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Goodbye, Sweet Girl: A Story of Domestic Violence and Survival
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Goodbye, Sweet Girl: A Story of Domestic Violence and Survival

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  272 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
“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 por ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published June 5th 2018 by Harper
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Dec 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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, ...more
Rebecca Thomas
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have taught Sundberg's "It Will Look Like a Sunset" in my composition classes ever since the essay came out. Every semester, the essay enables important discussions about abuse, agency, and craft. Every semester, I have students who feel empowered enough to share their story. Every semester, I have students who say that this essay changed their way of thinking. This is the power of Sundberg's work: it is both beautifully written while simultaneously holding an important conversation about viol ...more
Jane Eaton Hamilton
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes I want to let a book sit with me. I have to let it sink in deeply and observe how it feels in my tissues and bones before I write about it. First off, let me say that Kelly Sundberg is a courageous, talented, skilled and generous writer--it's why I've so admired her blog through the years. You are in good hands here, readers.

Kelly Sundberg was married to a mercurial, abusive writer who was, at the beginning, ahead of her on the success scale. As that scale tipped, and envy got hold of
Barbara Senteney
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am not giving this book 5 stars because of the writing. The writing style is simple but surprisingly open and candid. I gave this book 5 stars because of the courage it takes to open ones whole life up to be viewed, criticized and picked part by the hungry for blood masses. To bare ones soul and admit to the shame of abuse and lay it out there before the world to step on like a rug after being walked on in life takes a special soul.It takes a survivor who wants to reach out and shake others ou ...more
Kelly Long
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This is a very honest and open account of being in an abusive marriage. It's also a story of hope, strength, and survival.
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
No quitting
Never give up
Breaking free

Be prepared to be sucked into the vortex that incorporate all these words letters, ultimately feelings and emotions.
Necessary truth work layered out in a very real everyday human stain upon earth. A writer with courage and bravery to lay down her life for the reader, a writer yet again seeking truth, realisation, safety, and freedom, from pen and words.
The r
May 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: from-publisher
GOODBYE, SWEET GIRL is a vivid, beautifully composed memoir about Kelly Sundberg’s tumultuous marriage to an abusive man. The narrative evokes feelings of remorse, uncertainty, and later, empowerment. It’s a compelling read, and although the disjointed timeline proves difficult to follow at times, I finished this book with a full heart.
Oct 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
Author Sundberg writes chillingly about being married to a violent, yet brilliant man and how she came to be with him. What is unusual is that she did not come from a dysfunctional and/or abusive family, which is the backdrop to so many of these stories of abuse. She writes clearly about how she was able to love her husband, and even protect him, as he abused her. Beautifully, yet compactly written by a woman who had had enough.

I read an advance copy and was not compensated.
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really appreciate Kelly Sundberg for having the courage to share her story. Maybe others who find themselves in this type of situation or in the beginning or one will find the strength to get out. I am fortunate that I am in a loving marriage. Although, my sister has not been as luckily. She has been in several abusive relationships. One of the relationships she was warned in the beginning. The other ones, the guys put on a good front before their true colors were revealed.

I saw Kelly grow st
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was very disturbing not only because of the abuse but also because of the author’s perception of the relationship. It seems that the author believed that outside of the abuse that there was a beautiful relationship/friendship between her and Caleb. There didn’t seem to be any evidence of that as she described their relationship. Caleb had so many disturbing behaviors and I had the sense that there was even more darkness not revealed because it was just unspeakable. Given these behavior ...more
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, edelweiss
Thank you to the publisher (via Edelweiss) for an advance e-galley in exchange for an honest review.

It's basically impossible to give a book under 5 stars when someone does what Kelly Sundberg does in this book- is able to write eloquently about the most brutal of experiences, is honest and vulnerable about what they experienced. Her abuse was horrific, and she writes openly about her path to realizing that the situation was untenable, about the support she received and the support she didn't. P
Taila Williams
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Finished in two days! Absolutely captivating book.
Jun 17, 2018 rated it did not like it
I'm sorry, but I just didn't enjoy this book. I really wanted to. I thought I would. But I didn't. The opening is compelling and pulled me right in. However, as I read, the details really got blurry. I found it very difficult to follow Sundberg as she detailed the various relationships that led her into a violent marriage. There was too much jumping around–– while discussing one boyfriend and the relationship, there would be a sudden jump to another. For me, this dulled the impact of the message ...more
May 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received an advanced proof of this book as part of a giveaway on behalf of Goodreads and I am so, so grateful that I was able to read this. Roxane Gay's review really nails it- this book is gripping and honest and so, so powerful. Sundberg writes from a place of understanding, for both herself and others, when she could easily write with anger and fury. Her clear, candid prose shows how difficult it is for abused partners to leave relationships and how violence becomes normalized (and almost e ...more
Mar 05, 2018 rated it liked it
I wanted my compassion to be enough to spare him any more pain. I was a woman full of wants who wanted to love someone in a way that would heal us both.

This is a really important book, and I so admire Kelly Sundberg. This isn't some book about a waif-like woman who apologizes for everything, the perfect, blameless victim. Sundberg fights back.

Please don't read that and think Sundberg is not a victim. She is. It took her years to even consider that her relationship was anything but a little tumul
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was so thrilled to snag an ARC of this book. I've been dying to read this book since I read Sundberg's gorgeous essay "It Will Look Like a Sunset," and this book didn't disappoint. Gorgeous, finely carved prose (each word feels deliberate), and unputdownable. Although this is a book about domestic violence, the abuse itself doesn't actually take up much space on the page. The book is about so much more than that.

(But boy do I hope they edit the back cover copy--I really don't like idea that s
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This memoir has so much honesty and raw emotion. It’s a difficult topic but the author doesn’t shy away from laying bare the journey that put her in a position where she went from an eager woman who wanted to love and be loved to someone who had to hide bruises. She parts the cover with finesse to report on how abuse can enter a seemingly loving relationship. She pulls apart the facets of what makes a woman, a strong woman and what makes a marriage tip over to allow domestic violence to enter. C ...more
Sarah Beth
I received an uncorrected proof copy of this book from HarperCollins.

This memoir details the author's marriage to a man full of contradictions. Caleb was a loving father and very hands' on around the house. Yet he could also fly into rages and grow violent towards his wife Kelly. In this account, in candid prose, she describes the years' long process of working to fix her marriage, laying blame on herself when the cycle continued, and ultimately her conclusion that she could not save her marria
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is about Kelly Sundberg's very specific experience, and it is so much more. Like Kelly, I grew up in a town of around 3,000 people in Idaho, a place where everyone around me displayed that women existed to serve their men, that the highest achievement is (for god's sake!) not rocking the boat, and that the mistakes of men happen only because the women were too [stupid, lazy, ugly, fat, clueless, ignorant, pigheaded - take your pick] to have prevented it from happening. I, too, found my ...more
Renée Roehl
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
1.5 stars.

I *wish* this book had been better. It wasn't emotionally honest, it withheld emotion and didn't let the reader in. As a reader I felt nothing, but was told everything too many times in the superfluous details. I found the story redundant with excessive word fluff to pad the lack of genuine pain the author must have felt. She talks about secrets in her family, Caleb's family but doesn't seem to realize as the writer she kept secrets from us. None of the other characters besides the aut
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Kelly Sundberg is an incredibly talented writer. She tells her horrific story in a way that grips you until the very end. This is a cautionary tale that, no matter how much we may love someone, we cannot lose ourselves trying to save him/her. This is a cautionary tale to trust your intuition. This is a cautionary tale that a drowning man/woman will attempt to pull you under with him/her.

No woman or man should have to endure the abuse Kelly experienced and no child should have to witness said abu
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Kelly Sundberg is extremely open when telling her story as a domestic violence survivor that allows the reader to understand the many other women facing this very problem. Sundberg not only tells the horrific details of the violence placed upon her, but also the moments that lead her to stay with her abuser. The strength in which Sundberg tells her story is astonishing and so very powerful. I flew through this book in only a couple of sitting, as I could not wait to see the author escape from he ...more
Lydia A.
Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Forget the concept of “The Great American Novel,” instead embrace the Great American Memoir. Kelly’s memoir stands up to the moniker and defies expectation for what a memoir about domestic violence is or should be. She handles the subject with enough grace that you have a sense of who she’s writing about: Herself and others. Her ability to craft scene and dialogue blew me away. She carries herself with such talent and heart that putting this book down was nearly impossible! Goodbye, Sweet Girl h ...more
Karen Lausa
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely astonishing. A difficult story, shocking in many ways, but it is the job of the reader here to pay attention and not judge. The complexities of those who suffer and endure domestic violence are troubling and frightening- here we read an unraveling confessional that helps build understanding of how the violence web is woven by both parties... innocent or guilty. Beautifully spare and well-written, the book is hard to put down. When finished, you will know more than you ever thought you ...more
Jul 10, 2018 rated it liked it
I wanted to love this book. The author pours her heart out, and I give her credit for being brave enough to talk openly about a topic we too often sweep under the proverbial rug. I also admire how she has been able to put her life together after living in an emotionally and physically abusive relationship. What I struggled with was the jumping around from one period of time to another, from one location to another. I found it distracting and it broke up the flow of the read for me. But still, I ...more
Jul 06, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. This is an important story and I’m glad this writer wrote it down. But I wished it had been edited differently. The timeline jumped so much it was almost impossible to keep track of how the abuse developed and where she was in relation to other events in her life. And some chapters were written more in short separate paragraphs/thoughts … a bit too much like disjointed diary entries. This was probably intentional and I can see how it meant to be intended, but I found it took away from ...more
Annie Cohen
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Bravo to this author for talking about a subject matter that is often ignored. The ugly that goes on behind closed doors, the self esteem issues that go along with. The good times that you try to hold on to, the bad times that make it so hard. This was a story of defeat, then redemption, and ultimately a story of bravery.
My only issue with this book was I really feel the author was TRYING to let me in, but couldn’t quite let me all the way in. And that’s ok. It was still a great book.
Michele Maro
Jul 12, 2018 rated it did not like it
I don’t like this author at all. I don’t like her writing style. She repeats phrases too much. She’s whiny. She’s annoying. I was in an abusive marriage also which was why I picked up this book. I didn’t need to hear about her breasts or sex life. Her whinging was just too much. She has serious issues that meds and counseling didn’t help. Maybe someone that reads this will recognize they are being abused and get help.
Jun 12, 2018 is currently reading it
Shelves: 2018, adult, memoir
You know what's annoying? That Kindle synced to Goodreads doesn't automatically post start or finish dates for digital ARCs the way it does for purchased or downloaded library books. That would be helpful.

Four stars, so far, but ooh, I cannot just sit and read this in a non-paced fashion because it is too raw.
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