Carter and Tawny have a story to tell – but you won’t like what they have to say.
Follow as they each get their turn in this coming-of-age tragic story about love gone wrong.
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Like my fellow Dirty Girls said it would, this book gutted me. I was in the mood to read something dark that would rip me apart and make me feel all the things. I wanted it even. However, I was completely unprepared for what this book did to me. Trigger warnings, this book contains domestic violence and rape.
The first portion of this bundled series is Whiskey and a Gun from Carter’s POV. At first glance, I felt extreme empathy for teenage Carter. His family has been physically abused by his father his entire life. He’s seen and experienced horrific things. I can’t even begin to imagine what that would be like. He meets Tawny and we see kindred spirits. They both have troubled backgrounds and are completely drawn to each other. I worry for their future because I can sense Carter’s anger underneath the surface with his clenched fists and bursts of outrage. Who will he become? We see quite early on who he will become. At 16% I was ready to DNF. It was so alarming to see inside the thoughts of an abuser. I was shocked and so angry. I didn’t have a single drop of empathy left for Carter. Especially after hearing thoughts like this after seeing his wife’s battered body “… the evidence of my love shows all over her body.”
The second portion is The Finish told from Tawny’s POV. The author does a brilliant job with this dual story. We get a few of the exact scenes from Tawny’s POV and then several other scenes to fill in the holes and provide further details of their tortured relationship. The book spans 10 years in their lives. Reading Tawny’s story did something to me. It made feel sad, distraught, fleetingly hopeful, numb, brutalized, and raw. It’s an amazing gift for an author to make you feel the story so deeply. It startled me when I felt bits of sympathy for Carter as seen through Tawny’s eyes.
Tawny’s thoughts destroyed me. This is a love story so tragic and flawed it will break your heart. Hearing how much she loves him and how she thinks she can change him was torturous. Early on she said, “He’s a broken man that needs me. Needs my love. I know that with enough love, I can fix everything inside of him that aches to be mended.” It’s hard to understand the thought process in an abusive relationship if you haven’t experienced it. This book makes you reevaluate and question things.
So often when hearing about domestic violence society asks, “Why did she stay?” I’m ashamed to admit I have asked this question in the past. Then I realized how extremely ignorant that is. I would never blame a rape victim. Why is it ok to blame a domestic abuse survivor? It’s not. It’s never o.k. I’m lucky in the sense that I haven’t experienced this personally, but I have family members and friends that have been through similar situations and this book hit on a lot of emotions for me. Mainly guilt. What more could I have done to help? One of the themes I picked up from this story is that if you see domestic violence or suspect it, please don’t stop asking questions. Please don’t stop trying to help and to provide a way out. I think too often women and men are left in these situations because other loved ones are exhausted from trying to get them to see the light. Can you imagine how exhausted the abused person must be? It’s unfathomable.
At the end of the day this was a harrowing read, but the writing was so beautiful and made me feel things I didn’t think possible. Any book that can cause all of this emotion and turmoil is worthy of 5 stars. Jade Eby is extremely gifted. I’ll be looking for her books in the future.
It’s impossible for me to write this without slight spoilers. So read at your own risk.
This story was brutal and powerful. It was ugly, but it was written with such truth and honesty I couldn’t put it down.
This book was way outside the typical book I read. As a warning–this book is about abuse. Anyone could be Tawny. And no one should be Tawny. She’s a young girl from the wrong side of the tracks with no parental role models. Carter is from a middle class family, but his home life is horrific. He experiences and witnesses things no one should have to endure. I couldn’t help but sympathize with him in the beginning. Who wouldn’t? These books tell the story of what that person becomes when that cycle isn’t broken. It tells the story about what happens when love overshadows the need for self protection. The way this was written was heart breaking and chilling. The first part, Whiskey and a Gun, is told from Carter’s POV. It is a novella that spans from their meeting in high school to beyond. The second book, The Finish, is Tawny’s story, told from the same time frame, but much more detailed. Her story reveals much more than what I originally thought was going on. I had such a sense of sadness reading both of these books. For Tawny, and for Carter. It was so real. Every emotion, every hurt that Tawny experienced felt like I was experiencing it. I wanted to yank her out of the book and give her a better life. This is a book everyone should give a chance. It’s intense and it sticks with you. You see inside Tawny’s mind, and you get an understanding as to why she didn’t just leave. The author, Jade Eby, did an excellent job writing this story, and making you understand how this happens and why Tawny stayed. I can’t tell much more without giving away major spoilers. Just know, yes, it’s tragic and gut wrenching, but it’s also thought provoking with a message of surviving.
About the Author
I’ve had my nose in a book or a pen in my hand since I can first remember.
Reading and writing have always been second nature for me. They are as integral to me as the air I breathe and the words I speak. I knew from a very young age that I would grow up to work with words in some capacity. I thought, perhaps I’ll be a librarian. No, a literary agent. How about a copywriter? But the entire time, my heart would whisper, “you’re going to be an author.”
I spent most of my youth and my teenage years with a book in my hand and wrote “stories.” (I use the term loosely as I wrote many. And many were thrown in the trash). I then went to the University of Northern Iowa and when a professor realized I wasn’t getting the proper writing attention I needed, he suggested I attend the University of Iowa to study under their prestigious writing program. So I did. I graduated in 2011 with my B.A. in English Literature and Creative Writing. I took a job as a Creative Writer at a top-notch higher education marketing firm in 2012 and just recently left to pursue writing full time.
In August of 2013, I released my first novel The Right Kind of Wrong and have since published Whiskey and a Gun (a prequel novella) and several short stories in the Back to Bad Series. Check back often for release dates and current books I’m working on.
My passion, dedication and perseverance have led me to where I’m at today. Happy, successful and living my dream every. single. day.