Perfect Stranger by Kay Schubach

This is a book about domestic abuse, and the most admirable thing about it is the honesty of the author. Kay Schubach is writing about herself in an extremely vulnerable situation, and yet she manages to describe the sequence of events without moulding her reactions to fit preconceived ideas of how, in hindsight, she should have acted. That said, I was amazed that such a sophisticated and world-aware woman could have been taken in by such a man as Simon Lowe. Even at her first meeting with him, all the signs are there warning her to leave him alone. That she should have extended that first meeting with sex at a nearby hotel is difficult to fathom; however, given her utter desperation for a child, it is possible to see why she may have ignored her intuition and clung to an erroneous image of Simon as the man of her dreams and, hopefully, the father of her child.

Kay makes a disastrous mistake by pretending that Simon is the man for whom she has been searching, but her mistake can in no way justify the way Simon then treats her. The few months she spends with him are a nightmare, and, at times, it is difficult to comprehend that anyone could be as violent, cruel, vindictive, jealous and immature as Simon Lowe.

The book is well written, and Kay makes it very obvious just how difficult it is for a domestic-violence victim to break away from her oppressor. The fear that fills Kay's every day is both tangible and terrifying. That she is eventually able to extricate herself from the situation is an indication of her inner strength and her sense of self; many other women would, unfortunately, not be able to do what she did. A book that is definitely worthwhile reading.

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