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Book Review: House Rules by Rachel Sontag

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House Rules is a memoir by Rachel Sontag. She writes about growing up in a home with an abusive father, a doctor who is respected and loved in their community. Her mother is determined to have a perfect family so she tunes out the abuse, which leaves the author alone with her pain. Her overly critical father would spend hours late at night telling her what a terrible person she was, even making her write him letters of apology for being such a horrible daughter. Despite all of the hurts and humiliations, however, this isn't a story of self-pity but rather a story of courage and growth

Sontag tells an honest story of struggle and inner-conflicts; wanting the love of a father who has told her more than once he wishes she'd never been born. He would literally measure her fingernails and the length of her hair; he said exceeding a certain length would be considered trashy. Her dad has serious issues but she never figures out what caused his bizarre behavior.

I think many readers will related to this story and learn from it too. The author made brave choices that weren't always easy, she had to work several jobs and live with several roommates; but she found freedom and healing which made the struggle worth it. For so many in abusive relationships, it's the fear of leaving that allows the abuse to continue. The author demonstrates it's not easy, but getting away is possible; one just has to be willing to trade some security for safety.

As the author tells her story the levels of grief comes through loud and clear and the reader will be aware when Sontag finally reaches acceptance. "I know this subject matter is personal, I just didn't know how to live without sharing it." That is my favorite line from the story, I think pain has less power when it's shared and the author bravely bares her soul to anyone who reads this book. It's a raw look at a life that contains a truth that will resonate within readers who can relate to this story.

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About Ruthie

I'm devoted to animal rescue. I also work in internet public relations for TV personalities. In my spare time I like to sit on the sofa on my front lawn and watch the grass grow.
  • Christyk

    Just got done reading this book. It’s amazing how a parent can cause so much pain for their very own child! Love and forgiveness is the only way for Rachel and Jenny to be free. Thank God that Rachel wrote this book……it’s a healing matchure step to take. I would love for Rachel and Jenny to check out Theophostic prayer ministry…..an amazing way that God heals us through our childhood.

  • colleen h kennedy

    I hope the father is alive to read this book though he will not recognize or admit what a monster he was. It is beyond me how any parent could be so horrible to their child. I feel very sad for Rachel Sontag and pray she will find writing the book a great healer.

  • Smiley Miles

    This Book So far is amazing. I have not finished the book completely however, it is just amazing. It leaves you in awe, and you will not want to put the book down. I recommend reading this book!