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

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My Story of Love Loss and Finding the Courage Within.

272 pages, Hardcover

First published February 7, 2012

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Taylor Armstrong

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5 stars
312 (20%)
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512 (34%)
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188 (12%)
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64 (4%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 154 reviews
32 reviews1 follower
March 3, 2012
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. When I got home, I picked the book up, thinking it would not hold my interest. Well, I was hooked. Although this is no literary masterpiece, I was riveted by her story. She talked about her childhood in Oklahoma, having big dreams, her insecurities, plastic surgery, meeting Russell Armstrong, having her daughter, and getting picked as a housewife. The book has an honest voice and I learned something about mental illness. More importantly, the impact your childhood can have on the decisions that you make in life. And yes--having 2 daughters myself, the importance of self esteem. I did really like this book.
Profile Image for Doreen.
440 reviews11 followers
June 13, 2012
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 relationship into a healthy one. Although, I've personally never known the latter to be successful.

What impresses me most in this book is that Ms. Armstrong doesn't use her writing to complain and deflect responsibility. She is candid about her own childhood insecurities and accepts sole responsibility for her bad life choices. She never presents her self as a perfect woman who, innocently, falls in love, marries, and has a child with a mentally unstable batterer. Her candidness is painful.

Some reviewers have expressed disbelief in the accuracy of events in the Armstrong marriage. Others berate her foolishness/weakness, in not leaving Russell years earlier. Wow, really? I challenge anyone to live in an abusive marriage and be able to recount all the particulars, without leaving some margin for error in the tale. How can anyone remember details of terrifying, injurious assaults, both verbal and physical, with 100% accuracy? Not allowing Ms. Armstrong the courtesy of believing her memories, is both unkind and judgmental.

The book is good. The story is sad. Every abuse story is both similar and completely unique, at once. The common thread is the control and cruelty from the abuser, coupled with insecurities and fear from the abused. Taylor Armstrong bares every flaw and blemish in herself. That could not have been even remotely easy to do. She provides contact information in the book's last few pages for others who may be in dangerous relationships. All in all, I hope this book will help others to be strong and escape from abusive marriages. I hope it can do that.
Profile Image for Angela Holland.
413 reviews46 followers
March 9, 2012
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 further proof that we never know what goes on behind close doors. I like the way Taylor did not say that Russell was a bad person she stated he was sick, which is true. I feel for both her and her daughter. For someone that has never been around abuse this is a good book for them to read as you may get a better understanding of why the abused don't leave and think the way they do. My sister was in an abusive relationship for years and I know I used to wonder why she did not just leave. Well for them it is not that simple and the effects of the abuse still linger even after being away from it for almost 16 years. I did not understand until I took a class to help me understand, not everyone has an opportunity to do this so I suggest reading this book to help. I give this book 4 stars.
Profile Image for Maggie Gul.
68 reviews
February 22, 2016
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 nightmare. Then she practically stalked this Russell guy until he had no choice but to date her. He even warned her that he was not a good guy. Yet she continued to pursue him. Doesn't sound like an "insecure" woman to me. More like Borderline or Histrionic Personality disorder...
The only reason I finished this book was so I could competently write a review to trash this book.

Two thoughts on memoirs:

One: maybe you should be over 50? How does sitting around until age 40 doing nothing qualify for a memoir?

Two: The life described in a memoir should give the reader an insight to help them overcome a similar life endeavor.

Taylor Armstrong went straight from her relationship with Russell to marrying the lawyer who helped in the divorce. How has she shown any sign of improvement from "co-dependency"??

So, if there were another Taylor Armstrong work (God forbid). I would suggest the following:

Perhaps sharing some insights into how a woman can accomplish being a gold-digger while maintaining a victim mentality may prove more valuable to Miss Taylor's audience. She could call it "Poor Me" for irony. :-)
Profile Image for Cara Bristol.
Author 90 books874 followers
February 10, 2012
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 accounting of the litany of abuse that she endured and the choices and factors that led up to it, and that kept her there.

Basically, Taylor suffers from crippling low-esteem. It was a case of one severely damaged soul (Taylor) meeting up with a psychopath. After reading Taylor’s story, I believe that it hadn’t been Russell, she would have found someone else to abuse her.

Taylor says in retrospect that there were “red flags” that Russell would be abusive. Red flags? Try screaming sirens, neon lights flashing, “ABUSIVE PSYCHOPATH – RUN!” but she either ignored them or made excuses for the behavior. On their first date he accused her of f-ing the restaurant’s bartender. He told her one of his ex wives had accidentally “run into” his hand – and she believed him.

Note to women everywhere: there are three certainties in life: death, taxes and that no wife accidentally runs into her husband’s fist. Russell suffered from intense paranoia, and his violence extended beyond Taylor. He tried to drown a man and beat up the fiancé of one of Taylor’s friends, literally knocking out the guy’s front teeth. As for Taylor, he beat her head against the car door, he dislocated her jaw and broke her eye socket. It was the latter incident that finally convinced Taylor to leave him.

Throughout the book, Taylor reiterates how much she loved Russell and how she believed that he loved her even though he abused her. She attributes much of her low self-esteem to her childhood. One of her first memories dates back to age 2 when she witnessed her father beating her mother. I don’t mean to minimize the impact of that, but her mother left her father right after, in contrast to Taylor who allowed her own daughter to be exposed to an abusive relationship for much longer and used her as a shield – hiding out in her Kennedy’s bed in the hopes Russell wouldn’t beat her. As child, Taylor felt inferior to other kids who took fun vacations while she spent summers with her grandparents.

Taylor is a college-educated woman who gave up a job and business for Russell. She had many friends who offered to help her, and although Russell controlled the purse strings – she had access to credit cards. She volunteered at a crisis center for women at the time she was being abused! She could have left.

By the end of the book, Taylor still claims to love Russell and seems to have sympathy for him. I think that Russell’s suicide granted HER a reprieve from death row. Although they were “divorcing” at the time of his death, I still believe there’s a good chance she would have gone back to him – just as I believe she���s not out of the woods yet and may hook up with another abuser.

They say that no one who has not experienced that kind of abuse can understand why a woman chooses to stay in the situation and that’s entirely true. I read the book, and I still don’t understand it.

If Taylor’s story is your story, if you’re being abused, if you’re “in love” with an abuser, end it right now. That kind of “love” won’t save you, your relationship or your children. If you can’t get out for yourself, do it for your kids.
February 7, 2012
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. There are no facts to back up any of her claims. If readers would do their homework on the type of person she is before wasting money buying the book - that would be great. She is a con artist who changed her name numerous times. She claimed to be an heiress of the Ford Motor family, she is a grifter and has numerous lawsuits against her right now. This book is a slap in the face to all domestic violence victims. I would love to see whatever facts can back up her claims - none exist. To be honest, I could not finish reading it - I just could not stomach it any longer.
Profile Image for Emily.
452 reviews23 followers
August 16, 2012
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 abused. And scum bags get abused. It isn't just a certain group of people who are in that situation. I think it is a lot harder to 'escape' when you are rich. That seems wrong, but those women have so much to lose. And once you get comfy in your lifestyle it is really hard to walk away from it. I've wondered many time about what I would do if my husband punched me. Seriously, what would I do? Would I walk away from my entire life (house, bank account, etc) at the first punch? I don't think I would. I think I would be so shocked that I would rationalize it. I don't think that is weak. I think that is normal. (Anyways, my husband doesn't hit me...just to clarify.) Would I leave the second time? I honestly do not know.

One last thing, I really do not think that Taylor actually wrote this book. I'm not saying that she isn't articulate enough, but this book really was well put together and seemed to have been down by someone with experience. Or else she has a fantastic editor who did A LOT of work.
Profile Image for Jess.
505 reviews9 followers
June 24, 2022
3.5 to 4 stars. It’s an interesting read, but I didn’t find it to be particularly life changing or anything of that sort!
Profile Image for J.
900 reviews
April 25, 2012
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 spot the deception.

That aside, I feel sorry she was beaten and abused but I was also super annoyed with her personality. She seemed to be constantly looking for someone to take care of her and save her. (Even before her relationship with Russell.) If you can't take care of yourself to a reasonable degree, there is no point in saving you because you'll just end up in another mess. She wants the security of someone totally taking care of her, the flip side of that is that she accepts being dominated and beaten. I'm sure ten years from now she'll be in another abusive relationship. She seems to actively seek out abusive situations and I don't see her personality changing. Even at the end of the book, she seems to not have a firm grasp of reality or accept the responsibility of taking care of herself.

I was also SUPER annoyed that she was indigently self-righteous at the end of the book about the lawsuits currently against her. If she actually was forced by Russell to sign financial documents, that is a legal defense -- but it isn't the fault of the people suing her. They had no reason to think she didn't sign the paperwork freely. Presumably she lived luxuriously on the money from those financial dealings, but now she refuses to accept the bad with the good. I don't expect anyone to be happy about a lawsuit, but her whole reaction is repulsively indulgent, self-centered and entitled.

I especially appreciated how she talks about having to take care of her daughter financially, as if that should make the world bend over backwards for her and not hold her accountable for her financial situation. Sorry, you don't get to keep on being a millionaire with someone else's money because you have a daughter. There are millions of people with daughters in this world. Get over yourself. Okay, actually I decided I don't like her at all. Her talk reminds me of Kwame Kilpatrick who said loudly, self-righteously and repetitively that it was "unfair" to punish his family (who he financial supported) for his crimes. Implying that it would be an injustice to take away the money he gained illegally because his family would also suffer. You made your bed, you lie in it. If your family suffers as a consequence of your actions, it is YOUR fault. You don't get a pass.

On a lesser note, I was also disappointed that she brushes over how she moved to Beverly Hills and initially comes into money. She acts like she was this innocent, poor Oklahoma girl when she met Russell. In her story though, she is already living in Beverly Hills, driving a Porsche and eating regularly at the Four Seasons when she first meets him. I have a guilty curiosity about how that transition is made but it isn't really explained. The end of the book also seems label heavy (mentioning cars like Bentleys, BMWs and Expeditions). That really disconnected me from the any-woman tone she built up over the earlier story.
Profile Image for Author Lesley Hal.
39 reviews16 followers
April 12, 2012
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 started pounding" It did? You never went on a date with the man before which also means you wouldn't know "where this is going" because there wouldn't have been any history between you two. The eye situation is one that has been butchered to death with different variations being told from the interviews to what is written in the book. During the ET interview, you say you were in the ER and Russell was with you and never left your side, but in the book you're at lasik eye clinic with your assistant and Russell. BUT during the reunion, you were only with your assistant and once you were done at the doctor's office (not lasik center or the ER as previously stated)you sent the assistant to your house to pack some bags for you. What happened to Russell being there? You were afraid of Russell, but you have a 50 thousand dollar birthday party for your daughter (not odd) but what is odd is the fact that you challenged his surprise that he bought for his daughter. Ultimately, you had him get rid of the puppy, but he's abusive and you're scared?

I will never tell anyone not to buy a book nor do I bash books, but in the case of Hiding from Reality, something is definitely not right about Taylor's story. I think the timing is suspicious, having no regards for his children is tacky and no one story is ever told the same. The fact that you've changed your name a hundred times and have shady dealings where money was laundered and or misappropriated tells me exactly what you're trying to do. You're hoping that being a victim is going to make all of the lawsuits go away since you were supposedly under duress. Women who suffer at the hands of domestic abuse should be outraged because what they are going through is REAL and a serious problem in this country. For someone to profit off of the pain and suffering of something so serious, I can't even began to fathom the mindset. I feel sorry for the children's memory of their father being forever tarnished by lies and deceit.

The only thing I am glad about is the domestic abuse hot-line numbers etc that are listed at the back of the book for those who really need the help. Taylor, Shana or whomever you really are, I think if you really want to help sufferers having a percentage of the proceeds from sales of this book going towards a legitimate organization that's not headed by you and speaking at the schools and women's shelters would come across a lot better than what you're doing now
Profile Image for Lori Anaple.
265 reviews7 followers
August 18, 2012

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 enough to love yourself enough to leave. I don't mean that snidely either. Not everyone is that fortunate.

I have no doubts that writing this book helped her in her grieving process. I thank her for sharing her story. She didn't have to. I don't think it is a way for her to stay relevant. I think that she gets hounded daily about her story, so she decided to share it. If she makes some money out of this, more power to her. Even if it is response to the lawsuits that she is facing, I don't care. She saw a way to help herself and she took it. I don't even know if that is the case or not, but that is my opinion.

I can tell that her therapy has really helped her. She owns all of her choices. She doesn't villify Russell. She knows there was good in him. I think she did a good job of leaving a memory of him that his children can be proud of. She talked about his mental illness and differentiated that from his person. She makes it very clear that his behaviors were not okay. She also makes it clear that his violence did not define him.

Maybe she would have taken him back if he had lived. I don't want to think that she would. I like to think that she has become strong enough to maintain her distance. But who knows. I never wish anyone dead, but I do think that as warped as it is, he gave her the biggest gift he could. He protected her the only way that he knew how. She will mend. She will survive. Sure he left her with a screwed up financial situation, but he also left her with her life.

I do wish that she would have talked more about how she ended up in Beverly Hills. I wish she would have talked a bit more about how her mother reacted to the violence that she suffered.

And I do think that this story will help people. They have to be ready to hear it. But if it even helps a few people or if there are people who can just know that they are not alone, then she has accomplished her goal.
17 reviews
March 18, 2012
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 difficult time understanding why someone would continue to date let alone marry and have a child with a person who was so disgusting and verbally abusive to her on their very first date. There is no reason for that- and as she states she had a logical education, studied medical areas in college and sciences- there is no logic in her actions.

I don't believe this book will accomplish her apparent "goal" which she states over and over again of helping other women who are abused. If it all is true she allowed things to happen to her friends and family- violent things- many, many times. I don't feel there is an excuse for this. Nor is there an excuse for having your daughter be privy to such things for such a long period of time.

Taylor was not a woman without skills, opportunities or her own means of supporting herself. I just have trouble with the concept as a whole.

I have worked with people who were abused in the past- and I have witnessed how hard it is to leave- but most of these people didn't have such blaring warning signs from so very early on.

I wish the best for her- and everyone in her shoes however I don't respect this story.
Profile Image for Carrie.
381 reviews24 followers
December 21, 2017
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 than I thought it would. Even if you aren't a fan of the show or Taylor (which I'm not...she was one of my least favorite characters on the show), you should definitely give this a read. You will learn a lot about the reasons why an abuse victim can stay with their abuser for so long and throughout so much. But you will also learn about the mental illness that Russell had and could not control. This is a must read for anyone who knows someone who has been or is being abused...you might actually find out that there are those you don't know who are being abused behind closed doors as well.
Profile Image for K.G. White.
949 reviews16 followers
August 16, 2013
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 happened here, and this book certainly did not clarify any of the mystery. She is not a trustworthy narrator and so I was skeptical about the truth surrounding her retelling. It was still interesting to read, not long or arduous at all.
Profile Image for Nitra.
2 reviews1 follower
October 10, 2012
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 this book and she wasn't close to being healed at the time it was written. I think if she would have waited, then it would have been more meaningful.
Profile Image for Shane.
18 reviews
March 3, 2012
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 but what was written. I have no clue how this book has an average rating of over three stars.
Profile Image for Lisa.
154 reviews65 followers
February 14, 2012
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.
Profile Image for Tabbee.
17 reviews4 followers
October 14, 2013
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.
Profile Image for Laura Beth.
184 reviews4 followers
May 25, 2013
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 her daughter. The entire story just doesn't sit well with me, either because it was written very matter of fact or because it was written against someone that cannot defend himself. It also paints a lot of people in a negative light if they were all really aware of the extent of the alleged abuses and no one did anything. There is one story that says he brutally assaulted a man; threw the man's fiancee & Taylor into a pool and then threw a pit bull in the pool all the while continually assaulting the man that was bigger than him. And the other pit bull apparently didn't react. I seriously doubt if I had been the fiancee or my partner that man, that we would not have pressed charges and a lawsuit, if for no other reason than to try to get our friend out. Especially if we had the resources that are alluded to in this book. I also doubt our basset hound would have sat docilely by while her "parents" and "brother" were being attacked. And no charges were filed even though there was supposedly quite a bit of dental and facial damage. So it is either not true, misrepresented, the other couple is crazy or he had something on the other couple. And that's just one story in the book. I feel bad for her because she's obviously been through a lot but it's all stuff she was willing to risk her daughter's well-being on.
Profile Image for Navem.
313 reviews8 followers
June 10, 2013
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, it makes me sick. My mother and my own sister, all were in abusive relationships at one time in their lives. Nobody knew it was happening, until they made known that it WAS happening. I do not think it's anyone's place to judge Taylor and what she has gone through. That said, here's my review.

Taylor is not the best writer. But she is definitely not the worst. I found her story to be a bit jumpy. She doesn't stick to one part of her life, she kind of jumps around to different episodes and times. It's not confusing, it just shows her inexperience with writing. Nothing of her story reads as fake to me. I identified with a lot of her "not worthy" feelings and her not feeling good enough. I am sad to admit it, but I also went through a time where I also begged someone to stay with me. I can relate to that side of her. It's sad, and I see how Russell was so easily able to keep her under control. I applaud her for sharing her very personal story, especially in a time where women so freely tear each other down and don't offer support. I hope she is able to find happiness for herself and her daughter.
Profile Image for Jen Kirsch.
129 reviews45 followers
February 17, 2013
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 Taylor's words were still focused on defending herself and I felt ever so sad that despite the fact that Russel is gone, she still feels the need to be defensive; to justify.

I appreciated the tales of her self-doubts and the explanations as to why she stayed despite it all. I appreciated her suffered friendships all due to her defending her husband. All of this shed such a real reality of the abuser/abussee relationship. I just feel like with her public persona, instead of blaming so much on her insecurity she really could've delved deeper and used her fame for a transformative cause.

A fine, quick read if you're one curious about the details of the abusive relationship you read so much about over the past few years. But I'd love to read a part II written by Taylor five years from now, when she can see the relationship and situation with clear, more reliable eyes. Hindsight is a dime a dozen.
March 9, 2012
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 different people, different situations since she was a little girl. Her low-esteem and feelings of unworth led her straight to a psychopath named Russell. If all of these things that happened in the story were true -- Oh my goodness. I feel for women of domestic violence, and I hope this books gives at least one person strength to find her way out of the situation. My wish for Taylor - grow a backbone, find your true self, and be happy.
Profile Image for Alissa.
34 reviews1 follower
March 28, 2013
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 all of the pieces in precise, order due to the very nature of one's mechanisms of defense. Is it the best written book? Of course not. But if you want to gain empathy, knowledge and awareness of the issue of domestic violence, read this book. Armstrong is honest and has a sense of insight and self-awareness that is remarkable and commendable, given her experiences and little distance to these events in her life. Well done.
Profile Image for Liz Faulhaber .
7 reviews2 followers
June 12, 2012
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 the end of the book I felt as though if Russell had never died they would have possibly reconciled. I believe she wanted this book to be her defiant "I was abused and now Im taking control of my life" but it came out more of a whimper for help.
Profile Image for Joseph McGarry.
Author 3 books71 followers
December 19, 2013
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, and maybe even killed her. If she hasn't done this already, I would advise her to give a copy of this book to Kennedy when she's old enough to understand, with the message to read this and avoid the same mistakes Mom made. Media reports say that she's engaged now. I hope this relationship is better.
Profile Image for Katie.
37 reviews3 followers
August 12, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Jenn.
543 reviews7 followers
May 27, 2013
This was the best of the Beverly Hills Housewives books so far. I was pleasantly surprised that Taylor tried to write an honest book about her relationship without name dropping and showboating. There wasn't any new information in the book or anything that surprised me (besides all her name changing). Another quick read.
Profile Image for Amber Cooley.
12 reviews1 follower
October 10, 2012
This book answered a lot of the questions I had after watching RHOBH. It was eye opening to hear everything from Taylor's perspective, when I had previously viewed her in an entirely different way when watching the show.
Profile Image for Marci.
105 reviews2 followers
October 18, 2012
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.
Profile Image for Cheryl.
83 reviews28 followers
June 4, 2015
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 ignored a lot of the early warnings signs that could had prevented her from being in an unhealthy relationship.

While it's not the best written memoir and sketchy in terms of its timeline, a few of the accounts that I felt were whether believable - the Super Bowl aftermath and the black eye that ended being the last straw between she and Russell, out of all the accounts in the book are probably the most difficult to read because of the mental picture I developed while reading it.

Since this book's release,

***Disclaimer*** Names/Identifying details of some of the people portrayed in the book have been changed.

Rating - 3.5/5
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