Note: I received a digital copy of Who Am I? from the author for review consideration.
I am very excited to be reviewing the first of my review copy books! This memoir was sent to me by author Megan Cyrulewski, and I devoured it in less than a day. Wow, what a heart-wrenching book–I think I could actually feel my blood pressure rising. (Be aware–this book contains accounts of domestic abuse, both emotional and physical, and is definitely not for every reader.)
This memoir covers the last few years of Megan’s life, from her marriage to Tyler, to the birth of her daughter Madelyne, to her divorce from Tyler. We get a close-up view of Tyler’s rage, emotional manipulation and abuse, and his narcissism (although not diagnosed, it seems pretty clear that Tyler has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or NPD), and once Megan decides to move back to her parents’ house and get a divorce, we also see how difficult Tyler makes Megan’s life, simply because he didn’t get what he wanted. The majority of the book focuses on their daughter, Madelyne, and how Tyler uses her as a pawn to feel more in control and to get his “rights.”
It makes me want to cry to think that any woman (or any human!) would be put in such a position and then be misled by her abuser into thinking that she deserves it, or that she isn’t worthy of anything better, or that it’s her fault that her abuser is mistreating her, or any of the things that the rest of us look at and can’t understand why anyone would stay. I don’t think those of us who haven’t been through that kind of situation can really understand the psychological trauma that must occur. Still, Megan is one of those who did escape. She goes to therapy and even checks into a clinic in order to get control over her anxiety and post-partum depression, she allows her parents to help her out, and she even throws law school into the mix, all the while doing her best to be a good mother to her daughter. Sure, she’s still angry, but she’s free.
If you’re looking for a clinical, self-help type of book that looks at NPD or post-partum depression, this is not it. However, if you’re looking for a personal account, still full of the pain, bitterness, and anger of still-recent events, this is your book. Who Am I? is a powerful, heart-wrenching, personal look at anxiety, depression, abuse, and healing. While I can’t say I enjoyed reading it, exactly (thus my rating below–I don’t think I could read books like this very often), this memoir was well-written and compelling, and shows that good things can come out of very bad circumstances–in this case, Megan’s daughter Madelyne.
Rating: Not My Cup of Tea