Goodbye, Sweet Girl: A Story of Domestic Violence and Survival by Kelly SundbergIn this brave and beautiful memoir, written with the raw honesty and devastating openness of The Glass Castle and The Liar’s Club, a woman chronicles how her marriage devolved from a love story into a shocking tale of abuse—examining the tenderness and violence entwined in the relationship, why she endured years of physical and emotional pain, and how she eventually broke free.
You made me hit you in the face, he said mournfully. Now everyone is going to know. I know, I said. I’m sorry.
Kelly Sundberg’s husband, Caleb, was a funny, warm, supportive man and a wonderful father to their little boy Reed. He was also vengeful and violent. But Sundberg did not know that when she fell in love, and for years told herself he would get better. It took a decade for her to ultimately accept that the partnership she desired could not work with such a broken man. In her remarkable book, she offers an intimate record of the joys and terrors that accompanied her long, difficult awakening, and presents a haunting, heartbreaking glimpse into why women remain too long in dangerous relationships.
To understand herself and her violent marriage, Sundberg looks to her childhood in Salmon, a small, isolated mountain community known as the most redneck town in Idaho. Like her marriage, Salmon is a place of deep contradictions, where Mormon ranchers and hippie back-to-landers live side-by-side; a place of magical beauty riven by secret brutality; a place that takes pride in its individualism and rugged self-sufficiency, yet is beholden to church and communal standards at all costs.
Mesmerizing and poetic, Goodbye, Sweet Girl is a harrowing, cautionary, and ultimately redemptive tale that brilliantly illuminates one woman’s transformation as she gradually rejects the painful reality of her violent life at the hands of the man who is supposed to cherish her, begins to accept responsibility for herself, and learns to believe that she deserves better.
Goodbye, Sweet Girl: A Story of Domestic Violence and Survival
The most recent data available from the CDC on domestic violence in the U. Only fear. Then Sundberg takes us back in time, even to her childhood in rural, religious Salmon, Idaho, as she explores in luminous, aching language how the defiant, reactive girl she was becomes a longsuffering wife and mother then, finally, a wise and brave woman who is no longer always leaving but gone from that life that was spiraling down. She reflects instead on her struggle with fear and loneliness and rejection, taking inventory of the events and emotions that led her to stay and compelled her to leave. She recognizes how her compassion for others, including her abusive husband, failed to extend to herself, and she teases out the emerging sense of anger that finally spurs her to action.
Mountains connote a view, but these are sawed off; roads help us get from one place to another, but these are muddy; streams sparkle, but with pollutants; and metal, we imagine having been wrested from deep within those sawed off mountains, shimmers underwater like a rainbow. Something good or something bad? Look closer. Goodbye, Sweet Girl is a beautifully written investigation of an abusive relationship. Sundberg sets the prologue in the West Virginia landscape, where her husband Caleb grew up. She has followed him there, from Idaho, where they met, conceived their son Reed, and married.
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Thank you! Both were in their 20s and equally unprepared for commitment. The author also discovered that Caleb had cheated on her with three women while they had been dating, but only after they had married. Sundberg became depressed enough that she sought out counseling. The therapist was able to name the destructive behaviors in her marriage for what they were: domestic violence. Nevertheless, the cycle of brutality and tenderness continued.