This book is amazing. The topic of abuse is not something you want to think much about. It is mostly hidden behind a wall of silence and if it gets public attention, it’s usually garish sensationalism. Not so in this book. It is completely beyond me how the author managed to write about severe abuse – both as a child and as an adult woman – without it being garish and shocking. The atmosphere is one of quiet pain and that gets under your skin.
I could not put the book down and read it in one go deep into the night. I have read things like this before, but usually I either mentally squeeze my eyes shut and hurry through to get it over with or I want to scream with outrage. Here, I found myself trapped right along with Maria in the wide-eyed disbelief that this could really be happening, enduring the suffering with her.
If there are any complaints I have – and I am complaining on a very high level – it’s that there is a rift at the end when Pietro takes over the telling of the story. Maria’s narrative stops at the most dramatic point and I would have expected Pietro to pick it up there, to tell how he got out of the car, how he scrambled over to Maria just in time before Matteo could see him, how he found her unconscious and accompanied her to his father’s house. But nothing like that happened.
His narrative drifts on rather superficially and doesn’t carry the same intensity that the first part of the book has.
Then there are a few questions that I have. How come Pietro fell in love with Maria? In the story it doesn’t take very long for Maria to start trusting him. How can that be if she only shortly before that decided never to trust anyone ever again? And how did she manage to enjoy sex with him when all her experience in that field was painful and abusive? Those things are not resolved to my satisfaction, but it doesn’t bother me enough to reduce the rating.
The book is truly a piece of art.