In the short time I’ve been reviewing books, I’ve read a few self-published works. They have ranged from the good, the bad, to the so-so. My most recent read, however, has left me struggling with the best way to classify it. In fact, I’m not entirely sure how to rate it, or whether or not I would recommend it, because I’m not entirely sure I would call it a proper book or novel. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
My Leaning Post, by Lizzie Belle Quimby, is a semi-fictionalized tale of a woman, Elizabeth Jeane, who describes the difficulties she faces throughout her life, and the faith she leans on while she struggles to understand the true meaning of her existence. Elizabeth’s life is not an easy tale to read. Her mother is distant and seemingly uncaring, while her father is having an affair with his live-in sister-in-law. Teenage Elizabeth finds herself pregnant, and although she is quickly married to the young alcoholic father, she cannot break free of the guilt and shame brought on by her Catholic upbringing. A few years later she is a divorced mother of two, abandoned by some friends and family and rejected by the church she desperately wanted to belong to, as well as becoming involved with a married man. Thus begins the long and abusive life Elizabeth finds herself trapped in, and which I struggled reading through.
My Leaning Post is definitely an interesting read for someone who is looking to get inside the head of a woman in an abusive relationship. Often I think we look at women in situations like Elizabeth Jeane and we just want to scream “Just leave! Just get up and leave him!” This book helps you understand why that seems so difficult and seemingly impossible to do. As a chronicle of what it’s like to be in an abusive relationship it is heartbreaking, but I don’t think it really worked as a novel. This is where it gets sticky for me as a reader and reviewer. My Leaning Post felt less like a book and more like an honest and matter of fact chronicle of one’s life one might write for family or friends. This is what happened, when it happened, what I was thinking, and how I felt. At times I felt like I was reading the author’s private letter to a friend or psychiatrist as she tried to sort out and explain her life. The ending was so abrupt I literally exclaimed “Wait…what?! That’s the end?” out loud and kept looking for one more chapter for a sense of closure.
At 240 pages, this isn’t a long read, but because of the subject matter and the way the story was told, I had a hard time finishing this book. Though Elizabeth Jeane does eventually break free of her abusive relationships and finds a new, deeper, more personal faith to lean on, this isn’t a light-hearted read. I wouldn’t recommend reading this unless you are looking to understand the psychology and mental state of someone in an abusive relationship.
My Leaning Post by Lizzie Belle Quimby
Paperback: 240 pages
Special thanks to Author Solutions for my review copy!