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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Inhale by Colleen Songs is the non-fiction shocking memoir of a woman who goes the distance for love only to find that by allowing James into the lives of herself and her two children, she has unwittingly committed herself to years of abuse, isolation, and degradation. A singer and songwriter herself, Songs delivers her story through an almost poetic composition, the beauty of her words standing in stark contrast to the ugliness of the situation she finds herself in. She is cut off from anyone who may be able to help, humiliated in public, terrified of the man she married who buries his insecurities in alcohol, prescription drugs, and the assaults he so comfortably uses to cut down his own wife. He rapid cycles through moments of tenderness that morph into gaslighting and, eventually, to anger once more.
Colleen Songs paints a damning picture of what her life was in her book Inhale. It is heartbreaking to read even as the words sing right off the page. James is repulsive in every way. This isn't even a depiction of his physical appearance, which Songs describes as slovenly, but only in that his character makes the transition of a fit man to one who has ruined his body with alcohol and hatred so much more apparent. There is a moment where my heart stopped as James puts a gun up to his wife's head and, for a fleeting moment, I worried that Songs' story was posthumously written with an ending of someone else's making. Like so many women with similar experiences, escape always seems to be inches from their grasp and Songs is not an exception here. Her jailer holds more than just her physical self bound to him. The control extends beyond the front door until her beautiful release happens before our very eyes...and we are once more shown the strength and fortitude of a woman even in the direst of circumstances. Very highly recommended.