Beyond the Power of Love by Janice Romney is an autobiographical account of the abuse that the author endured beginning with her early childhood. Yet, this book is more than an autobiography, it is also a self help book in that it offers the resources for a victim of abuse to recognize the problem and to seek help. For this reason, this account may be described as a hybrid genre of self help- autobiography. For those faint of heart readers, this book will be difficult to read as it is an accurate, true to life account of the years of torturous physical and emotional abuse the author endured. Yet if this book is vivid enough to be painful to even read, it is difficult to imagine how much more so for the author. The author originally wrote this book in 2004 as a part of her healing process. In 2012 she made the bold decision to have it reprinted as a testament and reaffirmation to her healing. Miraculously, she retained her faith in God, despite the hypocrisy of the Mormon church and its condemning judgmental leadership. In writing this book, and reissuing it, she gives a voice to countless other who silently endure years of abuse, that are kept in submission due to guilt and shame.
One thing I'd like to point out is a distinction that should be made in the subtitle- " A Woman's Journey Through Betrayal of Religion and Spousal Abuse" - while accurate, it should be clarified that this story is in the context of a cult-like Mormon community. In fact the manipulation, secrecy and isolation of cult type of setting is usually a fertile ground that enables the continuous cycle of physical, emotional and spousal abuse in which victims, cut off from the world suffer in silence, shame and fear. She and her first husband grew up and were raised in Mormon families. Nevertheless not all her abuse is simply attributed to this fact alone. Yet the context of the Mormon religion was an enabling factor that led to her submission to years of spousal abuse. She felt betrayed and was "disfellowshipped" when she was seeking help and support. After opening up the adjudicators, she received condemnation and punishment. The cycle of shame and guilt kept her enslaved and obedient. Matthew 23:27 comes to mind when Jesus states- "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean." NIV The Mormon church that fueled Romney's abuse may have looked good on the outside with its ceremonies, beautiful temples and its pious leaders, but on the inside it is filled with deception, depravity and every vile thing.
Romney is very self aware at the though processes of a victim of abuse. Objectively she can reflect on how the mind puts up defense mechanisms to bury abuse deep in the sub conscious. She is candid about her codependency in an abusive relationship and her deep rooted feelings of shame and guilt which contributed to her silence. Simply the action of giving voice to her feelings as well as the account of her abuse will offer the hope of healing to countless readers, and not only her own. It chronicles the long road to recovery and its impact on her own children as well. The author exposes everything, her life is an open book for all readers as well. She discusses the ongoing after affects of abuse including depression and drug abuse. She goes into detail her divorce and the painful custodial and judicial battles. Not only does she delve deeply into the emotional impact of abuse but also the practical day to day impact as well. This too will help equip readers who are in the midst of their own trials. Miraculously the author is able to use God's word and to heal and to offer forgiveness. The family portrait with Janice Romney as well as her daughter and granddaughter adds more of a personal connection with the reader. It is a powerful testament to be open in light of her experiences. The book offers simple resources and helps for a reader who may currently be experiencing abuse.
As a blogger I received this book published by iUniverse for the purpose of writing this review.