Literary, etc is an eclectic blog where we talk & review books, films, & whatever strikes our mood.
Toni Aleo’s LET IT BE ME is different from her Assassins series. It’s dark and will leave you physically ill.
You might be asking why a three rating. First of all, Aleo has written about an abused woman before. In EMPTY NET, Audrey leaves an abusive relationship, but unlike LET IT BE ME, the abuse in EMPTY NET for the most part takes place in the background. I believe something like less than 15% of the novel actually depicts it. It was difficult to read LET IT BE ME where the abuse does make up over 70% of the plot.
Character development is weak. I believe it’s because Let it be Me is told via Violet’s perspective and we aren’t given much back-story to either Rob or herself. My heart broke for Violet because I could see aspects of the girl she use to be before Rob. I know people react to situations differently, but at times, she felt lost. By that I mean, her voice disconnected a few times from the character we are presented. I’m not sure if that was intentionally done by Aleo or not. As for Rob, wow he’s a piece of work and wished Violet had run him over a few times. I liked Tucker, but I couldn’t get a good grasp as to what made him different from Rob other than his declaration he would never treat her the way Rob does. She spends her time working with Tucker, but then again she worked with Rob! If there is a difference between the two, especially when she began to date Rob, etc, then I would have liked a little more history there.
I had a few issues with LET IT BE ME. First of all, Violet insists she could never leave Rob because no one would believe her. Rob had a history of violent behavior! The man was charged with assault and battery and had upcoming court date. There’s also a particular incident involving Rob and she keeps that information from Tucker. At this point, they’d been intimate and he was willing to help her get out of the marriage, so why not tell him? Why keep it a secret? I can’t imagine keeping something so important from him. Furthermore, while some may argue that Violet’s affair with Tucker is okay because her marriage to Rob was over, I can’t agree. I’m not going to discuss my views on being unfaithful (hey, I understand the whole being on a break concept), but for me, it’s more of, how can a woman who is told over and over that no one would want her and that she’s worthless just happily jump into the arms of a man who smiles at her? I just couldn’t get over that mindset. Again, I know people react differently, but I would have assumed Violet would have wanted to be free 100% from Rob, etc before moving on.
In the end, LET IT BE ME a bit too dark for my liking. I know women live this nightmare daily and I feel for them, but when you pick up a book you want to escape the reality of the real world. I dreaded the chapters because you knew things were going to get worse for Violet. When she finally escapes Rob, I wasn’t too surprised with the outcome. It was bit clichéd and there was only one way this was going to end.
I commend Aleo for tackling a difficult subject matter and giving a voice to the women who live this. If anything, I hope women who read and suspect a friend is going through abuse or maybe it’s you, I hope it gives you the courage to seek help or have a heart to heart with a friend. Leaving an abusive relationship isn’t easy, but there are resources and people willing to help. Aleo is giving 10% of the profits of LET IT BE ME to the Joyful Heart Foundation during the month of October.