The Land of Enchantment is a journey through a tortured romance, an emotionally abusive relationship, and a first love.
Leigh Stein walks you through what she saw at the time as a beautifully romantic love story. From suburban Chicago, to the New Mexico desert, to Brooklyn, Stein tells the story of how they met, started over across the country and moved on in a new city.
While in the relationship she had no idea it was abusive. Even admitting abuse to a doctor, it was suggested she needed to give her boyfriend a break. It took her years after it was over to understand it was abusive.
Her story is unique, because it is her’s and no two are the same, but also because as she spends years continuing to pull away from him, and as she continues to be pulled back in by him, he suddenly dies, leaving things unresolved.
What began as a look at how we grieve in today’s online all the time world, she found what she was writing was a different story. As she realized what the relationship really was, she couldn’t tell anyone, and admit the mistake she’d made in moving away from home with a man she hadn’t been dating long.
When I saw her speak at Women and Children First, she talked about the need to share her story because so often emotional and mental abuse isn’t viewed as real, or a painful to live through. With no visible signs of abuse, emotional and mental abuse is often not believed by others. The scars go far deeper and take longer to recover.
Stein doesn’t wrap the book up in the usual female memoir way, which I actually appreciated. The book is quick, traveling through time, and back and forth across the country, making you feel the rush of the relationship as you go.