Monday, February 11, 2008

Public Lies by Brenda Youngerman

"Why don't you just leave?" Every woman in an abusive relationship has faced that question, whether from friends and family, or from deep within herself. Anyone who has ever experienced abuse knows that the issue is much more complicated than those five words, and Brenda Youngerman masterfully takes the reader into the web of marital abuse in Public Lies.

Nancy Cooper is a beautiful woman who has a seemingly perfect life: two kids, devoted husband, fledgling business venture, a home in the suburbs with two vehicles parked in the driveway. But behind the facade of the normal suburban wife lies a terrible truth. Nancy's life is not what it seems.

When fear for her safety finally drives her from her home, Nancy determines that she can only escape if she disappears. And it works . . . for a while. But the seething anger inside Vincent Cooper, Nancy's husband and the father of her children, follows her family and eats away at the life she builds. Her children, especially her son, begins to ask questions that Nancy cannot answer, and she begins to ask questions of her own. Is there any freedom when you are constantly running away? She knows that she must return to face Vince . . . and his anger.

Vince has spent three years thinking of only one goal: to punish his wife. It is an obsession that consumes him and becomes the sole guiding force in his life. He attacks her through the only area that she is still vulnerable: their children. Fueled by substance abuse, his need for revenge seeks only its need to destroy Nancy, no matter what the cost. And Nancy can only watch her children pay the consequences.

Tautly written, Public Lies takes the reader into a land of terror seldom explored so realistically. Can a woman be abused without physical violence? Can children be endangered by a legal system that cannot deal with a new form of domestic violence? Can you stop a person who is single-mindedly determined to destroy you, when the law is on his side? Suddenly, "Why don't you just leave?" isn't so simple anymore.

Alesha Gee
The Sunpiper Book Review

No comments: