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Fistful of Love Kindle Edition
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This is a story for those who like love stories with real people in them. Flawed. Scared. And people who look like the world we live in: Lesbian, Gay, Brown, White, all people.
No matter your $exual orientation, gender, race, color, you can find yourself in an @busive relationship. Man, woman, anyone can be @bused or be the @buser.
In a search, I discovered 1 out of 4 women and 1 out of 7 men will be @bused by an intimate partner. That astounded me.
When you seek out and find love, it’s supposed to be a joyous occasion. You shouldn’t fear for your life. You should be happy to wake up, come home, or see your partner’s face. You should lean into their touch and not shy away from it.
Jeya did step away from her (female) @buser, Rayne, and I respected her strength to do so. However, like most victims, she went back thinking things would change. And like others painfully discover, it doesn’t.
Luckily for Jeya, she had people watching her back, sickened by the @buse she suffered, and willing to help her move on. Renee depicted the emotional, physical and psychological @buse men and women face every minute of every day. Like Roman, I was angry and befuddled how anyone could go back to an @buser but this is where mental manipulation comes into play.
For the outcome of the story, Renee projected one plausible and highly possible outcome to such a real life scenario/plot. Her story may not be labeled a biography but I know many individuals will feel as if they are reading and reliving their own horrific tale.
For those who deal with @buse, please don’t suffer. You deserve better in life. You deserve a lifetime full of love not days/hours/minutes shrouded in a layer of fear, pain, and suffering of any kind.
Cronin does an excellent job of recreating the terror of abuse; at several points throughout the novel I found myself afraid for Jeya, as well as those closest to her. The realistic depictions of the stages of intimate partner violence and steady pacing are two strengths of the book. One of my quibbles with Fistful of Love is the revelation that her best friend’s brother is gay near the end of the novel. It doesn’t seem to fit, and might have worked better as a subplot had it been introduced earlier in the novel. As it stands, it’s just filler, and does little to move the story forward.
Fistful of Love is a solid addition to a growing body of work by Black lesbian writers that focuses on abuse and resilience. Cronin’s skill as a writer is unfolding, and I look forward to her next offering.
Jeya is a compelling narrator, and its easy to be sympathetic toward her. I actually found it harder to like Roman, her best friend who wants to help her leave her abusive girlfriend. I understand his protective nature, but it sometimes felt like he overstepped, and his own anger was obviously difficult for Jeya to manage. I appreciated that Rayne wasn’t a stock villain—she was as complicated as Jeya, and I had sympathy for her as well even while wanting her to get help and stop hurting Jeya.
The only thing holding me back with this book was that a lot of it felt like telling us more back story than we probably needed. I wanted to spend more time in the moment, but there was a lot of extra detail I didn’t find relevant to the specific storyline. I would have liked instead to have more about Jeya’s work, especially with the young woman who came to her for help. Drawing that out in parallel to Jeya’s personal issues would have been compelling.
Despite that, I came away from this feeling like I’d learned something. This is definitely a worthwhile read, and I highly recommend it. For deep insights, a strong main character, and a good exploration of a sensitive subject, this gets 4 stars.
I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
Note: I received this book for free from Goodreads Giveaways.