Title: The Places I’ve Cried in Public
Author: Holly Bourne
Genre/Themes: Young Adult Contemporary, Teenage Relationships, Emotional Abuse, Toxic Relationships, Mental Health, Gaslighting, Verbal Abuse, Sexual Abuse
Blurb from Goodreads
Amelie loved Reese.
And she thought he loved her.
But she’s starting to realise love isn’t supposed to hurt like this.
So now she’s retracing their story and untangling what happened by revisiting all the places he made her cry.
Because if she works out what went wrong, perhaps she can finally learn to get over him.
Without a doubt this book is important. I want to thrust it into the hands of every teenage girl ever and into the hands of many adult women too.
The Places I’ve Cried in Public chronicles the relationship between Amelie and Reese. Amelie is new in town and falls hard for dazzling Reese… but there is a darker side to Reese, an abusive side.
And so the book opens with Amelie in the present crying on a bench trying to figure out how she got to this place. How she has become the girl who cries all the time. How she has lost that person she once was; that person with friends, passions, interests..
Holly Bourne uses a flashback narrative to help present time Amelie piece together her memories and what unfolds is a heartbreaking tale of emotional abuse, gaslighting, verbal abuse and sexual abuse.
We see how Reese’s toxic and abusive behaviour was masked because of his insistence that Amelie was the love of his life. How his grand gestures were meant romantically… even if Amelie’s gut was saying otherwise.
We see how she began to ignore those gut feelings and found herself lost inside this want, this craving his love and attention.
We see how she began to believe him. Believe that she was crazy. Believe that she shouldn’t have any other friends. Believe that he and his needs and wants were more important than her…
It’s tough stuff to read about.
100% this book is dark. But it’s eye opening.
And most importantly it’s hopeful too. Because immediately after each flashback is present time Amelie dealing with these events. Learning to identify that what she thought was love was in fact abuse. Nothing is romanticised. And so she quietly works through her trauma with her therapist and eventually comes to a place of acceptance and forgiveness of self…
Look I could get picky about this book and bemoan some of the flatness surrounding the traits / characteristics of the supporting cast of characters. And yes it’s a bit on the perfunctory side prose-wise plus it’s written more as an important message book rather than a novel per se…
But that ending floored me. Bourne saved her best writing for the ending and made this truly a brilliant and thought provoking read.
Other Works by Holly Bourne I’ve Reviewed
- Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes?
- Floored (contributing author)
- How Do You Like Me Now
- It Only Happens in the Movies