I stepped out of my comfort zone of fictional worlds, where authors conjure images, plots and dialogue that stir my emotions and imagination. What I was stepping into, I wasn’t quite sure, a true story of an abused, tormented but ultimately very courageous woman. I can no longer pretend that this story originated in the mind of a writer where no matter how brutal or horrific the scenes, there is always a knowledge that it is FICTION.
Erica L Dubois has written a memoir, almost like a police incident statement, outlining the facts of a case. A case that depicts a manipulative, sadistic man that built a life of derision, and physical and emotional abuse, all because he could. My immediate, ignorant, reaction to domestic violence is why not leave or tell the authorities. But the reality is that fear becomes so systemic, the cynical moments of affection and apology so confusing, and the ability to escape unharmed, so doubtful. From a distance, the forgiveness and attempt to work at a relationship that is so toxic is so ridiculous, but we often hear how blinded the victim is of that reality. Erica explains those thoughts and reasoning very well and the tensions and alienation it caused with her parents and brother. When the reality was finally apparent the attempts on her life and the threat against those she loved was so debilitating that her life meant nothing but isolation and pain.
The impact of the story is that it is NON-FICTION. This really happened!
Erica tells her story in third person using character pseudonyms such as: Beauty, Beast, King, Queen, Prince and Princess. The irony, that the characters are typically seen in a fairy tale, is a powerful challenge to our perceptions and ability to see behind the happy facade families can present to the outside world. The fairy tale connotations continue through-out the story to remind us of this disguise. The abuse continues to escalate until the actions surpass anything we can imagine and enter a horror film setting including a torture chamber and permanent physical damage.
There is a sense that writing this book is part of the healing process for Erica. Beyond that, it will also stand as an account of the Beast’s behaviour. This is part of your legacy. Monsters do exist!
As an articulate advocate against domestic abuse, Erica Dubois continues her support work and stands as a beacon of resolve, understanding and inspiration. In good fairy tale fashion, hopefully, Erica, her daughter and family will live happily ever after.