Goodbye, Sweet Girl: Book summary and reviews of Goodbye, Sweet Girl by Kelly Sundberg

Goodbye, Sweet Girl

A Story of Domestic Violence and Survival

by Kelly Sundberg

Goodbye, Sweet Girl by Kelly Sundberg X
Goodbye, Sweet Girl by Kelly Sundberg
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  • Published in USA  Jun 2018
    272 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

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.

"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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Lyrical and taut, Goodbye, Sweet Girl provides readers with an honest and critical account of partner violence." - Booklist

"Sundberg cogently ties together the painful chain of events in her life and the personal growth that resulted from it." - Publishers Weekly

"A courageously honest memoir." - Kirkus

"Kelly Sundberg's lyrical, devastating 2014 essay about domestic violence, "It Will Look Like a Sunset," made readers hold their collective breath. It's now expanded into a full-length memoir about Sundberg's husband, a man who was wonderful and violent at turns." - Elle (The 30 Best Books to Read This Summer)

"Goodbye, Sweet Girl is a story of domestic violence and survival, written by Kelly Sundberg, who experienced abuse at the hands of her husband. A strong and empowering memoir, the layers of Sundberg's life are utterly inspiring." - Women.com (15 Awesome Books With Strong Female Protagonists)

"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." - Roxane Gay, author of Hunger and Bad Feminist

"Stunning...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 Memoir

This information about Goodbye, Sweet Girl shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Kelly Sundberg

Kelly Sundberg's essays have appeared in Guernica, Gulf Coast, The Rumpus, Denver Quarterly, Slice, and others. Her essay "It Will Look Like a Sunset" was selected for inclusion in The Best American Essays 2015, and other essays have been listed as notables in the same series. She has a PhD in creative nonfiction from Ohio University and has been the recipient of fellowships or grants from Vermont Studio Center, A Room of Her Own Foundation, Dickinson House, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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