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Published by De Wallen Press.

I liked the cover.

That was the start of this reading experience for me. When will I learn?

I tried to like this book. It started off promising, but the truth is that if I hadn't committed to being a blog tour participant, I wouldn't have finished reading it. That said, I'm glad I did because it confirmed for me that this memoir is a testament above all, to the fact that sometimes abuse (unintended or otherwise) is packaged as love, and consideration. It's marketed as an unusual love story among many things.

I'm uncomfortable with so much of this book and it's not because I lack an open mind. It's judgmental. The author uses the term "unhinged" to define a person within the pages. A fact I found fascinating due to the author overreacting on a large scale to a cookie situation. In yet another scenario, this self-described optimist purchases a necklace for a sex-worker who he would like to interview for his book, only to toss the necklace in the river when she fails to show (assuming the worst), and then he repurchases the same necklace when their paths reconnect. These were only two of the multiple shining examples that reveal the difference between the author's self-image and the person his actions describe.

I cannot recommend this title. I can't encourage people to support dangerous behaviours. No, I'm not talking about paying for sexual services, or the ingestion of drugs with legal status. I'm more concerned that the author felt it acceptable to pressure Emma to share her traumatic past, acknowledging that she needed to be strong and even found it necessary to take a break from the conversation. He continues to pelt her with questions that are often loaded with negative connotations and yet more judgment. I was horrified that he describes this interaction as caring, love, bonding, when to me the scene was far more harmful and destructive and would have been far safer for the health and wellbeing of Emma, if it had been conducted with a trauma specialist within a safe environment. I am still in disbelief that what the author viewed as two human beings sharing an intimate experience is clearly and unapologetically his wrenching information from her for one sole purpose. His book.

That's ultimately the take away of this read. Harmful and horrible behaviour towards others, believing himself to be of higher moral calibre and thus experienced to "save" those around him. All of this, and more is somehow acceptable because it's all about the book.

There are many books that deal with Amsterdam. Read one of those. Read any of those. This book can't even be redeemed as a guide to Amsterdam since much has changed since the era within these pages some 18 years ago. I did like one thing. The cover.


P.S. I truly hope wherever she is, Emma has found happiness and peace in life.
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