4 out of 4 stars
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Lost in the Reflecting Pool: a Memoir by Diane Pomerantz provides readers with a glimpse into the emotionally abusive and self-destructive relationship that she experienced for more than twenty years with a narcissistic and cruel husband. From its happy beginnings to its slide into disintegration, the marriage of Diane and her husband, Charles, is portrayed with thoughtful reflection, love, hate, and brutal honesty.
From its outset, the relationship of Diane and Charles seems to be a storybook romance where Charles dazzles her with flowers, home-cooked meals, wine in front of the fire, and long walks with her dog. Then comes the marriage proposal, the moving in together, the beautiful outdoor wedding, and the starting of their private practice as a psychiatrist and psychologist partnership. Appearing to have everything, Diane and Charles are happy, but soon it becomes clear that not all is well in paradise. Little derisive comments, statements about his mother, and other red flags start to show up, but Diane in her bubble of happiness and love does not take these warning signs to heart. Diane and Charles try to start a family with no success which drives them to seek out fertility treatments and eventual adoption which pays off, and they start a family. Diane is aglow with maternal bliss, but Charles becomes increasingly critical and begins to spend more time away from home.
At this point, the memoir begins to show the mental and emotional toll on Diane as she begins to exhibit self-doubt, lack of self-confidence, and questions her decisions, thoughts, and feelings. Charles, on the other hand, is arrogant, selfish, and seems to gain satisfaction from the turmoil he causes in Diane. Pomerantz then shares her intensely personal and honest battle with breast cancer. From the initial diagnosis, through the rounds of surgeries, chemotherapy, and eventual reconstruction, we follow Diane’s ups and downs. Sharing her fear and the effects the disease has on her children, we also learn that Charles becomes less and less supportive throughout his wife’s illness. It is through this experience that the blinders finally come off and Diane realizes the true nature of her relationship with Charles.
I found this memoir to be inspiring in many ways. Pomerantz decided to use her true identity instead of using a pseudonym. She put her pain and suffering out there so that others could learn from her story. That she was able to overcome her health issues, insecurities, self-doubt, and post-traumatic stress and move on with her life are a testament to her strength of character and perseverance. As a victim of abuse myself, I found myself empathizing with Diane throughout the story. It is extremely difficult to extricate yourself from an abusive relationship for a variety of reasons. Many of these Pomerantz explains in her memoir: denial, lack of confidence, lack of money, feelings of inadequacy that have a paralyzing effect, and more.
Not only does Pomerantz provide insight into the abuse cycle and its effects but also she shows the importance of friends and family who provide support and encouragement. Pomerantz showed the strong bond that forms between a mother and her children especially as they witness her abuse. She explained the emotional effects and how she, as a trained child psychologist, dealt with this with her children. Her many friends, coworkers, and especially her father were the catalysts for change that eventually allowed Diane to move on to a better life for herself and her children.
Overall, I rate Lost in the Reflecting Pool: a Memoir 4 out of 4 stars. I enjoyed most Diane’s strength and willingness to share her experiences. The thing I enjoyed the least was the sadness that comes along with reading about someone’s suffering. This story is appropriate for women who are or have been victims of abuse or for readers who enjoy memoirs or stories of personal triumph. Everyone will find something that he or she can take to heart. Thank you, Diane Pomerantz, for sharing this memoir.
Lost in the Reflecting Pool
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