Book Review… When I Hit You

I didn’t think I could start it, I didn’t think I could finish it, but it was done…today.

This is not an easy book to read.

As the name suggests, it deals with an abusive relationship of an unnamed protagonist with her husband, a university professor with communist leanings.

One gets sucked into the chapters and encounters the systematic breakdown of the human spirit as witnessed in a brutal, isolating relationship.

The level of brutality increases with every passing day where the narrator, an aspiring writer, finds every avenue of communication with the outside world unavailable to her. As she sinks onto her cocoon of isolation, the brutality of physical assaults increase. Her husband’s desire to beat her into being an idealized version of an obedient wife leads to situations that are too painful to read through.

This book is an insight into what we read as ‘domestic violence’… Two words that fill the heart with terror about what happens behind closed doors. A secret on one wants to interfere with or know about. The shroud of silence, the hidden bruises the hurting heart are laid bare in this book.

What we are introduced to is also the indomitable spirit of the narrator and the will to live and reclaim her life.

I was in a small lift once and as the doors shut a sense of claustrophobia threatened to overwhelm me… I remember trying desperately to focus on my breathing to calm my racing heart… It was this feeling that revisited me over and over again as I read this book.

The realisation that thousands, if not millions of women go through this ordeal in their relationships on a daily basis, filled my heart with deep sadness.

It’s a difficult book to read but it’s a pertinent one.

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