Not Exactly Love: A Memoir

Betty Hafner

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Kathy Pooler

11 months ago

Not Exactly Love is a gripping and painfully honest portrayal of an intelligent, sensitive young woman in the late 60s, early 70s whose desire to find a meaningful, committed relationship leads her to fall in love with a charismatic, handsome Hippie-like young man. Despite the blatant red flags, she marries him and eventually realizes she is in the grips of an abusive relationship.

Hafner writes beautifully, slowly revealing the complex dynamics of the cycle of abuse. With raw, unflinching detail, she unveils the mystery of why she stays despite the abuse, a question that plagues many who observe abuse in others. As a reader, I connected to her through her willingness to share her vulnerabilities and flaws. She also portrays her husband, Jack, in a multidimensional way, showing his sensitive side and exploring his own background of abuse as well as his volatile, abusive side.

Her vivid scenic details brought me into her story and kept me riveted until the end. The abuse scenes are hard to read but clearly show the depth of trauma inflicted.

Hafner musters the courage to leave, taking the reader on her journey to a better life. She has broken the silence and offered a story of hope and redemption for those who are in abusive relationships.

This memoir is both a courageous portrayal of a woman in an abusive relationship and a guide for taking back one’s freedom.

I highly recommend this memoir for anyone who has or is experiencing abuse and for those who serve the abused population.