Rarely is an author capable of writing the voice of the opposite sex in a realistic, un-gender-biased manner. Doyle's Paula is heartbreakingly real, both as a character and as a woman. Abuse is a painful topic to read about, and the diary-like frankness with which we learn about Paula's life is brutal yet without self-pity. She tells the story beginning to end, with the love and fear, hate and happiness as it happens. The regrets are obviously there, but the underlying power of this woman who survives, after everything, just survives...wow. I'm a huge Doyle fan in general. While this is a departure from the hilarity of the Barrytown Trilogy, and is a heavier undertaking than Paddy Clark (which is another incredible book) it it a fantastic book and a highly recommended read.