Goodbye, Sweet Girl (Hardcover)

A Story of Domestic Violence and Survival

By Kelly Sundberg

Harper, 9780062497673, 272pp.

Publication Date: June 5, 2018

List Price: 26.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Description

“It is a hell of a thing to write about brutality and suffering with strength, grace, generosity and beauty. That’s precisely what Kelly Sundberg has done in her gripping memoir about marriage and domestic violence. Sundberg’s honesty is astonishing, how she laid so much of herself bare, how she did not demonize a man who deserves to be demonized. Instead, she offers a portrait of a broken man and a broken marriage and an abiding love, what it took to set herself free from it all. In shimmering, open hearted prose, she shows that it took everything."--Roxane Gay, author of Hunger and Bad Feminist

"In her stunning memoir, Kelly Sundberg examines the heart-breaking bonds of love, detailing her near decade-long marriage’s slide into horrific abuse. Sundberg shares her own confusions, fears and empathy for her violent husband, even as she comes to realize he will never change. This is an immensely courageous story that will break your heart, leave you in tears, and, finally, offer hope and redemption. Brava, Kelly Sundberg."—Rene Denfeld, author of The Child Finder

"A fierce, frightening, soulful reckoning—Goodbye, Sweet Girl is an expertly rendered memoir that investigates why we stay in relationships that hurt us, and how we survive when we leave them. Kelly Sundberg is a force. She has written the rare book that has the power to change lives."—Christa Parravani, author of Her: A Memoir

In this brave and beautiful memoir, written with the raw honesty and devastating openness of The Glass Castle and The Liar’s Club, a woman chronicles how her marriage devolved from a love story into a shocking tale of abuse—examining the tenderness and violence entwined in the relationship, why she endured years of physical and emotional pain, and how she eventually broke free.

"You made me hit you in the face," he said mournfully. "Now everyone is going to know." "I know," I said. "I’m sorry."

Kelly Sundberg’s husband, Caleb, was a funny, warm, supportive man and a wonderful father to their little boy Reed. He was also vengeful and violent. But Sundberg did not know that when she fell in love, and for years told herself he would get better. It took a decade for her to ultimately accept that the partnership she desired could not work with such a broken man. In her remarkable book, she offers an intimate record of the joys and terrors that accompanied her long, difficult awakening, and presents a haunting, heartbreaking glimpse into why women remain too long in dangerous relationships.

To understand herself and her violent marriage, Sundberg looks to her childhood in Salmon, a small, isolated mountain community known as the most redneck town in Idaho. Like her marriage, Salmon is a place of deep contradictions, where Mormon ranchers and hippie back-to-landers live side-by-side; a place of magical beauty riven by secret brutality; a place that takes pride in its individualism and rugged self-sufficiency, yet is beholden to church and communal standards at all costs.

Mesmerizing and poetic, Goodbye, Sweet Girl is a harrowing, cautionary, and ultimately redemptive tale that brilliantly illuminates one woman’s transformation as she gradually rejects the painful reality of her violent life at the hands of the man who is supposed to cherish her, begins to accept responsibility for herself, and learns to believe that she deserves better.



Praise For Goodbye, Sweet Girl: A Story of Domestic Violence and Survival

“Kelly Sundberg’s lyrical, devastating 2014 essay about domestic violence, “It Will Look Like a Sunset,” made readers hold their collective breath. It’s now expanded into a full-length memoir about Sundberg’s husband, a man who was wonderful and violent at turns.”

Goodbye, Sweet Girl is a story of domestic violence and survival, written by Kelly Sundberg, who experienced abuse at the hands of her husband. A strong and empowering memoir, the layers of Sundberg’s life are utterly inspiring.”

“It is a hell of a thing to write about brutality and suffering with strength, grace, generosity and beauty. That’s precisely what Kelly Sundberg has done in her gripping memoir about marriage and domestic violence. Sundberg’s honesty is astonishing, how she laid so much of herself bare, how she did not demonize a man who deserves to be demonized. Instead, she offers a portrait of a broken man and a broken marriage and an abiding love, what it took to set herself free from it all. In shimmering, open hearted prose, she shows that it took everything.”

Goodbye, Sweet Girl is a breathtaking gut-punch of a memoir. Real talk: the story is hard. We spend so much time pretending that domestic violence doesn’t exist. We spend so much time doubting women. Enough. Sundberg gives us the truth in all its complexity; fear and hope and fury in gorgeous, near-cinematic prose that made me weep, and cheer, and understand. Here is how we save ourselves. Here is how we survive.”

“In her stunning memoir, Kelly Sundberg examines the heart-breaking bonds of love, detailing her near decade-long marriage’s slide into horrific abuse. Sundberg shares her own confusions, fears and empathy for her violent husband, even as she comes to realize he will never change. This is an immensely courageous story that will break your heart, leave you in tears, and, finally, offer hope and redemption. Brava, Kelly Sundberg.”

“A fierce, frightening, soulful reckoning-- Goodbye, Sweet Girl is an expertly rendered memoir that investigates why we stay in relationships that hurt us, and how we survive when we leave them. Kelly Sundberg is a force. She has written the rare book that has the power to change lives.”

“With disorienting elegance Kelly Sundberg shows her readers how difficult it can be to believe even your own experiences of abuse when they begin in what seems to be a loving relationship, and unfold alongside depression and confusion arising as a result of that very abuse—and perhaps worst of all, when in the midst of such doubt, fear and sorrow, loved ones question your judgment. Kelly brings clear eyes, an open heart and the vulnerability that comes from long healing to a story of domestic grief and horrific abuse. The abuse that she long told herself, and others, was not really that bad. The writing and juxtaposition of scenes are striking and terrible in their beauty—it’s no coincidence that her story begins among men and women who both depend utterly on the mountains and forests of Idaho, and who seem hell-bent on destroying them. It is a powerful spirit indeed who not only navigated so many lonely and terrible days and nights, but who also escaped with grace, a beloved child, and the determination to share her story, difficult as that must have been. This is an important book.”

“A shattering of the silence that enables domestic violence to continue, Goodbye, Sweet Girl shines a fierce light on how complex and sometimes joyous a relationship that’s also an abusive cage can be, why women gradually lose the orientation they need to find the exit, and how they escape when they do, or how this one did. This book is a testament—and a warning to batterers that the silence is broken, and their secrets are leaking out.”

“Reading Kelly Sundberg’s writing—fresh, luminous, spirited—is a pleasure second only to witnessing her decision to survive. Goodbye Sweet Girl is a meditation on what it takes to save your own life.” 

“In this powerful debut memoir, Sundberg delivers a harrowing account of an abusive marriage and how she left it....Sundberg cogently ties together the painful chain of events in her life and the personal growth that resulted from it.”

“Lyrical and taut, Goodbye, Sweet Girl provides readers with an honest and critical account of partner violence.”