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Spotlight on Leave Him? by Denise Reid

This week's Spotlight is on Denise Reid who wrote a memoir, Leave Him? Do read on about how and why Denise wrote this memoir. 

Denise Reid on the web:

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1. Why did you decide to tell this story?

After hearing the outline of my great-grandmother's story in my childhood, I became mesmerized by the fact that she claimed to hear from God and that she, as a woman in the early 1900's, had the courage to leave her abusive husband. I felt her silent strength deserved recognition. I had planned on just telling her story as a historical novel, but about four years ago I felt strongly that I should include my own story, as scary as self-revelation to the world is. 

2. Was there any specific factor holding you back from telling this story? 

The telling of Ella Mae's story was something I could get excited about; telling my own was not. The thought of honestly revealing my deeds as well as my thought processes that led to my leaving my first husband terrified me. It took me two years to find the courage to begin my first draft. The factor that finally caused me to begin was thinking about others who might read my story and not feel so alone.
3. Apart from your own story, you also wrote about your great grandmother, was there much research needed to get to her life events? 

Ella Mae & Harvey Pate
I gathered much of my information through interviews with my grandmother, Ella Mae's youngest child. We talked for hours of her childhood, her grandparents, and what it was like growing up in rural Georgia. She also shared with me what she knew about her father; she met him after she had married. She told of his head injury obtained from falling from a tree as a child and attributed his abuse to that. I was also given letters that my grandmother had saved. Those yellowed, fragile sheets of paper contained puzzling admonitions for my great-grandmother from fellow church members. After my grandmother's death, I still felt that I needed to know more about Harvey Pate, so I began to search to see what I could find. Through census records I uncovered that Harvey had been an inmate at Milledgeville State Hospital. No one in the family knew that. I'm sure it was hidden because of shame.

4. What do you want people to take away after reading your memoir? 

The main thing that I would hope for my readers is that they would feel that they are not alone as they face the hard decisions of their lives. Not only are there others who have gone there before, but that there is no one thing that a person can do that counteracts the grace of God. There is always hope. 

Four generations apart, two spiritual, married women stop pretending everything is okay, drop the mask, and do the unthinkable—they leave him.

In Leave Him? the wife of a cancer survivor, dares to admit what the disease stole from her and her children. Spiraled into a world of doubt, fear, and depression in the midst of her darkest hour an unlikely hope arose in her. In parallel, the story of Ella Mae Pate reveals a journey of an abused wife at the turn of the 20th century. Her stubborn stand for independence against violence inspires. 

This memoir resonates with the secret doubters, those angry with God— the ones tired of pretending. It is for those who dare to be real. It is a story of trudging through the muddiness of life and finding peace, sometimes without answers— knowing you are not alone.

Buy on:

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  1. Powerful, poignant stories. Which need to be told. Congratulations Denise - and thank you.

  2. Sounds most interesting, and a gripping background too.

  3. Wow...I am so in awe of your bravery!
    And thank you so much for writing your beautiful and moving story...I know it will inspire a great many other women to find the courage to change their lives for the better!
    Wishing you the very best of luck...😊😊

  4. So pleased I read this ...
    Thank you.

    All the best Jan

  5. Powerful and very meaningful!!
    Congrats Denise!


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