Echoes of Narcissus in the Gardens of Delight by Jo Robinson

echoes

This is a very well-written, engaging book with excellent information on how people with narcissistic personality disorder operate.  The characters and circumstances are fiction, but the information on malignant narcissism is accurate.

The story follows the experiences of Donna, who is trapped in an unhealthy, abusive marriage with Marco, a malignant narcissist.  This man goes out of his way to belittle Donna and make her believe she is inadequate and can’t make it on her own.

Donna meets some people who share her love of gardening and slowly builds a support system that enables her to get away from Marco. Donna’s story ends on a good note, but also leaves things open for different possibilities.  Donna begins to get her life back and wisely wants to give herself time to adjust and decide what direction she wants to go without rushing into anything.

The writing style flows smoothly, and it’s easy for the reader to relate to Donna (even if they haven’t had to deal with circumstances that are quite as drastic).   Marco is appropriately creepy, and I love that he gets his just reward.  Her friends are a bit quirky, but they are there to help and have good hearts.  They have had experiences similar to Donna’s, so they understand her.

The only thing I wonder about is that, although Donna’s story ends well, that won’t always be the case.  The author may not have been trying to say things will always turn out well. I do believe (and think that was part of the point of the book) that if someone in Donna’s situation gets help and builds a support system, the chances of the circumstances improving are better than if they hadn’t reached out for help.  Donna’s story is certainly food for thought.

With it’s combination of heartbreak, humor, friendship and overcoming adversary, Echoes of Narcissus in the Gardens of Delight is a worthwhile read and something I’d read again sometime.

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