3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
The mind of a battered woman is complex. To an outsider looking in, it is a mystery as to why she would stay and endure the demoralizing beatings daily. Diane Fletcher is a victim of abuse, and she is stumbling through her volatile marriage on autopilot. The lesions on her body are roadmaps of the torment that Richard has inflicted. Her tears tell the story of a once robust woman whose spirit has been broken—one agonizing punch at a time.
Richard is a despicable man who relishes in putting his wife in her place. He has no qualms about violently beating Diane and then using her whimpers of pain to have his way with her in the bedroom. Over the years, he has tormented, belittled, and transformed her into a shell of the woman she once was.
Diane knows she must get out; the beatings are getting worse and more secrets about Richard’s vile behavior are coming out. Every second she spends with him, she fears for her life. Will she be able to escape this formidable beast before it is too late?
The Last Merry Go Round by C.L. Charlesworth is a fictional book about the hopelessness that accompanies being a victim of abuse. The story is told from the third-person perspective and follows Diane Fletcher.
My favorite aspect of the book was the character development. Diane was quite the introspective protagonist, and I never had to question what she was feeling or thinking as her thoughts were well-detailed and transparent. The more abuse she endured, the more she withdrew from others, and the further her thoughts plummeted into a dark abyss. To cope with being abused physically and sexually, she relied on pills and copious amounts of alcohol. After enduring an agonizing attack, these were her feelings: “Thoughts of what is: alone, straight gin soothes the morning’s agony, a hot shower drenches his stench.”
Another topic that the author did a fantastic job of highlighting was the detrimental effects that an abusive marriage has on children. While Diane and Richard’s three daughters were grown-up, the plight of bearing witness to their mother’s beatings left permanent scars. This can also contribute to a skewed sense of normalcy when it comes to romantic relationships.
With that being said, there were a few things that I didn’t particularly like about the book. I thought the conversations between characters could have been executed better. At times, the dialogue seemed to come out of nowhere due to the improper transitioning of scenes. I found this to be particularly apparent during situations with Diane’s therapist and when she had conversations with other family members.
Another thing that I found quite distracting was the overuse of italics in the dialogue between characters. At times, the wrong word was written in italic font, which disguised the true meaning of what the character was trying to say. Adding further to my confusion, sometimes, an entire sentence would be written in italics, making it difficult to know if a character was emphasizing a point or relaying a thought.
The book had a few spelling and grammatical errors, but they were not exhaustive, and it didn’t negatively alter my reading experience. I chose to give the book a rating of three out of four stars. I found the storyline intriguing, and I was captivated by Diane’s inner thoughts. Still, I deducted one star due to the puzzling dialogue between characters.
I would not recommend this book to young readers or those triggered by physical and sexual abuse. The book covers numerous weighty topics such as rape, alcoholism, and violence against women. The author uses a no-holds-barred approach when describing the brutality.
For readers who enjoy action-packed books that are character-driven, you will love The Last Merry Go Round. The author’s attention to the inner workings of a victim’s mind is astounding, and I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
The Last Merry Go Round
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon