Goodbye, Sweet Girl: A Story of Domestic Violence and Survival

Kelly Sundberg. Harper, $26.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-06-249767-3
In this powerful debut memoir, Sundberg delivers a harrowing account of an abusive marriage and how she left it. Upon getting pregnant at 26, Sundberg married her boyfriend, Caleb, and over the course of eight years, Caleb went from screaming at Sundberg to beating and choking her. In their early years, the couple lived in Idaho, finding joy in their son and sometimes each other, despite Caleb’s fiery temper and Sundberg’s bouts of depression. Sundberg presents candid portraits of herself and Caleb as complicated people that transcend abuse stereotypes—she is ambitious and outgoing, and her husband is sensitive and anxious. As Sundberg found professional success as a writer, Caleb, also a writer, felt threatened and the abuse intensified. Though they attended counseling and Caleb attempted sobriety, things got worse. When Caleb smashed a ceramic bowl into her foot, causing an injury Sundberg wasn’t able to hide, she finally left him. After settling her divorce, Sundberg moved to Ohio with her son to begin a PhD program. Throughout the book, Sundberg contemplates a recurring question in the public discourse on domestic violence—why women stay with abusive men (for example, that women might overvalue the sacredness of marriage). Sundberg cogently ties together the painful chain of events in her life and the personal growth that resulted from it. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/09/2018
Release date: 06/01/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 272 pages - 978-0-06-249769-7
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-284829-1
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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