I remember this one coming up on a lot of best-of lists (including those of Obama and Bill Gates), and I’m very glad I added it to my TBR pile.

I will start by saying this is not an easy read — it’s dark in a lot of places, and each time you think we’re coming out of the tough times and things will get better you are dragged back in.

Raised by an overbearing survivalist father with a warped view of religion and a submissive mother, living with an abusive older brother and having been allowed a limited education, you’d be forgiven for thinking her story is going to be difficult to engage with.

That is not the case. Instead it gives a fascinating and important look into how we find our place in the world, how we find ourselves, and just what both physical and mental abuse can do.

The first few chapters didn’t get under my skin, but I was commited within a few more and I couldn’t get it out of my head — I was thinking about the book even when I wasn’t reading it.

As an insight to the battles that women still face — not just those raised by extremists — it’s an important book. Equally so for how psychological abuse can be as damaging as physical and have even longer-lasting effects. As a man, it is one of the few times I have been able to experience the terrible physicality men have, even without striking a blow.

Equally, it shows what can be achieved from the humblest of beginnings. Very much worth a read.

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This was a copy of the book

Reviewed: 10th April 2020