Today I'll be reviewing Hold Her Down by Kathryn R. Biel. Hold Her Down is currently on tour with CLP Blog Tours. so if you're interested in following the rest of the tour, you can visit the tour page HERE.
Hold Her Down
Elizabeth Zurlo is lost. She's a wife, a mother, a teacher, a PTA volunteer—but somewhere along the way, she's lost herself. Depression and despair can lead to desperate measures and when she is pulled back from the brink of suicide, Elizabeth slowly tries to rebuild her marriage and reclaim her life. Just as she has finally started to put herself back together, a scandalous novel rocks her small town ... and costs Elizabeth her social standing, friendships and ultimately, her marriage. However, the man who seemingly destroyed Elizabeth's life, helps her realize who she is and what she needs to do to become the woman she's not only capable of being, but the woman she used to be.
Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
My Review: Elizabeth has given so much of herself to others (her husband, children, students, volunteer work) that there's scarcely anything left of the "Liza" she used to be. Her husband takes her for granted. She can't say no to the constant barrage of requests to volunteer, bake, and organize. She moves through life in constant reactive mode, averting crises, soothing boo-boos, cleaning messes, but not doing a single thing to nurture her own soul.
If you're a mom, chances are you'll immediately sympathize with Elizabeth. My kids are now older, but I clearly remember the days when I was so overwhelmed as a working mom of four kids, that I felt like I was on the constant verge of losing it. Elizabeth is completely unappreciated by her husband, and were times I used to feel the same way. She feels obligated to join the "mom clique" at her kids' school, pitching in to help at every PTA activity imaginable. Though I never really succumbed to that particular urge, I was a Scout mom for a number of years, so I'm familiar with this type of phenomenon. Moms constantly try to one-up each other by comparing their busy schedules. There's a very real pressure in our society for moms to be the busiest, the most active in PTA, the most organized. These moms wear their stress and lack of sleep as badges of honor, as if they've achieved an amazing feat by sacrificing their lives to the constant pursuit of perfection. In mom cliques, women never brag about personal or professional achievements--it's all about who has the most hectic schedule, or who's juggling the most balls in the air.
But I digress... Back to the book. Needless to say, I connected with this book very strongly. It was very moving and the message within the pages is one that needs to be heard: There is nothing honorable about sacrificing your own needs. There is nothing honorable about forgoing sleep, spiritual nourishment, and personal fulfillment in order to satisfy the expectations of others. Moms are people. We have to take care of ourselves before we can take care of anyone else. As Elizabeth learns to care about herself in this book, she suffers a serious setback--a setback that eventually propels her to even greater personal growth. A blast from her past writes a 50-Shades type book and it isn't long before everyone in town is wondering about Elizabeth's personal life. With her reputation, marriage, and sanity hanging in the balance, Elizabeth must fight for what's really important.
So, what's not to love about this book? Well, for me, the beginning was just okay. I wish the back story would have been integrated into the book at a later stage instead of lumped at the beginning. The only reason I mention this is because some readers might be put off by the slow start. Please don't be! You've got to read this book. Despite the rocky start, this book scored an easy five stars. I couldn't put the book down once I got into it and thought about Elizabeth for days after. The plot is outstanding, the characterization perfect. Hold Her Down is one of those books I wish I would have read as part of a book club. This is a book that will definitely spark some lively discussion.
Please give this book a try. You'll be glad you did.
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
About the Author:
Kathryn Biel hails from Upstate New York and is a spouse and mother of two wonderful and energetic kids. In between being Chief Home Officer and Director of Child Development of the Biel household, she works as a school-based physical therapist. She attended Boston University and received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from The Sage Colleges. After years of writing countless letters of medical necessity for wheelchairs, finding increasingly creative ways to encourage the government and insurance companies to fund her clients' needs and writing entertaining annual Christmas letters, she decided to take a shot at writing the kind of novel that she likes to read. Her debut novel, GOOD INTENTIONS, was released in 2013, and her second novel, HOLD HER DOWN was released in 2014. Her musings and rants can also be found on her personal blog, Biel Blather.
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