Goodbye, sweet girl A story of domestic violence and survival

Kelly Sundberg, 1977-

Book - 2018

"In this brave and beautiful memoir...a woman chronicles how her marriage devolved from a love story into a shocking tale of abuse--examining the tenderness and violence entwined in the relationship, why she endured years of physical and emotional pain, and how she eventually broke free."--

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2nd Floor 362.8292/Sundberg Due Jun 2, 2022
Subjects
Genres
Autobiographies
Published
New York, NY : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers [2018]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
x, 258 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9780062497673
0062497677
Main Author
Kelly Sundberg, 1977- (author)
  • Blue
  • Queen of Swords
  • The perfect family
  • Runaway
  • Would I rather?
  • Saved
  • I love you
  • Demolition
  • That hot, dry summer
  • Take me to the river
  • Broken things
  • Playlist for a broken heart
  • His ghost in her bones
  • Christmas baby
  • What I didn't write
  • A hard heart
  • The archivist
  • It will look like a sunset
  • An incomplete list of reasons he was violent
  • I just don't know what to believe
  • Goodbye, sweet girl
  • Epilogue: The house in the hollow.
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Sundberg's essay "It Will Look Like a Sunset" was featured in The Best American Essays, 2015 and is often taught to creative-nonfiction students for its humbling and raw portrayal of the cycles of domestic abuse. This memoir, the author's first book, is a fuller picture of the pain and confusion of her marriage to Caleb, a writer and adjunct professor. The two fell fast and hard, getting married and giving birth within the first year of their partnership. Things just as quickly went wrong, as Caleb asserted his control in increasingly violent ways. Was it her mother's distance, the unrealistic portrayals of intimacy in romance novels, past dating experiences, or something else entirely that led Sundberg to believe she deserved Caleb's twisted love? Sundberg revisits the hollows of Idaho, where she grew up, and the stunted mountains of West Virginia, where she and Caleb lived in turmoil, in order to dissect the relationship for the sake of her own healing. Somehow, through her candid and brave accounts of Caleb's physical attacks, she never vilifies her former husband, painting him instead as the complex and ill man he was. Lyrical and taut, her memoir provides readers with an honest and critical account of partner violence. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Expanding her Guernica essay "It Will Look Like a Sunset," a viral sensation included in Best American Essays 2015, Sundberg chronicles marrying a charming man she learns is vengefully violent, coming to understand that the marriage is too dangerous to endure, and realizing how childhood in a remote Idaho town set her up for this situation. With a 40,000-copy first printing. Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

In this powerful debut memoir, Sundberg delivers a harrowing account of an abusive marriage and how she left it. Upon getting pregnant at 26, Sundberg married her boyfriend, Caleb, and over the course of eight years, Caleb went from screaming at Sundberg to beating and choking her. In their early years, the couple lived in Idaho, finding joy in their son and sometimes each other, despite Caleb's fiery temper and Sundberg's bouts of depression. Sundberg presents candid portraits of herself and Caleb as complicated people that transcend abuse stereotypes—she is ambitious and outgoing, and her husband is sensitive and anxious. As Sundberg found professional success as a writer, Caleb, also a writer, felt threatened and the abuse intensified. Though they attended counseling and Caleb attempted sobriety, things got worse. When Caleb smashed a ceramic bowl into her foot, causing an injury Sundberg wasn't able to hide, she finally left him. After settling her divorce, Sundberg moved to Ohio with her son to begin a PhD program. Throughout the book, Sundberg contemplates a recurring question in the public discourse on domestic violence—why women stay with abusive men (for example, that women might overvalue the sacredness of marriage). Sundberg cogently ties together the painful chain of events in her life and the personal growth that resulted from it. (June) Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

The author describes her abusive marriage to a man who was funny, warm and supportive but also vengeful and violent and how she finally rejected the abuse, accepted responsibility for herself and decided that she deserved better. 40,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

'It is a hell of a thing to write about brutality and suffering with strength, grace, generosity and beauty. That's precisely what Kelly Sundberg has done in her gripping memoir about marriage and domestic violence. Sundberg's honesty is astonishing, how she laid so much of herself bare, how she did not demonize a man who deserves to be demonized. Instead, she offers a portrait of a broken man and a broken marriage and an abiding love, what it took to set herself free from it all. In shimmering, open hearted prose, she shows that it took everything."--Roxane Gay, author of Hunger and Bad Feminist"In her stunning memoir, Kelly Sundberg examines the heart-breaking bonds of love, detailing her near decade-long marriage's slide into horrific abuse. Sundberg shares her own confusions, fears and empathy for her violent husband, even as she comes to realize he will never change. This is an immensely courageous story that will break your heart, leave you in tears, and, finally, offer hope and redemption. Brava, Kelly Sundberg."'rene Denfeld, author of The Child Finder"A fierce, frightening, soulful reckoning'Goodbye, Sweet Girl is an expertly rendered memoir that investigates why we stay in relationships that hurt us, and how we survive when we leave them. Kelly Sundberg is a force. She has written the rare book that has the power to change lives."'Christa Parravani, author of Her: A MemoirIn this brave and beautiful memoir, written with the raw honesty and devastating openness of The Glass Castle and The Liar's Club, a woman chronicles how her marriage devolved from a love story into a shocking tale of abuse'examining the tenderness and violence entwined in the relationship, why she endured years of physical and emotional pain, and how she eventually broke free."You made me hit you in the face," he said mournfully. "Now everyone is going to know." "I know," I said. "I'm sorry."Kelly Sundberg's husband, Caleb, was a funny, warm, supportive man and a wonderful father to their little boy Reed. He was also vengeful and violent. But Sundberg did not know that when she fell in love, and for years told herself he would get better. It took a decade for her to ultimately accept that the partnership she desired could not work with such a broken man. In her remarkable book, she offers an intimate record of the joys and terrors that accompanied her long, difficult awakening, and presents a haunting, heartbreaking glimpse into why women remain too long in dangerous relationships.To understand herself and her violent marriage, Sundberg looks to her childhood in Salmon, a small, isolated mountain community known as the most redneck town in Idaho. Like her marriage, Salmon is a place of deep contradictions, where Mormon ranchers and hippie back-to-landers live side-by-side; a place of magical beauty riven by secret brutality; a place that takes pride in its individualism and rugged self-sufficiency, yet is beholden to church and communal standards at all costs.Mesmerizing and poetic, Goodbye, Sweet Girl is a harrowing, cautionary, and ultimately redemptive tale that brilliantly illuminates one woman's transformation as she gradually rejects the painful reality of her violent life at the hands of the man who is supposed to cherish her, begins to accept responsibility for herself, and learns to believe that she deserves better.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

“It is a hell of a thing to write about brutality and suffering with strength, grace, generosity and beauty. That’s precisely what Kelly Sundberg has done in her gripping memoir about marriage and domestic violence. Sundberg’s honesty is astonishing, how she laid so much of herself bare, how she did not demonize a man who deserves to be demonized. Instead, she offers a portrait of a broken man and a broken marriage and an abiding love, what it took to set herself free from it all. In shimmering, open hearted prose, she shows that it took everything."--Roxane Gay, author of Hunger and Bad Feminist"In her stunning memoir, Kelly Sundberg examines the heart-breaking bonds of love, detailing her near decade-long marriage’s slide into horrific abuse. Sundberg shares her own confusions, fears and empathy for her violent husband, even as she comes to realize he will never change. This is an immensely courageous story that will break your heart, leave you in tears, and, finally, offer hope and redemption. Brava, Kelly Sundberg."—Rene Denfeld, author of The Child Finder"A fierce, frightening, soulful reckoning—Goodbye, Sweet Girl is an expertly rendered memoir that investigates why we stay in relationships that hurt us, and how we survive when we leave them. Kelly Sundberg is a force. She has written the rare book that has the power to change lives."—Christa Parravani, author of Her: A MemoirIn this brave and beautiful memoir, written with the raw honesty and devastating openness of The Glass Castle and The Liar’s Club, a woman chronicles how her marriage devolved from a love story into a shocking tale of abuse—examining the tenderness and violence entwined in the relationship, why she endured years of physical and emotional pain, and how she eventually broke free."You made me hit you in the face," he said mournfully. "Now everyone is going to know." "I know," I said. "I’m sorry."Kelly Sundberg’s husband, Caleb, was a funny, warm, supportive man and a wonderful father to their little boy Reed. He was also vengeful and violent. But Sundberg did not know that when she fell in love, and for years told herself he would get better. It took a decade for her to ultimately accept that the partnership she desired could not work with such a broken man. In her remarkable book, she offers an intimate record of the joys and terrors that accompanied her long, difficult awakening, and presents a haunting, heartbreaking glimpse into why women remain too long in dangerous relationships.To understand herself and her violent marriage, Sundberg looks to her childhood in Salmon, a small, isolated mountain community known as the most redneck town in Idaho. Like her marriage, Salmon is a place of deep contradictions, where Mormon ranchers and hippie back-to-landers live side-by-side; a place of magical beauty riven by secret brutality; a place that takes pride in its individualism and rugged self-sufficiency, yet is beholden to church and communal standards at all costs.Mesmerizing and poetic, Goodbye, Sweet Girl is a harrowing, cautionary, and ultimately redemptive tale that brilliantly illuminates one woman’s transformation as she gradually rejects the painful reality of her violent life at the hands of the man who is supposed to cherish her, begins to accept responsibility for herself, and learns to believe that she deserves better.