If You Love Me is a brilliant book to question trust and what extend you would go to prove your love for someone.
The story is based on the relationship between Alice and her boyfriend called Joe. Alice as an individual you feel really sorry for as she is portrayed to have low self-esteem and is seeking approval regardless and would go to great lengths to get that approval. The sad thing is that she is quite vulnerable and attracts not very good men who would treat her right.
It looks at the relationship between Alice and Joe and how it unravels to lead to horrific emotional and physical abuse Joe buts on Alice. What gets me is the friends and family seem to accept it even though they come looking for Alice and then I don’t know just vanish again, even though the horrific treatment from Joe towards Alice. It is a pretty awful situation as you can only do so much but clearly power has a huge influence. It starts off with small things then spirals into a total loss of control.
Alice in the end loses everything and is left scared of life. Ok, Alice was not totally trueful with who she was meeting, who happened to be one of her ex’s, but she thought it was best because she felt she needed to end the affair with this man. She felt that past being dumped herself by her previous partner by phone was awful so she felt it was best to deliver the news face-to-face.
Therefore, you get the feeling she is just trying to do the decedent thing. Problem is Joe is untrustworthy. Leading him to find out and go to extreme lengths to manipulate Alice and even at one point getting Alice admitted into a psychiatric ward. The sad thing is that psychologists they saw Alice said that the reaction to Joe was extreme and over the top and that Alice clearly does not need to be in a psychiatric setting.
The whole over the reaction from Joe maybe down to the fact that Joe’s mum relationship broke down with his father at a young age due to an affair that his father committed.
But here is the thing Alice did nothing wrong, she never cheated on anyone, she never slept with Anthony after she met Joe. So, the extreme abuse was uncalled for and any level headed person can see that. But with low self-esteem and sleep deprivation resulted in Alice thinking illogically causing her to accept Joe’s behaviour and doing whatever he asked of her.
Then one day out of the blue Joe tells Alice to go to her parents’ house in Devon as he needs a rest and time alone. He then calls Alice at a later date and ends the relationship abruptly, again always having the control right to the end.
Then things turned worse for Alice she lost all her money, her home, job and life in London. She spend weeks in bed and basically went through similar experience of people who suffer with post-traumatic stress disorder.
She has not been to the police which is sad because of the threads of power Joe has over her. She has to change job because Joe is in similar job environment.
The sad think really is the injustice of Joe getting away with it and potentially treated another person in similar way.
Alice has to totally rebuild her life whilst Joe is doing well and moving further up in his career. Alice now has to change her job and start at the bottom.
With help from friends and family she is slowly rebuilding her life. But due to NHS waiting list as she now cannot afford private therapy she has to battle for months with the mental torture that has been inflicted by Joe.
After reading this you feel angry but afraid for the next victim of Joe’s. You hope that justice is met and does get you thinking politically about the rules within the criminal justice.It is really emotional read and a page turner but be warned it is not for the light hearted.