I recently had the pleasure of reading Janine Latus’ book, and I must say it left a profound and lasting impression on me, like a handprint on my soul (bad analogy, sorry!). “If I Am Missing or Dead” is a gripping memoir that takes readers on an emotional rollercoaster, exploring themes of survival, resilience, and the power of the human spirit. It was both startling and achingly familiar, having survived DV myself…and I found this gem at Goodwill! What a blessing!

One of the first pages of the book has the following powerful quote: “Thou shalt not be a victim. Thou shalt not be a perpetrator. Above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.” — An Inscription at the Holocaust Museum, Washington D.C.

This quote really sets the stage for the entire book! Topics that I need to point out as *TRIGGER WARNINGS:* child abuse, intimate partner abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, mentions of violent acts. I thought that this needed to be formally mentioned, despite being key themes in the book.

Latus’s storytelling is nothing short of enthralling and gripping. She masterfully weaves together her personal narrative with raw honesty and vulnerability. Her prose is simple but effective, yet carefully chosen, making it easy for readers to step into her shoes and experience the trials and triumphs of her life right alongside her. The characters speaking and thinking parts are not differentiated, as with quote/quotation marks, so it does take the reader a moment to catch on. However, the way she delves into her own experiences and relationships is a testament to her courage, as well as her commitment to shedding light on important issues.

One of the standout elements of this book is its deep-dive exploration of domestic abuse. Latus’ candid account of her sister’s abusive marriage is not only a harrowing story but also serves as a rallying cry for awareness and action. She effectively sheds light on the complexities and nuances of such relationships, making it a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the dynamics of domestic abuse and the importance of supporting survivors. She is masterful how she jumps from her own abuse to her sister’s suspected abuse/mistreatment, and back again. Neither detracts from the other — in fact, it builds the tension effectively, making the reader shake their head in awe of what these women endured, separately and collectively.

Despite the heavy subject matter, the book is also a celebration of resilience and hope. It showcases the strength of Janine and her sister Amy as they navigate life’s challenges and ultimately find a way to heal. This book is a testament to the human capacity for survival and transformation, and it leaves readers with a sense of empowerment and hope. Sorry, not giving anything away, dear bloggies!

Janine Latus’ storytelling is nothing short of masterful. She captures the reader’s attention from the very first page and holds it throughout the book, thanks to her eloquent prose and captivating narrative. Her ability to turn personal tragedy into a powerful and moving story is truly commendable.

Thus, “If I Am Missing or Dead” is a thought-provoking, heart-wrenching, and ultimately uplifting memoir that sheds light on important social issues while showcasing the strength of the human spirit. Janine Latus has crafted a literary masterpiece that will stay with readers long after they’ve turned the final page. I highly recommend this book to anyone seeking an inspiring and thought-provoking read. It’s a remarkable journey of self-discovery, survival, and the enduring bond of sisterhood. What a testimony of love this book was!

NOTE: The National Domestic Abuse Hotline named their Direct Assistance Fund to “Amy’s Courage Fund,” in honor of Janine’s sister, Amy. Also, she has a writing retreat in North Carolina at the beach, that I am going to have to use some of my tax money on, I feel. I’ve included a TedTalk that Janine did, as she is also a moving speaker, so please enjoy that also!

This book is a MUST READ, in my humble opinion! Enjoy! Love and light! <3

Janine Latus’ speaking about, “We need to talk…”