An abusive father. A boyfriend with split personalities. An unloving husband. A man who had a horrible upbringing. A father who loved his daughter in all the wrong ways. A man who ruins the lives of all the women he touches.
Simone is a young teenage girl who appears to have the perfect life. Her parents love and adore her, she has enough money to go to the best school, is undeniably beautiful, and has brains. She also has a father who is unable to stop himself from hurting her. Though he claims to love his little girl, he sneaks into her bedroom night after night and rapes her.
Ryan is a strong, independent woman able to take care of herself. When she meets a man and he begins flaking after a few months of dating, she begins to lose it. After he starts missing dates, forgetting to call, and eventually begins to verbally and emotionally tear her down, Ryan becomes as addicted to her little yellow pill as she is to him. He continually strings her on with empty promises of marriage, and she continues to follow.
Jessica is a woman who never dares to stand up to her husband. She tries desperately to please him with all that she has, but it never seems to be enough. Her husband doesn't respect her and has told her that when he is ready, he will leave her and will take everything they have. Jessica puts up with him because he “rescued” her from a terrible life of poverty and “built” her into the refined woman that she is now. She feels that she is nothing without her bastard husband.
What happens when the lives of these three women collide? Murder.
Each chapter of this book was told through the medium of the different characters. The story starts with an introduction to Simone, moving then to Ryan, and finally, Jessica.
The hardest part of this book to read was Simone talking about her father and how she loved him despite the abuse. She believed that he was a good man and truly loved her. She told herself that he simply could not help himself. The hardest after Simone was reading through the eyes of her father and seeing how he felt about his daughter and his troubled past.
Jessica and Ryan were equally frustrating to read because they had a choice. Neither of these woman had to stay. They didn't have to face the abuse of the man they were with. They simply felt compelled, for different reasons, to stay while they were continually cut down and mistreated. Woman go through this each day, and the men in their lives get away with it because they have systematically beaten their wives and girlfriends down until they believe that they don't deserve better. The author managed to show exactly how each woman had forged a connection with the man in her life and how she didn't think she is strong enough to break free of him.
The author does a good job at keeping the connection between the women hidden until she is ready for the reader to understand where the plot is headed. I never, at any point, felt that I didn't have enough information, I simply felt that I didn't have all of the facts yet, and that in time the plot would unfold. I spent time throughout the book guessing at the connection, but was surprised in the end.
The author's writing style was well crafted, giving each character their own voice. Even without chapter headers, I could quickly have known which character's life was being described simply by the author's voice.
A problem I found was some dialogue was difficult to understand, especially when teenagers or children were speaking. I felt the author overused urban vernacular and small sections of dialogue were nearly impossible for me to understand.
This story stuck with me long after I was done reading the book. I found myself wondering about the plot, not that it didn't make sense, just pondering the situations and events that led to the conclusion. How would I have handled a husband like Jessica's or a boyfriend like Ryan's. Most troubling of all was, what would I do if my daughter was in Simone's position. I came to no hard conclusions, but I am pretty certain that I wouldn't follow the same paths that these characters took. I feel that I would make mistakes along the way, but they wouldn't be the same mistakes that these women made.
Monique Mensah is definitely on my list of authors to read again.