"He’s dead and I’m safe, but I’m still scared. Sometimes I actually miss him, but then in the very next breath I find that I hate him so much that I hope there is a hell, just so that he can be suffering like he left me here to suffer." -Kelly Rimmer, A Mother's Confession
I have a lot of thoughts about A Mother's Confession. It was good, but also INCREDIBLY frustrating. It's not a spoiler to say this is the story of Olivia, a woman whose husband badly abused her. It is told in alternating chapters by her and his mother, Ivy. The story unfolds with more and more details of the abuse and the vile character of David being revealed. I felt for Olivia, even though I struggled to understand how she could stay with a man who treated her like this when she had a caring family nearby and a good job with a kind employer. It's probably not unrealistic, but still so frustrating to hear her being mistreated and growing more and more desperate, yet unable or unwilling to leave him.
Ivy, David's mother is a total disgrace of a human being. She knows her son is probably abusing his wife, but she just accepts it because she is obsessed with him being perfect. I know every mother loves her child, but you don't have to foster their psychotic behavior if you see it even at an early age. I could find no excuse at all for Ivy, and I really just loathed her and self-righteousness and willingness to see past the most obvious signs of her son's terrible behavior. The more I read, the more I loathed Ivy for her blind loyalty and stupidity when it came to her monster of a son. Her delusion caused real damage, and even in the end, I didn't feel she had changed as she should have.
I think because this story seemed quite real, the characters felt especially frustrating. I just wanted to take them by the shoulders and shake sense into them!
This aspect aside, I do think Rimmer has told an important story and I think her decision to tell it through the voices of the two women in the abuser's life
was very clever and well done. The one, his mother, could see him only through rose tinted glasses, while the other, his wife, grew wise to him, but struggled to do anything about it. The story is very absorbing and the twist at the end really came as yet another shock!
I have no first-hand experience of abuse, and know how lucky I am for that, so reading this story was very disturbing yet sadly believable. The characters had near perfect lives on the surface, but beneath that surface the darkest events were taking place. I wish people who were being abused didn't feel shamed by society to speak up and seek help, and I wish victims of abuse were always met with compassion and an open ear. Sadly, neither are often the case. Victims are often treated like fools who have brought the blows and cruelty upon themselves or who are weak in their bodies or minds, and that mentality is so entirely wrong. When those being abused know there is a place to go and there are people who will believe and help them, it saves lives. I don't want to ramble and ramble and get on my high horse, but this book really upset and moved me, and my dear Goodreads friends reading this, I am afraid you are bearing the brunt of my emotional distress in this regard;-)Despite all of this, it was a good book and I am glad I read it. I just wasn't expecting something quite so intense. I will definitely keep my eye on this author, but first I need a little time to get over this book!