Thursday, July 14, 2011

Grip: A Memoir of Fierce Attractions by Nina Hamberg

Grip: A Memoir of Fierce AttractionsThis is a memoir.. of a woman who chooses one wrong man after another. By wrong man, I don't mean men that leave the toilet seat up, have chronic bad breath, little peckers, or incredibly annoying habits, but men with violent tendencies. 

Ever heard the saying about how women choose husbands like their dads? The memoir starts with telling readers a bit about Nina's parents and their failed marriage. It goes on to chronicle an attack she received from a potential rapist at the age of 18... and how no one in her family wanted to talk about it, to defend her... This is a huge turning point and I'm not a psychologist, but I think it determined a lot of choices that Nina goes on to make.

There's the feminist movement and arguments about art. There's a film class full of sexist pigs, an angry cop, a decent but boring boyfriend, and then there's bad relationship number one, Stephen. Stephen ends up in jail and not a moment too soon. Though he doesn't attack Nina, he attacks another woman. Why is Nina drawn to these men? After Stephen, comes Lee. Lee and her meet in martial arts, something the author excels at. She'll never be beaten again.

There are warning signs with Lee. In the beginning stages of their relationship, he decides to leave her for an old girlfriend after spending just one more weekend with Nina and he says during lovemaking, "I wish Irene could see how we make love. So she'd know how to do it." OMG!!!!! Dump his ass!

For reasons I'm sure a shrink would have heyday with, she doesn't dump his ass. She marries him later. And I gotta insert this cause it shocked the hell out of me and it also explains a lot about the author's choices.. at her own wedding, her mother says, "I'm sick of it.. All I've heard, all day long, is how pretty your gown is. Why is everyone talking about you? Why doesn't anyone say something about my dress?" Holy crap! It's your daughter's wedding, lady! It's not about you!

You can see there were many parts of this book that evoked some feeling in me, either of outrage, pity, hope... Nina grows throughout the book, told more like a novel than a memoir.. she learns to defend herself both physically and emotionally and in the end, she finds happiness and learns to leave abusive relationships behind. It's not an easy road to get there, but it shows that with time, all women can get there.

I loved this memoir. Well narrated, entertaining, and insightful. My only problem, the only moments I found myself frowning were with the dogs. The first dog, she leaves outside to the point it runs away. The second dog is lost in a fire. A third dog is ran over by her car while she's driving and she doesn't stop. Being a huge dog lover, I was upset by this, but it is a memoir and I appreciate that the author is truthful and doesn't paint herself to be better than she is. She's a woman who has made mistakes. I found it pretty admirable that she is so honest throughout the book.

Laugh out loud moment: A friend of Nina's mother is too dumb for words. Love this remark from her: "I love to shop for bridal gowns. Wore one at each of my weddings."

Five stars and this is an ARC that I received from the author. It's my true and honest thoughts about the book. I recommend it for women everywhere. Ladies, you CAN get past abuse. You CAN find happiness.

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