Painful journey of domestic violence

Title: Look me in the eyes

Title: Look me in the eyes

Author: Caryl Wyatt and Anita le Roux

Publisher: 30 degrees South Publishing

Reviewer: Namhla Tshisela

She had it all - a rich husband, overseas holidays, expensive jewellery and homes to die for - the stuff of most woman's dreams.

More than once she almost died for these luxuries. Married thrice, twice to the same man, Wyatt was the archetypal battered woman. She gave all to her marriages, ignoring her needs and those of her children. Crippled by low self-esteem, she relied on others' opinions to define her worth. This manifested in depression and bulimia.

The reader later finds out that Wyatt's complexes were rooted in her less-than-model childhood.

Born in Zimbabwe to an undemonstrative mother with a lousy track record with men, she longed for the love of her father, who left the family when she was three years old.

And so began her dysfunctional relationships with men. Her first marriage was to a musician who beat her and eventually left her, taking their young children. She managed to pick herself up, but it didn't last long. Her life was shattered when she met the two-faced Hitler or Babe, depending on his unpredictable mood.

She stayed, despite him telling her early in their relationship: "You wouldn't want to be with me if you knew what a bastard I am."

She stayed because she was addicted to love and because she depended on her husband financially. She suffered humiliation, infidelity and violence.

Punted as a "politically incorrect" odyssey of a woman's struggle, it paints a graphic and harrowing picture of domestic violence.