3 out of 4 stars
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In My Lions' Den, E. M. Power shares the autobiographical account of her nine-year experience with domestic violence. The title is inspired by the book of Daniel, and each chapter begins with a verse from the biblical narrative. Throughout the story, Power likens the lions' den to trials in life and emphasizes having faith and trusting God. She gives readers a glimpse into life in an abusive relationship, what is involved in escaping to domestic violence shelters, and how to end the cycle. Power also identifies misconceptions and warning signs. Ultimately, she stresses safety and reminds readers that they can trust God to deliver them, too.
Although the book is only 95 pages, I can attest from personal experience that Power does a good job of conveying the fear and despair associated with domestic violence. As a Christian who also fell prey to a man who seemed trustworthy because of his faith, I related to her story in many ways. Abuse on any level is difficult to read about, but Power also shares her efforts to provide a sense of normalcy for her children and a few stories on a lighter note. For instance, she recounted the time that Will and Jada Pinkett Smith visited the swamp tour company where she worked. Her delight in taking a selfie with Will is contagious. Readers who have been in abusive relationships will relate to the necessary compartmentalization that accompanies the lifestyle.
I most appreciate Power's transparency and the examples she shares to illustrate what it's like to live with an abuser. In one instance, she described the time her abuser insisted that she knock on a neighbor's door at one in the morning to ask for a cigarette. Although she tried to decline, she felt threatened enough that she complied and knocked on the door with tears running down her face. Power also provides insight regarding domestic violence shelters, and she describes the living conditions, including the sleeping arrangements, types of counseling available, play areas for children, and the provision of cosmetics and personal items. I was particularly moved by her description of a wall of photographs with brightly colored frames. When Power inquired about the names and numbers on the frames, the advocate responded: "These are all the victims that have died because of Domestic Violence according to the year and month of their death. The number that follows each name was the age of that victim at the time of their death."
Power stresses safety as she discusses shelters as a resource. On a personal note, I was separated for the majority of my abusive marriage, and I wasn’t married as long as Power. Even so, I understand that her faith in God is foundational to her story and her need to wait "...on God's time for deliverance." However, my concern is that some of the wording she uses may be misconstrued. I feel the need to clarify that domestic violence is not a trial anyone should endure for any reason.
The book contains several instances of profanity. Unfortunately, errors in verb tense and capitalization persist throughout the book, and the number of errors prevents me from awarding it a perfect rating. However, Power's story offers abuse victims hope and insight. Overall, I rate My Lions' Den 3 out of 4 stars. I recommend the book to readers desiring to leave abusive relationships and those interested in helping others break the cycle. Some of the information Power shares will be helpful to readers of any faith, but it may not appeal to those who dislike reading scriptures or references to God.
My Lions' Den
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