Thursday, May 03, 2012

Review: The Breakaway

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The Breakaway
Michelle Davidson Argyle
Release date: May 1st, 2012
by Rhemalda Publishing

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When Naomi Jensen is kidnapped, it takes her parents two days to realize she’s missing. Escape isn’t high on her list of priorities when all she has to return to is an abusive boyfriend and parents who never paid much attention to her. For the first time in her life she’s part of a family—even if it is a family of criminals. But she’s still a captive. In a desperate attempt to regain some control in her life, Naomi embarks on a dangerous plan to make one of her kidnappers think she’s falling in love with him. The plan works too well, and when faced with the chance to escape, Naomi isn’t sure she wants to take it.

*A copy was provided by Michelle Davidson Argyle for review purposes*
Stockholm Syndrome:[noun, Psychiatry] an emotional attachment to a captor formed by a hostage as a result of continuous stress, dependence, and a need to cooperate for survival.” -Dictionary.com

This is not my first foray into this psychiatric syndrome and I find it fascinating to be honest. Developing feelings, or yet, falling in love with your abductor? Sounds impossible, right? Or at least something you can’t ever imagine allowing yourself to do in their situation. You’re too smart, too strong, you would have too much awareness to let yourself become “attached”. How ridiculous! This is how I used to think. Until I read my first book on the matter – Held by Edeet Ravel. Since then I am completely convinced that this could happen to anyone, easily. However, if this was my first book on Stockholm Syndrome, I’m not certain I would have had the same understanding.

These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims. […] strong emotional ties that develop between two persons where one person intermittently harasses, beats, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other” -Wikipedia

The circumstance in The Breakaway is not your ordinary kidnapping. Is there constant danger, threats, abuse? No. Naomi basically becomes one of them; living as a family with no feelings of true danger or stress. Sure, she is reliant on them and even a bit numb about the situation, but after the first little while, she lives a pretty relaxed, comfortable life. Even mentally she doesn’t seem to be incredibly distraught. Since her parents never cared for her, and her boyfriend beat her, she’s the happiest she’s been really. When I compare this to Held, where the girl was kept in an empty warehouse with her captor bringing her food when he could, it didn’t have the same intense feel I was expecting, where there’s a perpetual daily dependence towards the abductor. So this is all to say that yes, we’ve got a case of Stockholm Syndrome at its core, but I didn’t feel it truly did it justice. It simply felt as if a real relationship was growing in an atypical situation, instead of manifesting from an irrational dependency.

There is definitely some emotional dilemma happening inside Naomi. Did she really love her boyfriend? Does she miss him? Why don’t her parents care? It’s not your ordinary abduction, but it’s also not your usual teenage life. With no friends or family who care about her, being stuck in this house with this seemingly happy family who seem to genuinely like her doesn’t seem so bad at all. I did feel it went by rather quickly; since the book spans a whole year, we can skip weeks/months between chapters. Consequently, we don’t get incredibly deep inside her internal predicaments, but it’s definitely an intriguing situation that raises some questions. After a while, I didn’t even want her to try to escape. I, myself, got to really adore a few of her abductors. In this sense, Stockholm Syndrome was evidenced in her wanting to stay with this new family. As a longing for what she never had.

To flesh out these characters, there’s a lot of mystery regarding their lives, moreover, what led to this; what brought on Naomi’s kidnapping and what are their intentions. There’s a lot of background story that we learn about these people that helps us understand how this came about. These people are criminals, but every one has their reasons. The ending is bittersweet and satisfactory for a realistic conclusion to such a story. In the end, I can say that I quite enjoyed this book overall. It was much calmer than I expected, but I would easily recommend it for those who have a liking for psychological contemporaries.

3 Hot Espressos
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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.
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29 Responses to “Review: The Breakaway”

  1. Christina

    Interesting. Stockholm syndrome definitely is fascinating (much like serial killers), so you’re not alone on that front. It just boggles my mind how such intense dependence can lead to some warped version of love. I mean, I read a book this year where the woman married her abductor and then she helped him abduct more people. WTF?!?! This is even scarier because it’s believable. People really do this shit. AAAAHHHH!

    The subtlety of the abduction isn’t what bothers me. Actually, that can be really cool. I really was intrigued by the more subtle stockholm syndrome involved in books like Wither (this was one of the reasons I enjoyed it) and Magic Under Glass.

    I’m not sure that I’ll read this. What concerns me is that the circumstances just sound weird all around.

  2. Amy

    This sounds like an interesting story. I do like psychological books, so I might enjoy it. I find them really hard to read sometimes though especially if there isn’t a good understanding of the condition the character has. Thanks for the fab review chicky!!

  3. Giselle

    @Christina: Wow that marrying and abducting is really interesting and yes it’s truly believable! This one was more like… she finally found a sort of “family” with a mother figure who care about her, so why leave and go back to parents who don’t give a damn!? It’s definitely still SS to the core, but a very different take on it. She was hardly abused after the first week so she didn’t develop those feelings because of stress, more out of longing for what she always wanted. If you like books on the matter though you should def. read this one I would still recommend it!

    @Amy: It’s not hard to read at all, but you may not see Stockholm Syndrome for how irrational it really can be. It’s a much milder side of it. I think you’d like it, though!

    Thanks ladies!

  4. Christina

    Interesting. I’ll add it to my list then, although who knows when I’ll get there. I may already have more books that I want to read than are readable in a lifetime. I really need to learn how to speed read.

  5. Jasprit

    Great review Giselle, I was interested in this book as soon as I saw you reading it the other day. It’s a shame you didn’t enjoy it as much, but I will still check it out 🙂

  6. Nick

    Wow. This seems to be a very disturbing tale. I’ll have to check it out.
    Sorry, you didn’t like it as much as you wanted to.
    Thanks for the review, Giselle. 🙂

  7. glass

    I have to say that I understand you – I’m a bit freaked when it comes to this subject. I never know how to rate this kind of books.

  8. Jac

    This sounds like it’s not really my type of book, I think I’d really feel much the same way you did. Stockholm syndrome is fascinating, but I find it to creep me out to read about it…
    -Jac @ For Love and Books

  9. Mimi Valentine

    I love Michelle!! <3 She's just so awesomely sweet, and I've been wanting to read this book for a while now. The whole kidnapping ordeal sounds so bizarrely intriguing — it sort of reminds me of the movie Abduction in a way, which I totally love LOL x) You don't read many books where you actually grow to love the kidnappers!

    Awesome review, Giselle! Even if it wasn’t what you expected, I still really want to read this book because I want to know what’s so bittersweet about that ending! 😉

  10. Giselle

    Thanks guys! It’s really a fascinating subject!

    @Mimi Valentine: I know she’s super sweet! I hope you love it, Mimi! 🙂

  11. Mary @ BookSwarm

    I struggle with many “issue” contemporaries and don’t generally pick them up but Stockholm Syndrome has always intrigued me, just because you’ve got to wonder when the hate turns to understanding/like/love. Great review!

  12. Jenni @ Alluring Reads

    Well, this review made me really want to read Held! I’m also really interested in the psychological aspects of humans in dire situations. This one sounds a little unrealistic, and I would definitely be looking for a more gritty version. Great review!

  13. Danny

    This is a tough subject to write about, although I think it’s really promising – and also very emotional! I’m not so much into psychological contemporary stories but your reviews was absolutely great and made me think…

  14. The Literary Darling

    I just read the true story of Jaycee Lee Dugard, and it was heartbreaking. I don’t think she loved her kidnappers, but she was with them for long, and he was the father of her children, that she didn’t leave. They even went out in public together in the later years and she could have left, but she didn’t. It’s crazy. You tell yourself that it would never happen to you, but I don’t know. Stockholm Syndrome is a very real thing. Great review! I will have to check this one out.

  15. Rhiannon Frater

    Stockholm Syndrome was the basis for the bond between my vampires in THE TALE OF THE VAMPIRE BRIDE. The syndrome fascinating to read about and truly terrifying.Strangely, I think I gave some of my readers Stockholm Syndrome. Whenever the villain wasn’t being a dick, they thought it was a sign of goodness.

    This sounds like an interesting book. Adding it to my TBR list.

  16. Ikhlas

    Hmm, reading your review makes me a bit iffy about reading this one. Have you read Stolen? That was the first book about Stolkholm Syndrome that I read and I LOVED it. Couldn’t put it down.

    I will look into Held, though! This subject fascinates me.

    Great review! 🙂
    Ikhlas @ http://ikhlashussain.com/

  17. Candace

    This novel sounds really interesting to me. And that its more calm and not so intense actually has me more interested in it. Definitely a fascinating subject!

  18. Giselle

    Thanks so much, lovelies! <3

    @Rhiannon: Ooh you know, you’re right!! *shoots Vlad in the eyes* But yes it really is interesting to read about how easily this can happen!!

    @Ikhlas: No I haven’t read Stolen yet but it’s in my to-read list.. somewhere.

    @Jenni : It wasn’t unrealistic per say, just milder than what I expected. A different take on it you could say.

    @The Literary Darling: Wow that story sounds really interesting! Especially when it’s a true story. I didn’t know there was a book I’ll have to find it!

  19. Suzanne @ Paranormal Book Fan

    This is one that I thought sounded good from the first time I heard about it even though its not what I would typically read. But when I seen that you had only given it 3 expressos, I thought maybe not. But after reading your review, I still think I like the sound of it. With the characters/kidnappers well defined, I’d be interested in finding out what drove them to kidnap.

  20. Elodie

    I’m dying to read this book, I love the sound of it .. I’ve actually never read anything about the Stockholm Syndrome and that’s one of the main reasons why I’m so interested in The Breakaway. I’m glad you overall enjoyed this book Giselle : I won’t read it with too high expectations though .. =)

  21. Jennifer Messerschmidt

    I was super excited for this but sad to hear it doesn’t live up to Held. But that was a really great book as was Stolen. I feel like this one is more relaxed? I’m not sure what word I’m looking for but like you said more like she doesn’t feel danger or threatened at all. That is usually a big part of making the story intense.

  22. BookBreather

    I actually haven’t heard of this, but the idea creeps me out–in the good way! Even though it wasn’t your favorite, I’m still extremely interested in it. It doesn’t seem like you have any ginormous complaints, so that’s good. Great review! 🙂