About The House on Sunset (from Amazon):
Lindsay Fischer was once a high school English teacher with dreams stretching far outside the classroom. When her boyfriend of a year-and-a-half cheated on her, Lindsay found herself alone, looking online for a replacement. His name was Mike. That’s where the nightmare started. The House on Sunset is a memoir, a collection of reminiscences, scattering the ashes of two broken homes and putting them to rest. Each chapter offers a different glimpse inside the cycle of intimate partner violence, where honeymoon phases and traumas coexist. Everyone could fall victim to abusers. This book bravely displays the reasons a quirky, twenty-something teacher would, and did.
About Lindsay Fischer (from Amazon):
Lindsay Fischer graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Science in secondary education, English. An avid reader and learner, Lindsay took her passion for words into a classroom before starting a writing career. Life pulled her from the classroom, providing an opportunity to use her voice against domestic violence, blogging under the pseudonym, Sarafina Bianco, since 2009. You can find her words at survivorswillbeheard.com and speak directly to her when she hosts #domesticviolencechat on Twitter. Lindsay hopes to be an advocate for women, men and children who still live inside the nightmare of their abuse. She currently lives with her husband and three dogs, including Watson, in St. Louis, Missouri.
I finished this book and thought, Sh!*, that was intense. And on the tail of that thought, another: I never want to leave the house again.
The House on Sunset by Lindsay Fischer is a vivid and harrowing memoir on domestic violence, love, and pain, and I give it 5 out of 5 stars.
You may wonder why I – a single, independent twenty-something woman – picked up a memoir on domestic violence. It’s simple, really: before Lindsay met Mike, she was a single, independent twenty-something woman, too. I hope this doesn’t sound too terrible, but since I personally dread getting into a physically and emotionally abusive relationship, I was hoping to glean some advice as to how to avoid one.
What I found was a woman looking for love and acceptance, like any of us might be at any given time. What I found was a woman who learned rejection from a mother who learned it from her mother. (Something I deeply relate to). I found was a woman who internalized so much pain for so long she began taking it out on herself. What I found was an optimist, a healer, a lover. What I found was impossibly complex.
But no practical steps to avoid abuse in relationships.
For most – if not all – of my life, I’ve held the misconception that if you’re smart enough, if you choose well enough, if you involve the counsel of others enough, you will not have to deal with things like abuse and infidelity in your relationships. (I blame Bill Gothard.) There have been a few incidents that have shaken this idea in my mind, but The House on Sunset blew it up completely.
You see, here is this woman a who is a lot like me. She’s finished with school, has a job teaching high school English, and is buying her own house (which, I think, technically makes her better than me). In other words, she’s educated and successful, and in the wake of a devastating breakup, she’s not really looking for anything serious. It kind of just happens.
Like it could happen to anyone.
It’s not about being smart, or careful. You can clearly be educated and successful and tiptoe-ing aroud in your relationships and still end up devastated. And to make it about being smart, or careful, is to shift blame from the abuser to the victim.
And abuse is always, always, always the fault of the abuser.
And, of course, once you’re in an abusive relationship, it’s never as simple as just leaving. This is territory I understand well. You love them, and so, with or without them, there is pain. Fischer does a much better job explaining this than I ever could.
As I said, The House on Sunset is vivid and harrowing. Fischer pulls no punches describing her experiences in a manner that may trigger some and be too graphic (however accurate) for my conservative readers. Even I had trouble breathing at parts, especially when it came to the dog, so rest assured this is no fluff read.
It is an important read in understanding domestic violence victims and survivors. It challenged notions I had that were (however unintentionally) shaming victims, and brought me to a new understanding that abuse does not discriminate. It reminded and comforted me that healing from abuse is a different process for everyone, and not everybody gets it. And that’s okay.
What’s not okay is abuse.