Jamie Patterson’s LOST EDENS is a true story drawn from Jamie’s personal experience of the break up of her marriage and one that many people would benefit from reading. Besides being a writer, Patterson is also a teacher, runner, and a dog lover. She spent almost a decade trying to please everybody and always putting herself last. Jamie describes how she very much wanted her marriage to work and the great lengths she went to in order to make it happen. What she didn’t realize at the time is that no matter how desperate she was, or what all she did, there would never ultimately be the fairy tale marriage she dreamed of.

Domestic violence and spousal abuse is very difficult to read about but even harder to recognize by outsiders and most often by the partner who is involved and in denial. In all of Jamie’s efforts to please her husband, it becomes evident to readers that the undercurrent of low self-esteem is prevalent even though Jamie is not aware of it. As most do, she took the blame on herself but emotional and verbal abuse can be harder to acknowledge than even physical abuse. The cost of such a relationship is devastating. In Jamie’s case, she had separated from her husband for a while but when he asked if he could come back, classic to this type of abuse, Jamie ignored family warnings and her own deep seeded denial. Jamie once again believes that making a perfect home in a lovely beach town will enable the couple to make things work this time. What happens after this is eye-opening to readers and Jamie alike as reality hits home in more ways than one. From Jamie’s point of view, it took a long time for her to find herself and that was only after her husband was gone. I found myself very relieved at the end of the book but wondered what inner scars might Jamie still have left to deal with.

Jamie Patterson is a fine writer and she has courageously shared her story. It is one that demonstrates how emotional abuse can eat away at one’s spirit until they finally break. It is so hard to recognize but looking back, easy to now see how manipulative the other party can be. When Jamie finally came to terms with the fact that her life was centered on her husband, it was a very important step in her recovery. This is a book that anyone who is in such a deadly relationship, or knows someone who is, should read. Even if you are not, it is a fascinating story and one that leaves you thinking long and hard about the inner selves of people we think we know but perhaps do not, including one’s self.