By Autumn J. Bright
A Light Bulb Publishing (June 5, 2015)
Reviewed by Carolyn Burns Bass
Debut author Autumn J. Bright’s Love Sick spins a gritty tale of one woman’s break from the dysfunction and lies of her past and toward a reinvention of herself as an independent woman capable of breaking the abusive generational habits that have bound her life.
Toni Jones is a rising star in Charleston’s competitive radio scene. Her husband is a man on the move, ambitious, charismatic and passionate. He’s everything Toni could want in a husband, and more. He’s violent, possessive and a mean drunk. Toni’s family has never approved of Marvin, which makes Marvin resent Toni ever the more. Toni, always the loving and psychologically caged battered wife, makes excuses for him, which everyone sees through. No one is fooled. Least of all Toni. She thinks no one can ever understand the kind of love Toni feels for her abuser. Shades of her childhood, her mother’s sticking with her abusive father, form the pattern from which Toni feels doomed to repeat.
Just when Toni’s opportunity as a drive-time radio personality takes off, her husband Marvin’s business fails. Unable to cope with the changes in his self-perception, Marvin takes a job as a truck driver and creates an illusory life for himself with a stripper. The illusion of this life leads to unimaginable acts that send him back to Toni and hope for reconciliation. It doesn’t take long before Marvin slips back into the violent rages until Toni finally reaches the breaking point and takes her children to a shelter where she receives counseling and support to stand on her own.
Toni and the children thrive in the new environment until Marvin shows up one final time. Toni faces him down like a woman who’s finally had enough and brings the circle of violence to a shocking end.