars because a lot of content was discussed via interviews, but there still was so much more.Had she walked away from the start,I think she would be in a much healthier place in her life. I certainly wouldn't have made it to a second date with someone who treated me the way he did her on that first one. But I can't judge someone else without having lived in their shoes. I just hope she and Kennedy can continue to move forward from all of this.
Jul 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Read it in a day or less. .
It was ok ... But seems to be writing as if the audience is naive or stupid.

I think it's more " based on her life " with heavy emphasis on "based" .

Don't read this expecting much so you won't be disappointed.
Laura Beth
Mar 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: bio-autobio
I'm going to try not to judge as to the truth of this tale but rather the story itself. It was written very simplistically; seemed quite superficial and told in a numb or cold manner - which could be the result of trauma. It focuses mostly on her most recent years with her husband Russell. There is not a lot of background, although there is some. It barely touches on her Real Housewives experiences. I do not think this is an inspiring story. She stayed for so long, even after it began to affect ...more
May 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Yes, I am a fan of the show. Taylor was not a favorite of mine and I did not like her much after the first season, but when all the abuse came to light, I saw her differently. I also recognized her behavior, which I did not previously care for, as signs for what she had been going through.
As I read through some of the reviews for this book, I was appalled. For another woman to judge her story, and say "if" this happened, and to actually stick up for her dead ex-husband, who took his own life, i
Kristi, A Book Fanatic
Mar 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012, nonfiction
Yes, I am one of those people ... The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Orange County are a very guilty pleasure of mine. I am polar opposites of those girls so it is fun to see how the "other half" lives. I was very curious to see what Taylor would say in her story (even though I think it was probably ghost written.) This is just another prime example of not knowing what our friends or other people go thru behind closed doors. Taylor became an expert at putting on a different persona for dif ...more
Mar 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Written in clear, simple language, this book is a first hand account of Armstrong's experience as a victim of domestic violence. This book should be mandatory reading for anyone who wants to learn more about this issue that plagues women (and to a lesser degree, men) regardless of background, culture, or SES. Many have noted "inconsistencies" though none of these were glaring to me, and any person recalling the past - especially one filled with trauma and terror - will have difficulty recounting ...more
Jun 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Having watched the "Housewives" series I was very curious to see if this book could fill in the gaps between the show and the interviews that follow, sadly, that wasnt the case. I did think that her account of her childhood was candid and startling. Its clear that the abuse in her family started young even if her father never hit her, he was always intimidating her. That constant fear must have been unbearable at such a young age.
Through out the book she keeps making excuses for Russell and by
Joseph McGarry
Dec 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, movies-tv
Disturbing account of what happened to her. As I read it, I kept thinking that she just needs to get out of this relationship. The book is somewhat sanitized. A lot of names other than Russell, the Real Housewives cast, and her daughter Kennedy, have either been changed or eliminated. This was probably for legal reasons. This doesn't take away from the main story. I know from reading this that if Russell were still alive today, this book wouldn't have been written. He would have beaten her up, a ...more
K.G. White
Dec 31, 2012 rated it liked it
After watching the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Taylor was always a shady character to me. She often played the victim or the mediator, but she was obviously a social climber with an agenda. Her husband, Russell, certainly never came off as cordial while on film. It still confuses me how such a serious case of abuse could have been happening while she was surrounded by these strong women and being filmed for a very popular television show. I don't think we will ever know exactly what happen ...more
Oct 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
I think her intent for this book was to inspire some families that may have been abused or that is currently in an abusive relation. However, I think this book was written prematurely for her state of mind at the time she wrote it. She didn't give readers that may have been in the situation, the different signs, behavior or anything else to recognize the abuse. The book just ended with no inspiring words for people to take with them in their lives. I personally don't think she was ready to write ...more
Sep 06, 2012 rated it did not like it
I almost finished this in one day. This book isn't going the help victims of domestic abuse. Its more like a book to justify why she changed her name and her looks.
Katie Tastad
Aug 11, 2019 rated it liked it
This was interesting to read after watching the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Throughout the show it was not clear what was going on with Taylor Armstrong and her husband. This book clarified their relationship and why she stayed as long as she did.

The tone seems to be the author's own, without heavy editing. It was a little slow getting started, but once I got into it, it was hard to put down.
Taylor was introduced to fans of the housewives (or for some her tiny cameo on MTV's The Hills) as the entertaining fit socialite pot stirrer with the big lips - Taylor tells her very candid story into her life how she dealt with emotional/physical abuse, abandonment and insecurities issues stemming from her childhood onto her first marriage with Russell Armstrong.

Several who have read this (or intend on reading it) will assume it is ripping Russell apart. Taylor does acknowledges that she igno
Natalie Rowe
Sep 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have to admit. the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is one of my guilty pleasures. But in honesty, I was never really too fussed about Taylor. After watching the show and hearing of her husbands suicide I was dying to read the book that she had written following these events. After reading this book- I really see this girl in a new light.

In this autobiography, Taylor Armstrong, probably most well known as 'the skinny housewife with the big lips', discusses her abusive relationship with husband
Cathy L
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I liked the book but I don't understand why Taylor stayed with Russell. He spoke to her terribly and she grew up in an abusive home she knew the signs but wanted to still be with him. It took for him to hit her so hard and mess up her eye for her to get away from him. I wish her all the best in her future.
Jen Kirsch
Feb 10, 2013 rated it it was ok
A fan of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, as well as a fan of Taylor Armstrong, I was shocked to find out of her husbands suicide. As a viewer and one who watched her life play out on the TV screen, I had so many questions. I was also intrigued to what actually happened, for many a friends were concerned with her story, a sad truth that is the outcome of being caught in an abusive situation.

The book read much like a high-school essay as opposed to a life story. Every so often I felt that Ta
Brianne Durrant
Sep 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
It all started when Taylor was little. One day, she witnessed dad abusing her mom and when she tried to stop it, her dad shoved her away. From that day on, because she never got any help, she struggled with depression. Therefore, she became insecure, she did not like being alone. She would do anything to please a person, even if it meant humiliating herself or changing her plans around. Because she never felt she was worthy for any friends, she never kept any around for very long. One day, when ...more
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