The Full Catastrophe

The Full Catastrophe: A Memoir

To keep this totally on the up and up, I'd like to admit that I received this book only yesterday morning. Seeing how long it was I realized that I was probably going to have to change my posting schedule a little bit and post the author interview of the book before reading the book and doing the review. But then I started reading. And this story was so compelling, so thought-provoking, and tugged at so many heartstrings that I could not stop reading. I wanted to. It reminded me too much of my first marriage, which ended in pain and misery and me being stalked for over 10 years. It was too much like reading my own diary. I'm writing this review now even though my emotions are still twisted up by the story. Page 132 hit me especially hard and after reading it I had to take a break and walk away. That only lasted for a few moments, I had to come back and see how it ended.

I like to say that I'm brave. That I face my fears. And if Karen Elizabeth Lee could muster up the courage not just to look back on her life, not just to write it all down, but to also write about her own faults so openly I could not look away. And I'm so glad I didn't.

This story is a memoir of a woman looking back at her two abusive relationships. You know that just by reading the blurb. So when the book starts out with a funeral and a woman mourning the death of her husband, it's so real it brings tears to your eyes. You, or at least I, assume that this would be her third husband. A man she loved who didn't abuse her. But a few pages in, you see that's not true.

Because as this book shows time and again you can love someone and still fear them. You can mourn someone and still be relieved that they are no longer in your life. And also that Hell is addictive and having it taken from you can destroy your life.

The author manages to write both emotionally and clearly. Showing her fears and struggles while refusing to look away or deny blame for her own mistakes as she lays it all out. That, more than anything, shows just how strong this woman has become after a lifetime of pain. I've  already suggested to a few female friends of mine that they should read this book. It wasn't written to be a self-help book, however I believe a lot of people, male and female, can learn something by reading this.

I highly recommend this book to everyone. Married, single, divorced, young, old, happily married or just "doing the right thing" and staying in their marriage for the sake of propriety. I recommend it for anyone that has ever thought this:

Will I be able to handle the pain of his loss? Will I recover? Can I build a life of my own that is worthwhile without his support? Will I allow myself to stand alone, not controlled by my obsessive and desperate need for a man, any man, to help me?