Australian actress and author Vanessa de Largie is a survivor of domestic violence. Don’t Hit Me! is the true diarised account of her time living with an abusive man. The story is conveyed through poems, journal entries and fragments of lyrical prose. The book is a snapshot of domestic violence in real time. Raw, poignant and brave – it’s a tale that will stay with you.
Note: I was provided with a copy of this book from the author for review.
For a very short book with very little writing, this book says a lot. Vanessa de Largie’s story is unfortunately one that’s not unique, but the way she has told it is.
The poems, journal entries, and collection of thoughts are raw, honest, poetic, and real. De Largie tells readers at the start this is not a story that unfolds as a normal story would, but unfolds as a story that did. Moments of her life are displayed on the page, there for everyone to see, and it highlights the life of a victim, without the long narration, reflection, and the chronology and increasing severity some other books have.
What is wonderful about this though is that this short 88 page book filled with fragments of de Largie’s life portrays a much bigger picture that any complete story would have. The life of an abuse victim is there in short verse and paragraphs of a moment, and the pain within and the struggle to live each day, hoping for a moment of freedom, even for a short while screams off the page.
Even in these short fragments you get caught up in de Largie’s world, you’re there with her, beside her, seeing her pain, it’s incredible. You sense her mood, her retreat within herself, her strength and determination to stay alive, and the darkness that offered her a way out.
Telling a story of this nature like this is unconventional but it is no less powerful. This is a snippet and snapshot of moments in de Largie’s life with an abuser and a wonderful expression of the empowerment of being free. I think bringing the issue of domestic abuse to light in such a brilliant way is commendable and one I hope highlights not just the life of the abused, but offers inspiration for those who think they don’t have the strength.
You can purchase Don’t Hit Me! via the following