Goodbye, Sweet Girl: A Story of Domestic Violence and Survival

Goodbye, Sweet Girl: A Story of Domestic Violence and Survival

“It is a hell of a thing to write about brutality and suffering with strength, grace, generosity and beauty. That’s precisely what Kelly Sundberg has done in her gripping memoir about marriage and domestic violence. Sundberg’s honesty is astonishing, how she laid so much of herself bare, how she did not demonize a man who deserves to be demonized. Instead, she offers a portrait of a broken man and a broken marriage and an abiding love, what it took to set herself free from it all. In shimmering, open hearted prose, she shows that it took everything."--Roxane Gay, author of Hunger and Bad Feminist

"In her stunning memoir, Kelly Sundberg examines the heart-breaking bonds of love, detailing her near decade-long marriage’s slide into horrific abuse. Sundberg shares her own confusions, fears and empathy for her violent husband, even as she comes to realize he will never change. This is an immensely courageous story that will break your heart, leave you in tears, and, finally, offer hope and redemption. Brava, Kelly Sundberg."—Rene Denfeld, author of The Child Finder

"A fierce, frightening, soulful reckoning—Goodbye, Sweet Girl is an expertly rendered memoir that investigates why we stay in relationships that hurt us, and how we survive when we leave them. Kelly Sundberg is a force. She has written the rare book that has the power to change lives."—Christa Parravani, author of Her: A Memoir

In this brave and beautiful memoir, written with the raw honesty and devastating openness of The Glass Castle and The Liar’s Club, a woman chronicles how her marriage devolved from a love story into a shocking tale of abuse—examining the tenderness and violence entwined in the relationship, why she endured years of physical and emotional pain, and how she eventually broke free.

"You made me hit you in the face," he said mournfully. "Now everyone is going to know." "I know," I said. "I’m sorry."

Kelly Sundberg’s husband, Caleb, was a funny, warm, supportive man and a wonderful father to their little boy Reed. He was also vengeful and violent. But Sundberg did not know that when she fell in love, and for years told herself he would get better. It took a decade for her to ultimately accept that the partnership she desired could not work with such a broken man. In her remarkable book, she offers an intimate record of the joys and terrors that accompanied her long, difficult awakening, and presents a haunting, heartbreaking glimpse into why women remain too long in dangerous relationships.

To understand herself and her violent marriage, Sundberg looks to her childhood in Salmon, a small, isolated mountain community known as the most redneck town in Idaho. Like her marriage, Salmon is a place of deep contradictions, where Mormon ranchers and hippie back-to-landers live side-by-side; a place of magical beauty riven by secret brutality; a place that takes pride in its individualism and rugged self-sufficiency, yet is beholden to church and communal standards at all costs.

Mesmerizing and poetic, Goodbye, Sweet Girl is a harrowing, cautionary, and ultimately redemptive tale that brilliantly illuminates one woman’s transformation as she gradually rejects the painful reality of her violent life at the hands of the man who is supposed to cherish her, begins to accept responsibility for herself, and learns to believe that she deserves better.

Title:Goodbye, Sweet Girl: A Story of Domestic Violence and Survival
ISBN:9780062497673
Format Type:

About Kelly Sundberg


    Goodbye, Sweet Girl: A Story of Domestic Violence and Survival Reviews

  • Roxane

    It is a hell of a thing to write about brutality and suffering with strength, grace, generosity and beauty. That’s precisely what Kelly Sundberg has done in her gripping memoir about marriage and do...

  • Rebecca Thomas

    I have taught Sundberg's "It Will Look Like a Sunset" in my composition classes ever since the essay came out. Every semester, the essay enables important discussions about abuse, agency, and craft. E...

  • Jane Eaton Hamilton

    Sometimes I want to let a book sit with me. I have to let it sink in deeply and observe how it feels in my tissues and bones before I write about it. First off, let me say that Kelly Sundberg is a cou...

  • Barbara Senteney

    I am not giving this book 5 stars because of the writing. The writing style is simple but surprisingly open and candid. I gave this book 5 stars because of the courage it takes to open ones whole life...

  • Kelly Long

    This is a very honest and open account of being in an abusive marriage. It's also a story of hope, strength, and survival....

  • Lou

    AbuseBrutalityIgnoranceAngerViolenceScaredCryingPainHurtFocusTruthNo quittingNever give upSurvivalStrengthCourageBraveryBreaking freeFreedomBe prepared to be sucked into the vortex that incorporate al...

  • Renee

    GOODBYE, SWEET GIRL is a vivid, beautifully composed memoir about Kelly Sundberg’s tumultuous marriage to an abusive man. The narrative evokes feelings of remorse, uncertainty, and later, empowermen...

  • Dawn

    I'm sorry, but I just didn't enjoy this book. I really wanted to. I thought I would. But I didn't. The opening is compelling and pulled me right in. However, as I read, the details really got blurry. ...

  • Marika

    Author Sundberg writes chillingly about being married to a violent, yet brilliant man and how she came to be with him. What is unusual is that she did not come from a dysfunctional and/or abusive fami...

  • Cheryl

    I really appreciate Kelly Sundberg for having the courage to share her story. Maybe others who find themselves in this type of situation or in the beginning or one will find the strength to get out. I...