Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Woman He Loved Before

The Woman He Loved Before, written by Dorothy Koomson, was one of the many books I bought while visiting the Land of E this summer.  It was a book which sounded like a promise of a good read but failed to come to fruition.

The Woman He Loved Before is about the relationship between Libby and Jack, complicated pasts, and twisted family ties.  Libby, Jack's second wife, is haunted by the unanswered questions behind the death of Jack's first wife, Eve.  Koomson takes readers on a tale of love, sensuality, and abuse as she explores the life of Eve and it's impact on Jack's new relationship.  Libby comes to question her relationship with her husband and the possibility of his hand in the murder of Eve.  The book's main question:  How and why did Eve die?

Sexuality, in all of its shapes and sizes, is a central element within this book.  At times I had to contemplate if I wanted to continue reading - something I never usually think of doing.  Koomson spends many, many pages portraying the tales of England's strippers, prostitutes, and drug addicts. 

At first I was taken aback by my aversion to Koomson's exploration of England's seedier side.  "Why would/should this depiction make me want to stop reading altogether?" I wondered.  Afterall, I have heard about the empowerment of females in this industry.  And, I think that is exactly what made me not want to continue this book.  Koomson does try to empower her characters but fails to make it believable.  I was frustrated by this book and the fact that no where in the summary did it mention its degradation of sexuality.

I did not find this book a pleasant read nor would I suggest this book to a fellow reader.

Bibliographic Information:
Koomson, D.  (2011).  The woman he loved before.  London: Sphere.

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