Renée Cronin has written a story that may be sad for some readers and painful for others. The main character, Jeya, and her girlfriend, Rayne, represent the nuances of intimate partner violence in a lesbian relationship. Rayne is abusive and controlling. She’s a ticking time bomb that can explode at any moment. Jeya is hopeful and fearful of Rayne, a combination that leaves Jeya caught between promises and good sense. There were moments during the read that I wanted to kidnap Jeya and make her use the tools at her disposal to resolve her inner turmoil and leave Rayne behind. However, if Jeya had my level of insight, I would have quickly lost interest in her journey. Jeya is conflicted at times and mindful at others. She’s emotionally broken, needy…human. Cronin did a good job of expressing Jeya’s vulnerabilities throughout the story.
Despite of my frustrations with aspects of the narrative, I feel that Fistful of Love is a/another call to action for our community, inviting us to address the spectrum of intimate partner violence in our stories and real lives.