The Woman Who Walked Into Doors by Roddy Doyle
Published by Vintage
Published 4 September 2008
WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT
This is the heart-rending story of a woman struggling to reclaim her dignity after a violent, abusive marriage and a worsening drink problem. Paula Spencer recalls her contented childhood, the audacity she learned as a teenager, the exhilaration of her romance with Charlo, and the marriage to him that left her powerless. Capturing both her vulnerability and her strength, Doyle gives Paula a voice that is real and unforgettable.
I WAS TOLD by a guard who came to the door. He wasn’t one I’d seen before, one of the usual ones. He was only a young fella, skinny and with raw spots all over his neck.
WHAT I THOUGHT
This is my first time reading the author. It won’t be my last. I need to read more of his work.
The Woman Who Walked Into Doors is brilliant, absolutely brilliant. This is the kind of book that punches you in the heart and refuses to let go. I think this is the time I’ve heard a first person account of being a battered wife. Paula’s voice is sad, tortured, haunting and I was riveted from page one. Her story chilled me to the bone. She is full of hurt, rage, sadness and even worse, resignation: he loved me and he beat me. I loved him and I took it. It’s as simple as that. I loved reading the story through Paula’s eyes, how she fell in love with Charlo, married him and the hell she lived in for seventeen years. It’s a typical story of a battered wife but this somehow makes it so different. I liked the fact Paula doesn’t reveal Charlo beat her until more than halfway through, until this point the novel is about learning of his death, her past before they met, their relationship and marriage. Then WHAM! Paula casually reveals how regularly he beat her. I found the later chapters harrowing because of her story, her struggle to recall exactly when things happened because the beatings all blended into each other. I absolutely loved it when she has enough and kicks him out. This scene is astonishing. This is a must read.