by Martha Miller
In 1985, at the age of 38, Martha Miller is at a decisive moment in her life. Newly sober she realizes her marriage is coming apart. Addictions had just been masking a deeper issue–denial of her sexuality. Coming to terms with her attraction to women, she meets Suzie, a vibrant and fully out lesbian at an AA meeting. Within months, Miller’s husband moves out and Suzie moves in with Miller and her two sons. But where she expects to finally gain some contentment and live in peace, she discovers only more upheaval. Suzie has an unhappy past of her own and her dark moods will affect the family in devastating ways.
Over the course of four years, with Suzie as her live-in lover and guide, Miller will begin her writing career, gain a sense of self-acceptance, and find a community and culture as a lesbian. But her love for Suzie comes at a deep personal cost.
In this memoir, Miller explores the family dynamics and childhood experiences that led her to become mired in abusive relationships as an adult. She examines her life with Suzie where she is a woman on the verge, beginning to find her voice and come to terms with who she really is. She recognizes that her relationship with Suzie is poisoning her and her children’s lives, yet she agonizes over ending it. Who is she without Suzie? As Miller struggles to assert herself, Suzie pushes back. Finally, Miller will endure a terrifying violation that will allow her to break free of Suzie’s addictive hold.
This is a groundbreaking work that unflinchingly addresses the rarely acknowledged subject of abuse in lesbian relationships.
“I thought that being with a woman would be difficult considering other people’s ideas about homosexuality, but I also thought that living with and loving a woman would be utopia. That was my biggest disappointment.” — Martha