It might have been ironic or appropriate that I finished this book on Valentine’s Day. But regardless, So Much for Love: How I Survived a Toxic Relationship Sophie Lambada’s memoir is a very strong, humorous, serious, clever, delightful read. Lambda’s journey is inspiring, relatable, and thoughtful.
The amazing art that is both funny and powerful, gives the emotion of the words that are packed into fast-paced pages (it only took me two days to read, and had I started earlier in the evening, I would have probably finished it). Lambada balances the humor and seriousness well and the art shows this. While we see her Manipulator (she calls him Marcus, but I will not dignify this poopoo head with it), having one of his horrible, horrific outrages, you can’t help but laugh at the bulging eyes, the red face image she creates for him. Of course, we know this is less than an amusing situation and the making light of the scene helps cut the sting of things. But you are right there with her.
There are a lot of triggers in this book. Lambda shows you the progress of the relationship. Knowing the theme as we do, we can see the red flags, but of course Sophie does not want to. The first two parts are the honeymoon phase and the abuse phase. We see the triggers of Manipulator’s lies, his wording, his facial expressions, his actions (more than once he threatens to take his own life). There are possible triggers of alcohol use (both by the author and her conscience, Chocolat her childhood teddy bear, drink. And Chocolat is borderline alcoholic. Therefore, you can decide if Chocolat is the comic relief or really what was happening) and at least one scene of intravenous drug use (I am not sure if she exaggerated to make a point or had partaken, but it was obvious what was going on). There is also smoking (be in legal or illegal, I wasn’t sure). And a couple scenes could be triggers, such as we see how her physical health takes a turn because of the mental abuse. And at least one scene she is totally “zombie looking” with an eyeball hanging out.
And the final third of the story is the more technical aspects. We are given the book on the Manipulator. She breaks it down, so we are aware of what was happening in her personal journey. She is almost giving us a pamphlet of tips, clues, and solutions. She even explores her own responsibility in the situation. One of the most powerful scenes is how she says that the Manipulator did not force his way into her life, but she opened the door and gave him a seat in first class. And to help herself heal, she had to explore that (which she did with a trip to Italy and a 300-page graphic novel). This of course, is going to be controversial, but I related to this part more than any other as I had my own poopoo head and, I too realized, I gave him the reins and had to realize how to stop that for my own mental health.
Originally published in French as Tant pis pour l’amour. Ou comment j’ai survâecu âa un manipulater, this book is a must read for those having dealt with, dealing with, or have a loved one dealing with their own Manipulator. And while it is aimed at adults, I think strong teens (at least 14 and up) could read.