A mother and daughter fight back from heartbreak
On the Ropes is the story of Louisa Isaac and her battle through separation and divorce and into single parenthood. Starting on 18th October 2003 and ending 10th January 2005 Louisa tells of her heartache and longing to hold her marriage together and of her journey to the realisation that divorce is inevitable. On the Ropes is an open and honest account of a woman’s struggles with what life has chosen to give her.
I waiver on my thoughts of this book. At first glance I found the cover a little flat and boring in presentation, being brown and lifeless. For me the journey starts with the cover, it sets my mood before I even open the first page. It is what calls me and invites me to pick up the book and read on, On the Ropes lost me in the first instance. The blurb on the back cover lost me in the sense of the size of the font being small and the colour making it difficult to read. I also felt the blurb was too drawn out and lengthy.
I found On the Ropes a little slow at the beginning and kept wondering why Louisa Isaac felt the need to tell the world about her divorce. Written in the context of a memoir to her daughter I tended to feel it was a personal recollection that should have stayed between her and her daughter. The first half of the book seems a little flat and missing that special something that books usually contain to build the readers intrigue and intensity. Louisa writes well, with flow, easy readability and sense, but for myself she lacked the magic that entwines me with the characters. As a woman who herself has gone through divorce, and the loss of a child, I would have liked to have been able to relate to Louisa more and to the situation she had found herself in. Instead I wanted to complete the book so I could move on to the next. But then maybe, unbeknown to myself, Louisa had tapped into something that was familiar and, although I have very much moved on in life, is still raw within.
Books are a personal journey. For Louisa Isaac On the Ropes is her personal journey and with this she has written with her and her daughter in mind, leaving the reader behind. On the Ropes frustrated me. At times Louisa shows too much desperation toward the need to save her marriage. I understood the underlying messages of her love for her husband, although sometimes I questioned if it was just a fear of being alone, but I wanted to yell at her and tell her she was worthy of more than a man who really did not want her or appreciate her or their child. In a sense this is the way that I connected with Louisa and the other characters in the book but it made for tough, stressful reading that at times lead to me wanting to put the book down and walk away.
There are positive messages within On the Ropes. As the story progresses the reader sees a bond and understanding develop between mother and child. The ‘everything will be ok’ unwinds, the realisation that the lessons learnt are those that will not destroy them but help them grow stronger. On the Ropes shows how divorce effects not only those immediately involved but the extended family unit and how by joining together, opening communication and understanding all can get through and out the other side with sanity and emotions intact.
There are the sad moments. The loss of Louisa’s unborn baby at 37 weeks gestation leaves you feeling deflated and a sense of loss for the family. Those who have not experienced the loss of achild will be left wondering how any woman can cope. Those who have lost will understand the emotions Louisa goes through at a time that emotions are already flowing.
On the Ropes left me compassionate to what Louisa Isaac has been through in her life and sad that any woman has to experience it in the first place, but frustrated and annoyed at the same time. I ended the book with the numb ‘it was just a book’ feeling and was more than ready to place it on the shelf and begin another. My recommendation for On the Ropes is give it a go. It is an easy weekend read that will fill in the hours.
I could have sugar coated my review on this book but feel balance and honesty is always best when recommending to others. On the Ropes is not a terrible book, it just did not grab me in the places I like a book too. You only need to look online for many positive reviews about On the Ropes, with others saying they were ‘unable to put the book down’, ‘Louisa weaves her magical story’ and ‘It made me cry, laugh and sometimes both at the same time’. One reader speaks of the book being that of a ‘private matter’ saying that no details are spared. For me I think this was the issue at hand. On the Ropes is written very much as a ‘private matter’ that gave me the feeling of that of airing the dirty laundry. Divorce and the loss of a child is very much a topical issue that affects many in today’s society and should be shared and talked about but the angle used in On the Ropes left me feeling as though I was snooping on someones personal life, their memoir to their daughter. The vast array of online comments shows that there is a uniqueness and individuality in readers that makes it hard for an author to please all, Louisa Isaac has shown she has hit a cord with some.
Above all well done Louisa Isaac for having the courage to share your story. At no time did you belittle or speak poorly of your ex, something many woman would love to do. You showed compassion and a sense of deep love and understanding. If On the Ropes is to help just one person then it has achieved its goal and found it’s place in the crazy world of literature.
Available online: www.palmerhiggsbooks.com.au
Available online: www.palmerhiggsbooks.com.au
review: Jennifer Deaves