MANIPULATED LIVES by Helene Leuschel
The author of Manipulated Lives studied journalism and communications but one would think she had a PhD in psychology. In this collection of five short novellas with a common theme, she has created true-to-life scenarios of how people are manipulated by others. I am certain you will recognize someone you know.
She captures our interest and raises our awareness of these occurrences with characters we have all met at some point in our lives as we sadly watch them become victims of manipulators—often by those closest to them acting in the guise of love. Or worse yet, we might recognize ourselves as having been the manipulator in someone else’s life. These stories may cause you to squirm a bit.
The writing is skillful as she draws us into the story much the same way the character is drawn to the manipulator, a seemingly innocent and believable attraction that slowly deteriorates into something unmanageable and quite twisted. I found myself cheering for the main character to become aware of what was happening in their lives and to run—to run quickly and not look back.
I think it was quite masterful that the author carried out this theme with such a variety of characters, some young, some old, some vulnerable desperately seeking love and acceptance while others seemed confident and not likely to fall prey to such manipulation, yet they do. Is anyone safe?
These stories, though short, pack a powerful punch. This book would be an excellent book club choice with its thought provoking situations. Holly’s story would be an especially interesting assignment for teens.
Someone said the sign of a good book is when you continue to think about it once you are finished. It certainly has me thinking!