Dear Izzy
by Hannah E. Jones

"Sound your voice, Izzy. Be heard!"

Sarah falls in love and marries Cullen Aikens. His beguiling charisma sweeps Sarah right off her feet. Less than two years into their marriage, she gives birth to a daughter they name Isabelle (Izzy). A few months after Izzy's birth, Sarah begins to write love letters to her. The letters are designed to capture warm memories of Sarah and Cullen's marriage and their little family. But those amorous recollections begin to dwindle when Cullen takes on a Jekyll-and-Hyde demeanor that includes explosive vitriol and condescending diatribe. Fearing for her life, Sarah files for a restraining order. Amid a flurry of grueling situations over an eight-year period, Sarah determines that, against all odds, she will find a way to save their marriage.

Jones' fictional memoir-like debut lends a haunting verisimilitude to the realm of domestic violence. A balanced combination of journal and epistolary writing, Jones' first-person account relays one woman's agonizing journey through an abusive marriage. Opening with Sarah giving birth to Izzy, Jones' first scene zeroes in on the friction present between Sarah and Cullen. Yet Sarah's love seems to override their marital tension. As the plot progresses and Cullen's dysfunctional personality goes on full display, Jones doesn't mince words to describe the horrific emotional, verbal, and physical abuse Sarah endures. Scenes are not only tense, but also extremely maddening because of Sarah's stubborn denial to their marital issues. It is evident that Sarah is caught in a vicious codependent relationship, which she can get out of but she has to choose to go there. Jones breaks these nerve-wracking scenes with Sarah's letters, which offer a ray of hope to readers that Sarah may be headed in a positive direction in her life decisions. Yet only time will tell. Dear Izzy is a riveting and powerful work of literature not intended for the faint of heart.


Return to USR Home