Shooting Out the Lights: A Memoir
by Kim Fairley
She Writes Press

"By marrying Vern, I’d gone from vulnerable girl to mature woman…"

In this candid book, Fairley captures the tension and uncertainties of the early years of marriage. When the twenty-four-year-old author meets fifty-seven-year-old Vern, she is attracted to a picturesque life with the charming, mature man. Shortly after marrying, Fairley becomes pregnant. All is well until the son of Vern's old friend moves in. The author navigates the complexities of caring for the odd eleven-year-old Stanislaus (Stan), whose arrival disrupts and unsettles a new marriage and conjures up ghosts of her husband's past.

Stan's bizarre behaviors, accidental fires, and concerning treatment toward animals transform the happy honeymoon phase into turmoil. Vern and Fairley grapple with ailing health, pregnancy, and the inability to embrace each other's concerns over a child that isn't theirs. Additionally, Fairley feels trapped in the shadow of Vern's former marriage and realizes her husband's distraction by the living child is a deep-rooted desire to replace his son taken by gun violence.

Poignantly written, Fairley's memoir reads like a slow-burning thriller. She steadily probes the intricacies of loss and grief and the gravity of lingering, unresolved trauma. It also reflects the burdens and strains of maternity and the pressures to achieve an ideal marriage. Fairley chronicles hopes and despair as well as the reconciliation of her love for a man deeply impacted by tragedy. She is a keen observer of the before and after of events and how profoundly they shape everyone involved. The author carefully explores difficult themes, tackles the importance of understanding and accepting mental and physical health needs, and honors the legacy of her marriage. It is a story that resonates long after one finishes reading.

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