Book about abusive husband and a wife who has to take dramatic measures to escape him. It became a movie with battered wife played by Julia Roberts.
The book is almost always better than the movie. NOT THE CASE HERE!
What is usually one of the better parts about a book is that you get to know what the characters are thinking. In this book Sara/Laura has a very disjointed thought process that is difficult to follow much of the time.
I also do NOT like that the Ben character actually thought about hitting her. NOT all men think that way and this book puts the blame for the men wanting to hit her on her shoulders. While I realize that it is 'normal' for abusers to work at convincing their victims that whatever they do is the fault of the victim, MOST MEN DO NOT THINK THIS WAY.
For suspense the movie was SO much better. The Sara/Laura character in the movie seemed much more wary and skittish, making her seem more realistic than the book character.
Someone who had lived with a violent abuser for several years would not have felt so comfortable so quickly (2-3 weeks in the book).
I did not enjoy this book, nor would I recommend it to anyone.
In Sleeping With the Enemy Nancy Price is a spell-binding writer who dodges every Hollywood cliché to write a real \"suspenser.\" In the movie Julie Roberts has only one man to run from-but the Sara Burney of the novel has three. Her husband, a controlling martinet, is the first man she must escape, but two other dangerous men wait where Sara tries to hide. They, too, want to make use of her. The boy next door wants sex. The professor next door, like her husband, distrusts women: he wants a servant so he can write his books.
She was trapped in a cruel, destructive marriage. A nightmarish prison ruled by a man whose striking good looks disguised his true violent nature. She was desperate enough to do anything to escape his abuse. Even fake her own death, assume a new identity, and run away forever. Now with a new life, a new love, she was happy.
Except for the she was hunted. Hunted by the man who once believed her dead. A man crazed with a passionate vengance. Who loved her so much - he'd rather kill her than to let her go.....
I saw the movie and it was excellent. It is about a housewife who is abused by her husband and the only way out is by faking her own death and disappearing. She assumes a new identity but she still lives in fear.
She is trapped in a bad marriage and then is hunted. She is on constant alert.
"She was trapped. Trapped in a cruel, destructive marriage. A nightmarish prison ruled by a man whose striking good looks disguise his true violent nature...
She was desperate. Desperate enough to do anything to escape his abuse. Even fake her own death, assume a new identity, and run away forever. Now, with a new life, a new love, she was happy. Except for the fear...
She was hunted. Hunted by the man who once believed her dead. A man crazed with passionate vengence. Who loved her so much--he'd rather kill her that let her go..."
I'm somewhat surprised that there aren't more reads and reviews for this book, as it was made into a poplar movie back in the early 1990s, I believe. That's probably how most people these days know it, actually. I saw and recognized it at the library a while back, so I requested it as a quick read while I'm essentially confined to the house.
It's not what I would call a pleasant read, actually, simply because of the subject matter, but it's a good story overall. I agree with several reviewers who have mused that it's a rare case of a movie being better than the book. I have to say, however: until about halfway through, I thought it was a rather superficial story. The characters never really became well-developed, but then more happened. In retrospect, this book is essentially an overall critique of women's relationships with different kinds of men... and none of them are really good - even in childhood. Sara's teenage brother, when drowning, rather than acting as a protective older brother who defends his sister, nearly takes the childhood Sara with him, which is metaphor: men, of all ages, irrespective of their relationship to women, drag them down to their ultimate destruction, a fate Sara barely escapes in childhood, only to fall into yet another pernicious trap, set by another scheming, clearly psychopathic man. The moral of the story is: there is no escape.
There were several things which kind of bothered me about the book, however: although I try to avoid comparisons with movie adaptations of novels, it's appropriate here, for the simple reason that the movie portrayed all the characters in far more depth, so it's useful to "translate" some of those traits to the novel. Movie-Martin and "Laura" were far more sophisticated - he wasn't a simple, working-class stiff/brute, as depicted in the book: he's wealthy, cultured, successful, admired by those around him, but superficial, carefully concealing his evil nature behind a veneer of charm. This clearly psychopathic cocktail makes him far more terrifying: you get the sense that he is meticulous, calculating, and relentless, which the book just doesn't convey. The book "Martin" seems to beat Sara just for the sheer fun of it, rather than lashing out from behind his carefully-crafted facade when he is unable to control himself, which makes him far more unpredictable and dangerous.
None of the other men in the book fall far from the tree, however, which is where the movie does lose points. Even the seemingly-innocent, wounded Ben is damaged and exploitative, and may, in fact, be a Martin-in-the-making. Upper-class, lower-class, young, old, educated and not, do all roads lead to Rome in the author's eyes? Perhaps she's attempting to illustrate that women can never really escape their ultimate fate, if they engage in any respect in relationships with men. Women, at least in the world she's created here, can never just "be." Their existence outside their sexuality cannot be, in the minds of men. Ben isn't really interested in Sara as a person, but just lusts after her with the ultimate goal (ulterior motive) of screwing. He leers at her breasts, even if somewhat guiltily so, constantly pushes physical and psychological boundaries in an invasion of her space that she's clearly uncomfortable with, just to see how close he can get to her without her reacting, and constantly and perversely forces himself into her life, if in a more covert manner than her husband, but his actions are still intrusive, and, ultimately, unwanted.
Frankly, Ben's really no better: he sees Sara as little more than a sex object, and admits himself that he hates the girl he lusted after and coveted in his youth, when she (in his eyes) spurned him and told him that she just wanted to be friends, wanted to be treated like a human being and not a potential lay. In both cases, the rather innocuous-appearing Ben resents women who don't respond favorably to his advances, like some seething, arrested-development InCel, which is clearly the author's point: Ben is one step away from becoming violent himself (to judge from many recent, real-life examples). He views women who don't fawn all over him or jump on his lap when he treats them with decency as a "tease," and states at one point, in response to Sara's question, "you don't want to live on somebody else's money, do you - let them tell you how to spend it?" His appalling answer: "No... but I'm not a woman." Well, then.
And, then there's the invisible threat, which doesn't make an appearance in the movie, but here is just as terrifying as Sara's murderous husband: the silent stalker, a danger unseen and unknown, who leaves sick, perverted notes and "gifts" at Sara's door, saying things like "you belong in my bed under me... I will make you beg." The message here is: women aren't even safe in their own home. The enemy is always at the gates. There's no safe space from perverted, licentious men who seek to consume them, possess them, and use them like a chamber pot.
Another thing which struck me as odd, however, was that the author overtly sexualizes Sara, which seems out of place for a novel of this type, in light of the subject. Don't know if I would make the argument that the book is inspiring for those in a similar situation and would give someone courage to reach or or take action. In sum, it's essentially a statement of futility, that there's no escape for a woman in a world of men, as the latter are all exploitative and abusive, in their own way. Even the end isn't really satisfying, as there isn't any resolution. The threat lingers: the ultimate message is that there's always another out there, lurking, unknown and unseen, which is an unsettling thought.
This book was made into a movie and starred Julia Roberts. It is a powerful, chilling thriller about a desperate woman that faked her own death and assumed a new identity thinking that she would disappear forever. She was hunted by a man who believed her dead. He was crazed and would rather see her dead than let her go. It moves quickly and has a suspense filling climax.
This is the book that the movie starring Julia Roberts was based on! A fun thrilling book to read.
I enjoyed this book even though it is a little different from the movie. I'm sure they "beefed it up" for Hollywood. Still a very good read.
Everyone's seen this movie. The book is always better. A suspenseful and fun book.
Trapped in a cruel, destricive marage. A nightmarish prison ruled by a man whose blond good-looks disguised his true violent nature...
Desperate enough to do anything to escape his abuse. Even fake her own death, assume a new identitiy, and run away for ever. Now with a new life, a new love, she was happy. Except for the fear...
Hunted by the man who once believed her dead. A man crazed with a passionate vengeance. Who loved her so much -he'd rather kill her than let her go...