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Book review: See What You Made Me Do by Jess Hill

Firstly, I have to say that See What You Made Me Do is an intelligent, thorough and necessary book about domestic abuse in Australia … BUT if you’re Victorian, maybe save it for a time when you are living in a state of disaster.

I listened to Jess Hill’s award-winning book via audiobook and it was a disturbing read (when a feel-good romance would probably have been a better option, given the anxiety I was feeling about the soaring number of COVID cases in Melbourne).

The book explores the vexed question of why people commit domestic abuse, and why women so often choose to stay with abusive partners.

It also tackles the different types of abusers that researchers have (cautiously) categorised, and their motivations and behaviours.

Peppered through See What You Made Me Do are examples of women and children whose lives whose lives have been ruined, emotionally and often financially, by abusers.

These stories are heartbreaking, and one in which a woman’s toddler was kidnapped was particularly terrible, and hard to forget.

There is also the occasional man whose story of abuse is told, revealing that there is no typical victim; they come from all walks of life.

It was shocking to hear how devastating it can be to find yourself caught in the slipstream of an abuser, and how easily it can happen.

I also found it fascinating to hear about the shame at the source of much abuse – that many men felt so insecure that they so easily felt themselves to have been slighted or disrespected.

Hill puts forward some solutions that have worked in other countries, and, despite the horror of domestic abuse in Australia, is not without hope.

This book was illuminating and I’m glad I read it, but now I’m ready for something MUCH lighter. Liane Moriarty, I think.

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