Not Exactly Love: A Memoir by Betty Hafner
It was 1969, and all the rules were changing, when Betty, a woefully single French teacher on Long Island, met the handsome but edgy new teacher at her school, a hippie just back from Woodstock. His vitality opened up a new world to her—but when they married, his rages turned against her, and often ended with physical violence. Like millions of women who discover they’ve married an abusive man, Betty was forced to make daily decisions—to suppress her feelings or risk confrontation, to keep it secret or report, and ultimately, to live with it or leave.
Part memoir, part warm-hearted look at the ’70s, and part therapeutic journey, Not Exactly Love: A Memoir is an intense and inspirational story of a woman who grew from her experience
It’s 1969, on Long Island, NY, unmarried and single French teacher, Betty, meets a handsome new science teacher named Jack. He is an edgy hippie type guy and the couple seems to have a lot in common. He is handsome and charismatic, and Betty falls hard for him. His energy and spirit attracted Betty and brought new things and ideas to her. Her life seemed to have opened up and blossomed because of Jack. But Jack also had a bad temper, which was a warning sign that Betty reluctantly ignored.
It wasn’t until after they married that jack’s temper turned to rage and abuse toward Betty. Overtime the mental, emotional and physical abuse escalated to an unbearable intensity for Betty. Betty’s life became a living hell. She was forced to make difficult decisions daily. Should she stay silent, share it with others, confront Jack, report him. It was a daily struggle. A daily nightmare.
How long would she take his abuse? Why does she continue to stay? Will she ever gain the courage to leave him and gain her sanity and freedom back? Will she choose to live with him and his tangents and abusive nature, or will she leave him for good? Betty Hafneranswers all things questions in her wonderful personal account and memoir, Not Exactly Love.
Not Exactly Love is a poignant compelling story of one woman’s life in the face of abuse and how she finally gets the courage to leave. This is the true story of domestic abuse and the strength it takes to face up to it and get the hell out. Just like many women who are in the same situation, it wasn’t that easy for Betty. She had to, little by little, with help and support, gain the courage to leave.
Exceptionally written, Not Exactly Love, is an easy smart read. Betty is a refined, intelligent woman that handles life with grace and class. How she got herself into this situation, how she manages to survive it, and how she gets out is what this story is about. She tells how hard day to day life is with the manipulation and fear that is always looming. She tells of how she evolves and grows in her self-esteem and strength that had been previously stolen from her by her abusive husband. “Why do many, if not most, women stay in an abusive relationship—and how do they overcome the fear in order to leave? Betty Hafner’s memoir is a heroic study of a woman and her strong will, as well as a working guide for women who are also in an abusive marriage or relationship. Betty’s story will help give some women the strength and courage they need, as well as some clear insight and advice. I believe this book should be put into the hands of single young women so they can recognize the warning signs before it’s too late.
Not Exactly Love is set in the 1970’s. Things were very different back then. Women didn’t have the support that they do now. So it was especially difficult for Betty back then. But, what I also loved about it being set in the 1970’s, is that it took me back in time to a more easy simple life. I was able to reminisce with a smile on my face. Don’t get me wrong, this story is definitely filled with emotions such as anger, sadness, distress and ultimately hope, joy and victory. This is an inspirational read that readers can’t miss. It is, hands down, the best memoir I have read in a long time.
It’s a cautionary tale. Betty Hafner shows readers that domestic abuse is the silent tormenter, because she had to keep it to herself at first. Her courage to come out and get help and plan her escape astounded me.
Not Exactly Love is exceptional, heartwarming, engaging and poignant. It is written with eloquence and a beautiful prose that compels the reader to keep turning the pages to find out what will become of Betty. The ending was definitely satisfying and airtight.
I loved Not Exactly Love. It is one women’s horrifying account of domestic abuse, her intimate details of her inner life, and her courageous escape to freedom and a better life.
Chick Lit Cafe Gives Not Exactly Love 5 Big Stars
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