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Not Exactly Love: A Memoir

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3.99  ·  Rating details ·  996 ratings  ·  92 reviews
It was 1969, and all the rules were changing, when Betty, a woefully single French teacher on Long Island, met the handsome but edgy new teacher at her school, a hippie just back from Woodstock. His vitality opened up a new world to her—but when they married, his rages turned against her, and often ended with physical violence. Like millions of women who discover they've m ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published October 11th 2016 by She Writes Press
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Betty Hafner Hi, Karen...I hoped to show my readers how complicated it is to be in an abusive relationship. I wanted to convey how my temperament, my family histor…moreHi, Karen...I hoped to show my readers how complicated it is to be in an abusive relationship. I wanted to convey how my temperament, my family history, the time I lived in, and the cultural expectations affected the decisions I made then.(less)
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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 ·  996 ratings  ·  92 reviews


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Martie Nees Record
May 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Genre: Memoir
Publisher: She Writes Press
Pub. Date: Oct. 11, 2016

Mini-Review

“Part memoir, part warm-hearted look at the '70s, and part therapeutic journey “Not Exactly Love: A Memoir” is an intense and inspirational story of a woman who grew from her experience.” –Goodreads blurb.

It is the above book blurb that peaked my interest in wanting to read this book. This memoir takes place in the early 1970s; a battered wife endures years of beatings without telling her family or friends. Back then, ve
...more
Marcia Mabee
Nov 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Not Exactly Love is an amazing read. Amazing because it vividly recalls the details of an abusive early marriage – forty years in the past -- in all of its horror as well as its tender moments savored by an emotionally neglected young woman making her escape so difficult. The reader is drawn into the world of the 70’s with its long-hair, mini-skirts, and music and into the slowly escalating violence against a vulnerable young woman who comes into her marriage poorly defended because of early emo ...more
Connie
Jan 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
While the story is not a new one, the author's candid and intimate telling of a relationship gone so very wrong gripped me almost immediately. I noticed I was walking with the author through her tortuous journey which ultimately, at last lead to the door. Whew !
I put the book down and waited a bit before finishing it.. This story, unlike so many, ends well for all the characters. Renewal of lives and healing of spirit. It doesn't get any better than that.
...more
Maria Butler
Oct 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Reading Betty Hafner's Not Exactly Love made me uncomfortable. I often found myself wondering why she didn't just leave her physically and emotionally abusive husband, while simultaneously understanding at a visceral level why she did not. The times, as they say, were different, as evidenced most clearly by the response of the police officers who were called during a violent episode: take your wife out to dinner, they told the man who had just attacked her.

During the 1970s when the events of th
...more
Laurel
May 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book does not miss a beat. It will resonate deeply with any woman who has suffered at the hands of an abusive man, and will serve as a stark warning to any woman who has not.

Despite the fear and violence and relentless mental stress the author suffered, she is amazingly big-hearted in her memoir, managing to convey all the three-dimensional humanity of both the abused and the abuser. The writing style is very natural, often charming and even humorous, despite the subject matter. Like other
...more
Christie
Aug 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Oh Betty!! I cried for you! This book was so heartbreaking and so uplifting, and such a fantastic ending. I won an advance copy to read through Goodreads giveaways this month. And am so glad this book came to me!!!!

I was so ANGRY when you talked about the lack of help you had from doctors or civil servants. If only you were born a little later. When this wasn't a "take your wife out for a nice dinner" problem. You take your wife out for a nice dinner because you love and respect her. Not because
...more
Carol Walsh
Oct 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Not Exactly Love is a beautifully written, heartfelt memoir that is hard to put down. Hafner verbally paints compelling and dramatic pictures using powerful dialogue and vivid descriptions. With self-awareness Hafner shares how she struggled with her own contrasting emotions, as well as the ambivalent feelings of love and hate for her abusive husband. With honesty she shares her deepest thoughts and feelings, helping the reader understand how she became trapped in a seductive situation and why s ...more
Patti
Nov 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Koren
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: abuse
This is a book about spousal abuse. It takes place in the late 60's to early 70's. One thing about this book that I did not like was that at times it almost seemed more like erotica. I didn't think it was necessary to go into such detail to talk about their sexual escapades. I hated the ending and the choice she made after so many problems with infertility. I wont go into detail as that would be a spoiler. Most of this book I just wanted to yell at her to quit being so stupid. I have read much b ...more
Helen Zuman
Nov 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Being in a cult is like being in an abusive relationship with a group; being in an abusive relationship is like being in a cult of two. So it follows that if you’re writing a memoir about either cult involvement or spousal abuse, and you entered the coercive situation as an adult, you must provide nuanced answers to the same three questions, if your story is to hold: How did you get in? Why didn’t you leave earlier? How did you get out? That is, you must reveal the inner logic of a string of cho ...more
Eudora
May 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I met the author at a get-together for writers in Saranac Lake last year. It took me awhile to act on my good intentions to buy her book, and then to read it. It is an impressive book - for all the reasons other reviewers mentioned. Very skillful narration and selection of details, and evocative of a time (not entirely ended) when the pressure to be paired up was palpable and the momentum towards the altar pushed young people along and into disastrous commitments. Bravo!
Betty Johnson
Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good but sad

😂 I enjoyed reading this book. I thought it was somewhat short but very interesting. I was saddened by all the abuse she received but never gave up. Good book for all women to read. It will enlighten you about abuse and what to be aware of in relationships. Money well spent.




Jewel Hart
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It’s 1969, on Long Island, NY, unmarried and single French teacher, Betty, meets a handsome new science teacher named Jack. He is an edgy hippie type guy and the couple seems to have a lot in common. He is handsome and charismatic, and Betty falls hard for him. His energy and spirit attracted Betty and brought new things and ideas to her. Her life seemed to have opened up and blossomed because of Jack. But Jack also had a bad temper, which was a warning sign that Betty reluctantly ignored.

It was
...more
Ellyn
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I grew up in the 70s and I saw relationships like Betty Hafner's, though as a child I probably wasn't sophisticated enough to put all of the pieces together or to process outcomes. I also went on to have my own relationship challenges, where I regretfully made poor choices and gave away some of my power before learning about self care, self love and boundaries.

This memoir rang very true for me, illustrating how easy it is to become entangled in a relationship with an abuser, and how difficult i
...more
Cheryl
I won this as a GoodReads Giveaway in exchange for an honest review so here it is. I almost gave this book a 5, wish I could do 4.5.

Although the subject matter is painful to read Betty does a great job of drawing the reader in, explaining her mindset as this situation is unfolding and taking us right through the resolution of her plight.

If the reader has never been in this situation they will be thinking "WHY doesn't she just LEAVE?" Each time she is hit Betty reminds us of the time period and
...more
Ann
Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, nonfiction
An engrossing read written by a woman in an abusive relationship in the early 1970s on the east coast of the USA. As a the reader, you know that she survived and that she will eventually leave him. The only mystery is how much she will take before realizing that her survival depends upon her flight. The signs of his violence manifest themselves before the wedding, but Betty, in typical fashion, excuses them away as isolated incidents and convinces herself that she can change him. There are long ...more
Jodell
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
well baby, there you stand With your little head, down in your hand Oh, my God, you can't believe it's happening again Your baby's gone, and you're all alone And it looks like the end
And you're back out on the street And you're tryin' to remember How do you start it over
You don't know if you can You don't care much for a stranger's touch But you can't hold your man
You never thought you'd be alone This far down the line And I know what's been on your mind
You're afraid it's all been wasted time Th
...more
Amy
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway.

My actual rating for this is 4.5, only because this book wasn't something I couldn't put down, which is one of my criteria when I assign a 5-star rating. Otherwise, I have this to say to Betty Hafner: Thank you so much for being brave enough to write what must have been very difficult for you. There are so many women around the world who are regularly, brutally abused by their spouses. They feel hopeless, powerless to change the vicious cycle, and I wish
...more
Stephany
Jun 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
***I won this through a goodreads giveaway***

3.5Stars
This book is beautifully written and I appreciated Hafner’s vulnerability in sharing the abuse she endured during her first marriage. Her account emphasized cycles of abuse and how the things someone experiences in childhood, can stay with them for years to come. Hafner’s story demonstrates the ways in which people can rationalize things and make excuses when they are not yet ready to confront an issue. I felt frustrated at times by the comple
...more
Irene Allison
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: human-landscape
A well-written, heart-felt examination of the illusions we maintain in a relationship where love has gone all wrong, inching instead into abuse.

I admire the author's honesty and willingness to question her own role in submitting to the physical, mental, and emotional dysfunction of her marriage. And her willingness to examine the painful reality of suffering the consequences, all while hoping that the dysfunction might one day just simply disappear.

It takes tremendous courage to live through s
...more
Trena
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Don't pick up this book unless you have 3 uninterrupted hours! It was amazing! ...more
Brenda
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: won
A very well written and easy to read book with vivid and candid descriptions of life as a young woman in the 1970's in an intimate and tumultuous relationship. I loved the short chapters which made it easier to leave the story when my busy life took me away from it, although I never wanted to put the book down.
Personally I found the story validating when she describes the hope she held onto and the rationalizations that kept her stuck. ESPECIALLY when she describes the tension and constant aler
...more
Kathy P.
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Struggle and survival

This is a well written, thoughtful account of an abusive marriage and how it can consume one's life. I liked this book because the author was honest and forthright about her struggles and wove an interesting narrative which was easy to read and thought provoking. I wished she would have given more information about her life after Jack and about the aftermath of her momentous decision made right after leaving him. Aside from that silence, this was a great book.
...more
Leif C. Crowe
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This could happen to any woman! The author wrote a candid, brave, authentic memoir. We can learn much from Betty Hafner. It would be an honor to to have Betty as a friend!

Does this author have a website? Perhaps she might have included some photos of her art work. She mentions her new husband and son. Was she able to conceive with her second husband? Does she maintain an ongoing friendship with her ex-husband? (I'm not sure I could.) I wish you all the best, and hope you will continue to write
...more
Virginia Simpson
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The wonder of Betty Hafner's Not Exactly Love is how she manages to tell the story of her abusive marriage without making her husband a villain. Her honesty about herself and her husband are remarkable and offer great insight to the reader. Through her, we understand an insecure woman who overlooks a man's shortcomings and marries him despite evidence of violence. We know why she stays with him and the steps and growth needed for her to ultimately find her own power so she could leave. I am impr ...more
Annie Quinn
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A good friend of mine recommended Betty Hafner's book. I was happy to find that the book was well written, informative, and such a heartfelt story. I was able to feel her confusion as to 'what' the definition of LOVE can be. I am happy that the story had a happy resolution.
I would recommend this book to anyone as it portrays the ups and downs of a relationship as well as the difficulty of choosing a new path.
Enjoy the Moments
...more
Tonya Walker
Apr 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio
"Why doesn't she just leave?"

If you have ever found yourself asking that question then this is the read for you. It was interesting to hear directly from the person in the abusive relation and their reasons and rationales for staying, and what ultimately drives them to get out. Great work, Betty!


I received a complimentary copy of this audiobook from the publisher/author in exchange for a voluntary honest review.
...more
J Little
Oct 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
I won this book on Goodreads and found it to be an interesting read. She told her story in such a way that you felt the emotions she was going through in the chronological order of how they hit her. She was in a bad place but trying to work it out until the final pages of the book. I recommend this book as a true story of "Not Exactly Love" ...more
Alexandra
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I received this from the Goodreads giveaway program.

This was a fast past read, I tend to read memoirs faster than I do novels.
What went on in her marriage made me upset. It was hard to read every time he hit her. Knowing she was scared and afraid, but to frightened to do anything. I'm glad she finally freed herself from such an unloving relationship.
...more
Sarah Hamilton
Aug 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
(possible spoilers)
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While reading this book I had so many conflicting feelings and emotions. I couldn't understand why Betty just didn't leave. I felt like she had a decent enough support system and she would be okay. I questioned her character in the baby situation, but I understand her, too. Overall, it was a quick read with a pleasant ending after lots of disturbing scenarios.
...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Annotation Correction Needed 3 15 Apr 06, 2016 06:51AM  

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Betty loves a good story, with an enticing setting, complicated characters, and maybe a dash of humor. Her favorites leave her with something to think about. She has written monthly book reviews for more than a decade in The Town Courier newspaper in Montgomery County, MD. She wrote two practical career-change books that stemmed from her workshops for adults―WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE? published by L ...more

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