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Lacy Johnson was held prisoner in a soundproofed room in a basement apartment that her ex-boyfriend rented and outfitted for the sole purpose of raping and killing her. She escaped, but not unscathed. The Other Side is the haunting account of a first passionate and then abusive relationship, the events leading to Johnson’s kidnapping and imprisonment, her dramatic escape, Lacy Johnson was held prisoner in a soundproofed room in a basement apartment that her ex-boyfriend rented and outfitted for the sole purpose of raping and killing her. She escaped, but not unscathed. The Other Side is the haunting account of a first passionate and then abusive relationship, the events leading to Johnson’s kidnapping and imprisonment, her dramatic escape, and her hard-fought struggle to recover. At once thrilling, terrifying, harrowing, and hopeful, The Other Side offers more than just a true crime record. In language both stark and poetic, Johnson weaves together a richly personal narrative with police reports, psychological evaluations, and neurobiological investigations, provoking both troubling and timely questions about gender roles and the epidemic of violence against women.


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Lacy Johnson was held prisoner in a soundproofed room in a basement apartment that her ex-boyfriend rented and outfitted for the sole purpose of raping and killing her. She escaped, but not unscathed. The Other Side is the haunting account of a first passionate and then abusive relationship, the events leading to Johnson’s kidnapping and imprisonment, her dramatic escape, Lacy Johnson was held prisoner in a soundproofed room in a basement apartment that her ex-boyfriend rented and outfitted for the sole purpose of raping and killing her. She escaped, but not unscathed. The Other Side is the haunting account of a first passionate and then abusive relationship, the events leading to Johnson’s kidnapping and imprisonment, her dramatic escape, and her hard-fought struggle to recover. At once thrilling, terrifying, harrowing, and hopeful, The Other Side offers more than just a true crime record. In language both stark and poetic, Johnson weaves together a richly personal narrative with police reports, psychological evaluations, and neurobiological investigations, provoking both troubling and timely questions about gender roles and the epidemic of violence against women.

30 review for The Other Side: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    4.5 stars A masterful memoir from Lacy Johnson about her kidnapping and rape at the hands of her ex-boyfriend. Every word felt so perfect and necessary and yet the writing also felt effortless. Johnson captures the terror and horror of her assault. But she focuses The Other Side on what came before and after, what led to this grotesque event and how her trauma has affected her afterward. I felt stunned by the precision of Johnson's prose and the powerful way she conveys emotion in writing that ve 4.5 stars A masterful memoir from Lacy Johnson about her kidnapping and rape at the hands of her ex-boyfriend. Every word felt so perfect and necessary and yet the writing also felt effortless. Johnson captures the terror and horror of her assault. But she focuses The Other Side on what came before and after, what led to this grotesque event and how her trauma has affected her afterward. I felt stunned by the precision of Johnson's prose and the powerful way she conveys emotion in writing that verges on clinical, yet pulsates with whole-hearted humanity. When I read The Other Side, I thought of the James Baldwin quote: "The victim who is able to articulate the situation of the victim has ceased to be a victim: he or she has become a threat." Thank you, Lacy Johnson, for sharing your story, with such vulnerability and strength - and for showing us what becoming a threat, one filled with pain and with love, looks like. Recommended to fans of the true crime genre, to feminists, and to those who enjoyed Roxane Gay's An Untamed State . I also loved this interview with Johnson about her memoir, especially when she reflects on how people who are traumatized are not necessarily broken, rather, we have to learn how to retell our stories. I'm so excited to read her new essay collection The Reckonings.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    Lacy Johnson was kidnapped, raped and then threatened to be shot first in her cunt and then her head with an assault rifle by an ex-boyfriend. This book is about living in the aftermath and about memory. Lacy tells her story at the start of the book, and immediately calls into question her own memory of the events in light of the official police reports of the crime. She finds she mis=remembers which police officer questioned her, which one escorted her back to the house. Details in the official Lacy Johnson was kidnapped, raped and then threatened to be shot first in her cunt and then her head with an assault rifle by an ex-boyfriend. This book is about living in the aftermath and about memory. Lacy tells her story at the start of the book, and immediately calls into question her own memory of the events in light of the official police reports of the crime. She finds she mis=remembers which police officer questioned her, which one escorted her back to the house. Details in the official report and in her head don't exactly mesh. She mentions later a memory of her and her boyfriend at the time burying her cat after a long illness. It shows the sweet caring side of him. She says that memory is a lie and gives the facts that when she told her boyfriend she wouldn't be able to go on vacation with him because she had to stay and take care of the cat he went to find the cat, bashed it on the ground repeatedly and then came back inside for a knife to finish the cat off when it wouldn't die.* Which memory would you choose to remember? A lot of the things in this book are horrific. Beyond the obvious brutality she experienced in her relationship with a man who would eventually build a soundproof room for the purpose of raping and most likely killing her, what also sickened me was the type of intellectual asshole he was. He was one of her instructors, the kind of guy who talked lefty theory and probably used the words hegemony and modernity in casual conversation. He could talk about feminist theory and inspire minds. And he could beat and rape women when they disagreed with him. Maybe he reminded of some people who are quite pleasant and charming when you agree with them and sit at their feet but are nasty little shits if you aren't all moon-eyed at their greatness. I wanted to beat this guy up. It made me want to punch a fifteen year old younger version of myself in the face (not for being a potential rapist, but for being an insufferable and deluded douche). I can't imagine anyone reading this book though and not thinking they would like to cause some grievous bodily harm on this dude. But, this book is very good. Beautiful haunting writing and a remarkable manner of exploring a very traumatic experience. *I no longer have the book in front of me so my own memory of this passage might not be completely accurate. Nor anything else I'm writing now, or ever wrote.

  3. 4 out of 5

    eb

    "Wow" is the word. This novel reminds me of ballet: so grindingly painful to perform, such a pleasure to watch. Johhnson is a poet, and her memoir is poetic--not lyrical or flowery, but tight and dense. Every word's the perfect word. All the dull stuff is cut away, and we're left with only what's fascinating and revealing. And the honesty! It makes you realize that most of what you read, and ALL of what you read online, is a bunch of joking around to cover up the truth. It all must have taken so "Wow" is the word. This novel reminds me of ballet: so grindingly painful to perform, such a pleasure to watch. Johhnson is a poet, and her memoir is poetic--not lyrical or flowery, but tight and dense. Every word's the perfect word. All the dull stuff is cut away, and we're left with only what's fascinating and revealing. And the honesty! It makes you realize that most of what you read, and ALL of what you read online, is a bunch of joking around to cover up the truth. It all must have taken so much work, so much excruciating work. But Johnson has done women, and readers in general, a great service by going through the horror of writing this, because the result is helpful, inspiring, shocking, beautiful.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth☮

    I recently took a seminar at my Alma Mater, University of Houston, and Johnson gave a talk and then signed copies of this book. Johnson chronicles the abusive relationship she had with a professor while attending university. This relationship leads to the former boyfriend kidnapping and raping Johnson for a twenty-four hour period. What Johnson does here is try to make sense of how she ended up in such a relationship and to reconcile the life she has now with the toxic relationship from the past. I recently took a seminar at my Alma Mater, University of Houston, and Johnson gave a talk and then signed copies of this book. Johnson chronicles the abusive relationship she had with a professor while attending university. This relationship leads to the former boyfriend kidnapping and raping Johnson for a twenty-four hour period. What Johnson does here is try to make sense of how she ended up in such a relationship and to reconcile the life she has now with the toxic relationship from the past. This is not graphic, but you come away with a clear understanding of Johnson's fear and trauma even after more than ten years. This book is a way of healing and telling her story so that others may find the courage to discuss their own experiences.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rashmi

    I could not bring myself to write this review, immediately after finishing it and yet even after a fortnight of reading this book, even thinking about it sends a cold chill down my spine, and I can feel my heartbeat increase a bit. Lacy M. Johnson might just be one of the bravest women alive. The Other Side, is her memoir about the author’s imprisonment and rape, on the night of July 5th, 2000, at the hands of a man she had once dated. She was just 21, the same age I'm now and to think she escape I could not bring myself to write this review, immediately after finishing it and yet even after a fortnight of reading this book, even thinking about it sends a cold chill down my spine, and I can feel my heartbeat increase a bit. Lacy M. Johnson might just be one of the bravest women alive. The Other Side, is her memoir about the author’s imprisonment and rape, on the night of July 5th, 2000, at the hands of a man she had once dated. She was just 21, the same age I'm now and to think she escaped, survived, built her life, and then used her mastery in written word to reclaim her story, in a way to seek peace & solace, all the time, knowing that the demon is out there, free, is definitely beyond commendable. The first time the readers sees her, she is holding a 2-by-4 over her head and moving stealthily toward the door. Should the man she left six weeks ago, a man who has just kidnapped and raped her, be on the other side of it, she is going to kill him before he returns (from establishing an alibi), which is what he had told her he would do to her when he returns. He's not here and she escapes. But the tale does not end there. It just starts. Thereby, starts the 10-year long odyssey she charts, of fury, of nightmares, of achievements and some part, even of recovery. Despite the subject matter, she never wallows in bleakness. When Johnson realizes that neither therapy nor pills nor time can erase her lingering pain, she turns to language to reclaim her memory and experience, in essence, to write her way beyond the existential impasse. Her writing is raw, and her prose is scattered, just like the snippets of memories in her head. All of this adds up to a great book, one that isn’t ultimately about violence, but about a woman taking control of her own story after years of looking at it as if it were a reflection, something familiar yet distant, something she never quite accepted as her own.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Shawn

    Stunning. Beautifully written. A courageous young woman's reflection on a traumatic past that goes further back, even, than the event that finally shattered her fragile existence. Told in a back-and-forth, present-and-past narrative that some might find confusing or difficult to follow. It was an effective storytelling choice, I think, however, because you get the sense of her living with and coping through a very confused, difficult to follow reality. Though written in a poetic, artistic manner Stunning. Beautifully written. A courageous young woman's reflection on a traumatic past that goes further back, even, than the event that finally shattered her fragile existence. Told in a back-and-forth, present-and-past narrative that some might find confusing or difficult to follow. It was an effective storytelling choice, I think, however, because you get the sense of her living with and coping through a very confused, difficult to follow reality. Though written in a poetic, artistic manner, it never felt embellished. Very quick read. Very much worth reading.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Traci at The Stacks

    Holy cow this book is amazing. Brutal. Terrifying. Emotional and clinical. True crime memoir? Is that a thing? This is that. Lacy Johnson is a force. Brief and thorough.

  8. 5 out of 5

    S.E.

    While the crime committed on this author are horrendous, this memoir is so disjointed as to render the reader unable to determine time frames or sequence of events.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Audacia Ray

    This book really blew me away. Sometimes folks ask me why I read about terrible things and trauma all the time, and this is it: because when a writer processes trauma and turns it into art, I’m in awe. Reading this book, a memoir of being kidnapped and raped by a man the writer used to live with, I was in awe of the force and directness of the writing, the sense-making process, the acceptance of her own wild rage and complicated memories. I don’t think trauma serves any higher purposes or happen This book really blew me away. Sometimes folks ask me why I read about terrible things and trauma all the time, and this is it: because when a writer processes trauma and turns it into art, I’m in awe. Reading this book, a memoir of being kidnapped and raped by a man the writer used to live with, I was in awe of the force and directness of the writing, the sense-making process, the acceptance of her own wild rage and complicated memories. I don’t think trauma serves any higher purposes or happens for any damn reason, but I’m glad that even a tiny number of survivors can write it like this.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alison

    Really close to perfect. Haunting.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    Her honesty takes my breath away! Her successes have been hard won. I admire her.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sam Reaves

    In 2000 a young woman was kidnapped and raped by an abusive boyfriend she had broken up with, managing to escape before he could carry out his plan to kill her. Unlike most victims of abusive relationships, she was a talented writer with the courage to look her trauma in the eye. This book is the result. It is harrowing. I hope it was effective therapy; it is certainly effective storytelling. Lacy Johnson was a small-town girl who went off to college after a stormy adolescence and got involved w In 2000 a young woman was kidnapped and raped by an abusive boyfriend she had broken up with, managing to escape before he could carry out his plan to kill her. Unlike most victims of abusive relationships, she was a talented writer with the courage to look her trauma in the eye. This book is the result. It is harrowing. I hope it was effective therapy; it is certainly effective storytelling. Lacy Johnson was a small-town girl who went off to college after a stormy adolescence and got involved with her Spanish instructor. He charmed, dominated and eventually brutalized her. Johnson is frank about the impulsiveness, high-risk behaviors and poor choices which sent her careening through her teens and early twenties; there is no self-pity here. The honesty is exemplary but at the end I was left a little puzzled; what made her that way? Maybe there is more self-examination to come in another book. For a gripping record of trauma and recovery, we have this one.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Wow! A powerfully moving memoir of the ongoing internal mental and emotional processing the author goes through following her kidnapping, rape and abuse by an ex-partner. Her struggle to work herself back from despair and depression to some semblance of a "normal" life and relationships with others, and ultimately her recognition that she can not ever completely regain the self she was before. The author's words vividly recreate the experiences and thoughts for the reader and I personally found t Wow! A powerfully moving memoir of the ongoing internal mental and emotional processing the author goes through following her kidnapping, rape and abuse by an ex-partner. Her struggle to work herself back from despair and depression to some semblance of a "normal" life and relationships with others, and ultimately her recognition that she can not ever completely regain the self she was before. The author's words vividly recreate the experiences and thoughts for the reader and I personally found the story to be both troubling and moving. Definitely not light reading material but certainly well worth it. Disclaimer: I received this book as part of the Good reads giveaway program.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Antonia Crane

    If you are looking for a rape story pulsing with poetry and violence, snatch this book and don't let go until the crashing tone forces you to throw it against the wall in fury. From the get, the voice of this true account digs deep into sad, cagey heart of a woman flailing to move forward in her life after The Man She Lived With rapes her post-break up. As a woman who has done many incredibly creepy things (for money) and as an educator, the super slimy (but totally somehow normalized) older pro If you are looking for a rape story pulsing with poetry and violence, snatch this book and don't let go until the crashing tone forces you to throw it against the wall in fury. From the get, the voice of this true account digs deep into sad, cagey heart of a woman flailing to move forward in her life after The Man She Lived With rapes her post-break up. As a woman who has done many incredibly creepy things (for money) and as an educator, the super slimy (but totally somehow normalized) older professor cum abusive boyfriend situation forever grosses me out and will until the day I die. The phrasing in this book is stunning, stark and shocking at best and worst it's tonally one-note.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    This book will leave you with an anxious buzz and hum in your brain for days, as well as a vast relief that this did not happen to you. The writing is initially staccato and bald in a way that distracts from the story telling - something about the pacing of the sentences that interrupts a fluid read, but it switches to a more rhythmic telling when dealing with the aftermath of the traumatic event. Despite the off-putting style, the author was knowledgeable on the subject of anxiety, stress, and This book will leave you with an anxious buzz and hum in your brain for days, as well as a vast relief that this did not happen to you. The writing is initially staccato and bald in a way that distracts from the story telling - something about the pacing of the sentences that interrupts a fluid read, but it switches to a more rhythmic telling when dealing with the aftermath of the traumatic event. Despite the off-putting style, the author was knowledgeable on the subject of anxiety, stress, and dealing with trauma from both a scientific and personal scope.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

    This book is all over the place. It's written super choppy and it was tough to follow for me. Short paragraphs that are broken up for no reason at all. Johnson went through a traumatic life experience but I feel like she glazed over it in the book. I understand that writing about something so traumatizing is hard, but if you aren't going to commit 100% to the process, what's the point?!

  17. 5 out of 5

    leila

    I thought I was going to end up giving this book four stars. But it doesn't deserve anything below a five. This story was told to the point, smoothly, and at the same time you sense cruel hesitation trapping Johnson.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    This is a very well-written memoir about a horrible crime committed to the author. The crime is the central focus, but the memoir is a rich contemplation of Johnson's life as well.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cris (the_book_adventurer)

    This was a terribly heartbreaking, incredibly sad, and also extremely brave true story. It's hard to give a review on a book like this because of all the terrible and traumatic incidences that the author went through and everything that is written in this true story. Not because things like rape, kidnappings, and sexual assault aren't real, because they very much are. But it's hard to put into words a review about a true experience with these details because they are so horrible, and because I d This was a terribly heartbreaking, incredibly sad, and also extremely brave true story. It's hard to give a review on a book like this because of all the terrible and traumatic incidences that the author went through and everything that is written in this true story. Not because things like rape, kidnappings, and sexual assault aren't real, because they very much are. But it's hard to put into words a review about a true experience with these details because they are so horrible, and because I don't want to understate the trauma of this very real thing. Especially because I have never gone through any of these things, and I couldn't possibly understand what Johnson went through when she was being raped/assaulted, what she went through escaping her kidnapper, and what she went through and continues to go through in the aftermath. I do want to say that I am extremely overjoyed for Johnson that she was able to escape her abuser, and I am proud of how she was able to push through that trauma in order to write a book about her experience, even through the pain and fright. I will never be able to understand why bad people exist and why bad things happen, but I do believe that going through a terrifying experience doesn't always break a person completely. Lacy M. Johnson is proof of this belief, and there are many others who are proof as well. I'm glad that I was able to read this memoir, and I hope the best for the author and her family! And for those who have gone through/go through bad experiences, I hope that they won't completely break you and that you will be able to push through the pain and be strong!! Love you...XoXoXoXo For those who want to read this book, be warned that there are many graphic situations talked about including: rape, kidnapping, assault, and depression. Best wishes

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    This was an incredibly powerful memoir. I appreciated that much of the focus was on Johnson's efforts to put her kidnapping into the context of the rest of her life; this book seemed to reflect more on her processing of trauma than on the traumatic event itself, which is ... I mean, that's why traumatic events are so traumatizing: It takes a lot of time and effort to come to terms with them. I've read in a recent article from Johnson that some people criticized this book because they didn't find This was an incredibly powerful memoir. I appreciated that much of the focus was on Johnson's efforts to put her kidnapping into the context of the rest of her life; this book seemed to reflect more on her processing of trauma than on the traumatic event itself, which is ... I mean, that's why traumatic events are so traumatizing: It takes a lot of time and effort to come to terms with them. I've read in a recent article from Johnson that some people criticized this book because they didn't find her to be a likable character in her own story. Honestly, I believe the fact that she doesn't pretend that likability is a prerequisite to not deserving to have terrible things happen to you is probably the most important aspect of this story. I'm grateful that Johnson has been so visible in that regard and look forward to continuing to follow her as an author and a speaker.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    Phenomenal I’ve never read anything that invokes so well the impact of trauma on parenting. I read a lot of true crime—this book reminds me how much better it is when written by someone who was there, the survivor/victim (I prefer “victim” when I talk about my own experience, because it emphasizes that what happened to me is illegal, but I want to be careful about my language because I know others have different feelings, and I never know what to use when describing other’s experiences). True cr Phenomenal I’ve never read anything that invokes so well the impact of trauma on parenting. I read a lot of true crime—this book reminds me how much better it is when written by someone who was there, the survivor/victim (I prefer “victim” when I talk about my own experience, because it emphasizes that what happened to me is illegal, but I want to be careful about my language because I know others have different feelings, and I never know what to use when describing other’s experiences). True crime as memoir is a different, and a crucial, experience

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tanisha

    3.5 stars This was a quick read but not an easy one. Johnson’s non linear narrative holds nothing back, allowing the reader to explore her mind, her trauma, and her memories. Her story challenges the way we think of sexual assault, and the conversation we have about it, and what this means for assault survivors in the “after.”

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    I like the way the author tells this story. The book is not full of details about her kidnapping a rape, it is more about who she was and is and how she has been affected emotionally by the assault and others like it. I like that she slowly reveals details. She story certainly isn't chronological, but more like a diary, a true memoir. I thought this was a good book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    Incredible incredible incredible memoir. I'm in awe of Johnson's writing and way she talks about trauma. I read half of this book last night, and the other half today. It's nearly impossible to put down. Big TW for rape, sexual violence, abuse.

  25. 4 out of 5

    E.B.

    Wow. Just wow. Lacy M. Johnson is incredible.

  26. 5 out of 5

    William

    the last third of this book is amazing.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kellie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Brilliant but harrowing. Trigger warning for death of her cat.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    I'm still thinking about this one, weeks later. The bumper-sticker version of this memoir is easy to describe -- the aftermath of one woman's experience being kidnapped and raped by a former boyfriend -- but the memoir itself is harder to pin down. The kidnapping itself has very little page-time here, with Johnson focusing on the relationships she had leading up to this boyfriend, and the choices she made in the relationship itself. There are parts of the book that are the literary equivalent of I'm still thinking about this one, weeks later. The bumper-sticker version of this memoir is easy to describe -- the aftermath of one woman's experience being kidnapped and raped by a former boyfriend -- but the memoir itself is harder to pin down. The kidnapping itself has very little page-time here, with Johnson focusing on the relationships she had leading up to this boyfriend, and the choices she made in the relationship itself. There are parts of the book that are the literary equivalent of a horror movie, when you're screaming at the screen, "GET OUT OF THE HOUSE! RUN!" and the main character is just walking right towards the murderer. I think Johnson's quite aware that a lot of the choices she made put herself in increasing danger--and she never directly tries to answer the question "Why did you stay with him?" Instead the scenes of his escalating abuse and her returns to him are written in an almost distant tone. At first this was off-putting. I really, really wanted that question answered: "But why did you stay with him?" But after some time reflecting on the book, I think it would have been wrong for her to try to answer it. The entire book is an answer to it -- though it is also an answer to another question: "How did you get away from him?" Overall, the distance of this memoir left me feeling unsettled, though it's hard to critique how someone else writes about their own trauma.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    I saw Lacy do a speaking engagement and book reading on her true story of being kidnapped and raped by her estranged boyfriend at my local bookstore. It was very gut wrenching and disturbing to say the least. My heart goes out to Lacy as you can tell years later that this is still haunting her. I too was involved with a controlling man who had a violent streak that I loved dearly when I was in my 20s and I completely understand how it can shatter your trust not only in the world but on a deeper I saw Lacy do a speaking engagement and book reading on her true story of being kidnapped and raped by her estranged boyfriend at my local bookstore. It was very gut wrenching and disturbing to say the least. My heart goes out to Lacy as you can tell years later that this is still haunting her. I too was involved with a controlling man who had a violent streak that I loved dearly when I was in my 20s and I completely understand how it can shatter your trust not only in the world but on a deeper level within yourself. And 'rightfully' so. But from a broader, healing perspective I feel that because Lacy is still so raw and traumatized by this incident her ex-boyfriend is still in control of her on a certain level. And this makes me saddest of all. She has written this story for her young daughter as she explained at the book reading I attended and I commend her for her bravery in being able to tell a tough tale. Here you will get to read not only just about Lacy's ex-boyfriend but also other men she had in her life during this same era of her 20s along with some of the story of her parent's crumbling marriage. It is not a fun read, but these voices need to be heard so that violence against women isn't hidden away and unspoken like in years past. My next hope is that in a few years we will have a follow up memoir where Lacy has risen above the injustice and pain of this and found true comfort, love and freedom within herself as a strong, beautiful woman.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Pamela

    Difficult, difficult, riveting material. I read this memoir in two days, putting aside other things I should have been doing. Horror, pity, and a need to know how things turned out drew me on. Johnson is at her strongest in slowly painting in a portrait of the abusive relationship that eventually led to her being kidnapped, imprisoned, and raped by a former lover--she would probably have been murdered by him as well had she not managed to escape when he temporarily left her alone. She allows us Difficult, difficult, riveting material. I read this memoir in two days, putting aside other things I should have been doing. Horror, pity, and a need to know how things turned out drew me on. Johnson is at her strongest in slowly painting in a portrait of the abusive relationship that eventually led to her being kidnapped, imprisoned, and raped by a former lover--she would probably have been murdered by him as well had she not managed to escape when he temporarily left her alone. She allows us to experience what it was like to be with someone who alternated between showy affection and viciousness--who raped her repeatedly even before the kidnapping--what it was like not just to be with him but actually to love him. She also does a good job of conveying how someone who had experienced what she had might duck therapy and convince herself she was fine--might even pick up a strange man and have aggressive sex with him soon afterward. Part of the memoir is an attempt to show how the kidnapping affected her eventual marriage (her second marriage, after a first that didn't work out) and her life as the mother of two children. I feel her making brave gestures here but not giving us as full a picture. Maybe this material is simply too close still--Johnson's children are still young; she's still in the midst of these years.

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