Friday, February 22, 2013

Review: Against My Will by Benjamin Berkley

Against My Will by Benjamin Berkley

Amazon Product Description:
Danielle Landau knows she should feel lucky, but she can't feel anything but dread. Not only did she pass the New York Bar, but she married the man her father says is just right for her and lives in a fashionable new loft in Queens. But the man who seems like the perfect catch is a perfect nightmare at home. Jacob tries to control her career, her daily routine, and even what she eats. He ignores her desires and belittles her every chance he gets. Soon, Danielle doesn't recognize her husband or herself, and she struggles to find a way out.

As we follow Danielle on her journey of terror and recovery, we see her story intersect with the diary entries of a young girl from more than fifty years ago, and the full weight of the family's sectrets becomes clear. This is a story of survival, self-discovery, justice, and ultimately about love.

My thoughts:
I wasn't sure what to expect from this story; a story written by a man about control, love, self-discovery and survival.  I was pleased by the story that unfolded on the pages as I turned them.  I was impressed with the author's desire to write a story about a topic that is somewhat taboo and his ability to write such a story with such a profound understanding.

I understand the desire to do what you feel your parent(s) want and what "seems" like the right thing for your life.  So I was not surprised by the fact that Danielle gets married, even with the reservations that she had.  

It took me a bit to get the nature of the interspersed diary entries and put together that they belonged to her grandmother.  I would have liked a bit more clarification about time frames in the diary, I felt that I was missing out on the rest of the story.  It seemed as if there should have been something about getting out of the hospital and moving on with her life.  That being said, the similarities in the situations was an interesting twist.  

I loved the insight about love that Rose gives and how that comes through as Danielle moves on with her life.  I liked that she was able to find closure to her own situation through the court case that she takes.  

The relationship between Cliff and his job and Danielle and her grandmother's past is a great addition and truly makes the story.  That the author introduces them on her flight from her present and then re-introduces Cliff into her future by helping her sort out the past is brilliant.

The story is filled with emotion, growth, courage and the insurmountable ability of the spirit to survive.  My favorite part of the entire book is when Danielle gets to meet Irene and her phrase, "Save one life, seed a generation."  In her saving Rose, one life, she seeded many a generation to come. 

Inspiring and insightful, this was a wonderful story.