I think it’s safe to say that I loved this book and hated it in equal measure. Loved in the sense that I was hooked from only a few pages in that is, not loved in the sense that it’s a book I’d want to read again anytime soon, or one that I’d ever consider giving as a gift to one of my friends.
Into the Darkest Corner is quite frankly a terrifying book, and it contains some truly horrific and disturbing scenes. But it’s also a necessary book, one that anyone who’s ever uttered the immortal line “But why doesn’t she just leave?” should be made to read, and read again, until they finally get it.
It’s a story about obsession; about stalking; domestic violence; rape and abuse. But it’s also a story about one woman’s determination to fight back, to not allow her history to define her or to determine her future.
Catherine’s story is split into two parts: there’s the part that begins in 2007, where Catherine is suffering from debilitating OCD and PTSD, to the extent that it can take her hours to get out of her flat in the morning and hours more to get back into it at night, thanks to all the checks she has to go through to ensure that all of her doors and windows are secure and that she is safe. And then there’s the part that begins in 2003, where Catherine is a carefree fun-loving young woman who goes out clubbing with her friends on weekends, one who would never pass up the chance to go out partying with her mates.
As the chapters alternate between the two narratives and the two completely different versions of Catherine, we gradually come to learn what turned the 2003 Catherine into the even-scared-of-her-own-shadow one of 2007. We also get an insight into the life of an abuse victim/survivor, and a chilling glimpse into what it means to be not just physically abused, but mentally/psychologically tortured as well.
Into the Darkest Corner is a gripping read and an important and powerful book: I couldn’t put it down once I’d started it. It’s well written, and the author’s knowledge of the issues surrounding domestic violence shines through. But it’s not a book I’d recommend to anyone who might be triggered by graphic descriptions of abuse, or to anyone looking for a light easy read: Into the Darkest Corner is anything but that.