Delilah Dawson’s book The Violence is a very hard book to get through, but an important read for those who have been abused in some way, shape or form. Which probably embodies all of us. But as Dawson writes at the end of the book, “Living well is the best revenge.”.
Chelsea Martin’s life looks perfect on the outside. Perfect husband, two daughters 17-year-old Ella and 5-year-old Brooklyn in a perfect house. Pretending is exhausting. Her husband David physically and emotionally abuses her, he makes sure she has limited money and no access to accounts, he demands they all greet him at the garage door when he comes home from work, the meals they eat are all his favorites, and when he begins to drink at dinner…well… that’s when most of the physical abuse begins, something Chelsea has tried desperately to keep hidden from her children. Unfortunately, David has set his sights on Ella and now Chelsea fears everything is escalating.
David’s best friends are a police officer and a lawyer, so Chelsea’s escape seems unattainable. Her mother, Patricia, is a self-absorbed, egotistic woman who cares only about herself and money. After an abhorrent childhood, and abusive relationship, she feels she is due the wealth and security she now has with her husband who is a judge. Yes, so she has seen her only daughter Chelsea with a few bruises, but she believes Chelsea should just try harder to make her marriage work. And help her leave financially? Well, that’s just not her problem. Chelsea’s children are spoiled as it is.
But Chelsea begins to finally see a way out of this abuse. After the Covid pandemic, another type of sickness has begun. It seems to have started in Florida where they live. No one knows how, but people are being affected. They are calling it the Violence because it causes a person infected to explode into a horrible rage physically mutilating anyone around them, be it person or animal. Then, the rage leaves and the infected has no idea of what they have just done.
Chelsea devises a scheme to get David out of their lives. And it works, but the real problems truly begin when she goes to her mother, Patricia to ask for help because she has no money and needs to get out of Florida. Patricia refuses to help her but agrees to take her children. Left with no choice she leaves them with her uncaring mother, promising she will come back for them.
But this is a pandemic like no other and through no fault of anybody their lives take separate paths. And then David comes back and wants to get his revenge on them all. Each of them will be challenged in ways they could never imagine. They have three options, fight for themselves, fight for each other or fight together against both the Violence and David. Can these women finally face their pasts and create a new future?
This is a powerful story about generational abuse and how it is possible to break the cycle by strength, love and forgiveness. Again, living well IS the best revenge.
Thank you #NetGalley #DelRay #DelilahS.Dawson #TheViolence for the advanced copy.