Grip: A Memoir of Fierce Attractions

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Set in San Francisco in the s, Grip is the story of how a teenager fends off an armed intruder with only her wits, then goes on to become the toughest female martial artist in her karate school and an early advocate for women's rights. Yet in private, this five-foot fighter selects one wrong man after another, including a manipulative ex-con and a karate teacher with anger issues. Ultimately, Hamberg finds her real battle is an internal one.

She has to forgive a father who never fought for her before she can bond with a different kind of man and allow herself to trust and love. Her attacker left a physical scar on her, and in one chapter Nina relates the story of compulsively flashing this scar to people. She says, " how hungry I was for someone, anyone, to express outrage over what had happened.


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In the afterward, Nina writes about her experience writing this book: Suddenly, I wasn't telling a hero's story at all. I had to write myself as flawed, controlling, weak and lost. I had to admit great shame. They had to show my willing participation in our dance. Hamberg did just that, and that is a large part of why this book was so exceptional and so effective.


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  7. The reader gets the sense that the author is truly showing every side of the story, that the author is including every morsel of her experiences so that we, the readers, can understand the whole of her life as it unfolds. This book is gripping, mesmerizing, and written with such beautiful, blunt and heartbreaking honesty. I cannot imagine how it must have felt to write something so raw and release it to the world, but Mrs.

    Hamberg - again, I am so grateful that you did. It is my duty to inform you that I received a review copy of this book via the Goodreads First Reads program. Jul 01, Tara Chevrestt rated it it was amazing Shelves: This is a memoir..

    A Memoir of Fierce Attractions

    By wrong man, I don't mean men that leave the toilet seat up, have chronic bad breath, little peckers, or incredibly annoying habits, but men with violent tendencies. Ever heard the saying about how women choose husbands like their dads? The memoir starts with telling readers a bit about Nina's parents and their failed marriage.

    It goes on to chronicle an attack she received from a potential rapist at the age of This is a huge turning point and I'm not a psychologist, but I think it determined a lot of choices that Nina goes on to make. For full review, please click on the link: Dec 05, Zinta rated it it was ok. Grip has such moments to set the background. There is the abuse from two very self-centered parents, the father being physically abusive by shoving and hitting, the mother being emotionally withdrawn as many women are who have abusive partners , a brother who just seems cold.

    They shrug off the incident in a gratingly insulting manner. The would-be rapist is never caught. The setting is rich with potential to tell this story. She chooses one partner after another that treats her badly, cheats on her, uses her and generally treats her with utmost disrespect. I should be feeling pretty sympathetic by now, right?

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    Grip: A Memoir of Fierce Attractions

    I also understand that many of those who are abused become the next generation of abusers, as inexplicable as that seems on the surface. Women who are abused have a way of being drawn to abusive men, as if following a pattern until they have whatever is roiling inside them worked out, allowing them to break free at last. The narrator does show many of these typical behaviors.

    She can be emotionally stunted at moments, at others tosses her heart out with such abandon and stunning trust that it is bound to end badly. Indeed, the book as a whole tends more toward being a story of her sexual conquests and misadventures, giving credence to the theory that those who suffer abuse lose so much self-esteem that they then allow themselves to be treated like crap by anyone who crosses their path, and nowhere more than in the bedroom. Yet I felt no empathy. I saw no growth. Her fantasies center on being utterly submissive, even repeatedly releasing her would-be rapist to keep on doing what he did to her.

    In college, she calls herself a feminist, yet seems oblivious to her requirement of the validation of a man at every turn. All of which could be typical behavior for a survivor, yet the narrator never quite seems to make that vital connection. When she enrolls in a class for filmmaking, she is angered by the pornographic and demeaning films of her male peers, sanctioned and even encouraged by the male professor.

    Yet the film she produces is equally outrageous, with women pondering the violent deaths of men. Rather than embracing the power of a woman, she becomes one of those so-called feminists who merely emulate men and try to one-up them in their bad behavior. Never is that connection made that she is behaving no differently than the boys. Her sexual escapades are no different. As I read, I kept waiting for the narrator to have her a-ha moment. She mistreats her dogs, ending in the neglect and sometimes painful deaths of her pets.

    She allows herself to get screwed in the back of a car in daylight on a residential street with a little boy watching in amazement. She gets a job as a counselor for at-risk youth, telling lies about her qualifications to get the job, and treats the job with absolute disregard for the vulnerability of such youth, at that moment when they might yet be rehabilitated before becoming career criminals.

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    No wonder our juvenile system is falling apart … No a-ha moment. No process of evolvement. The narrator just seems to be telling her story of being blatantly abusive herself without ever connecting the dots. There is almost a light tone of bragging when it comes to her conquests and betrayals—of herself, of her gender, of humanity. When the story finally ends with a happy second marriage, I am all out of empathy.

    Grip: A Memoir of Fierce Attraction

    If there was a reason for all of this, by the end of the memoir, it is very nearly lost. If one has abundant reason for behaving badly at first, at some point it is time to take responsibility, take a hard look in the mirror, and understand why one does what one does—and stop it.

    Without that lesson learned, the memoir hardly has purpose or message. One other thing puzzled me as I read this memoir.

    When Georgia Howled: Sherman on the March

    I understand this is a new trend, as technology has allowed people to blip out ads on their phones and televisions, and so marketers are looking for new ways to publicize their brand. On page 18, the narrator as a young girl is brushing her teeth with Crest. On page 37, she drinks Lipton tea. On page 38, a Librium gets popped.

    On page 41, absolutely everyone in the neighborhood is driving an Oldsmobile.

    Review of Grip () — Foreword Reviews

    Either the narrator has a remarkable memory, or the reader is left wondering how much of this copy is manufactured. Sep 18, L. Olteano rated it it was amazing Shelves: God, how I loved this book! I had a feeling I would totally be nuts about it from the first moment I held it in my hands. But then I finally got the book, and as I was holding the packag God, how I loved this book!

    But then I finally got the book, and as I was holding the package, I decided to hell with making my way home, walking my way back, crossing streets and so on was done on auto-pilot. I just ripped the package like a savage and shoved the remains in my massive purse, and just started ogling the book. You know what happened as soon as I saw the cover? I went like and I grinned like some mad woman my whole way home, stealing a read now and then, here and there, and not for a moment letting go of the book from my hands.

    I knew it right then and there, this was going to be a memorable memoir read. I guess I just needed the velvety companionship of night to go into it; and when night came, I began my read. I had this terrible sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach for the first 40 or so pages, culminating with me crying around page Somewhere around page I felt the need for a breather. So I put the book down until morning, when I consumed it with ardor.

    By the end I was grinning like a mad woman again, and I put the book on my bedside table-thing. I keep glancing at it, reaching over and running my hands over the cover now and then. My book savior, infallible. Just incredibly well written emotion and feeling. And just look at that cover!! Jan 21, Sahina Bibi rated it it was amazing. Long overdue but still a review that I've had trouble writing, simply because it's hard to describe the profound effect that this book had on me and how real it was.

    I was contacted by Nina to read and review her book and she kindly sent me a copy over and while it's been ages since I posted a review, I've always had this on my "to be posted" list, as soon as possible and I have finally gotten around to writing the review for this in the hopes it does the book justice.

    The book is a memoir, and Long overdue but still a review that I've had trouble writing, simply because it's hard to describe the profound effect that this book had on me and how real it was. The book is a memoir, and while I specified that I don't do anything outside of fiction books, I made an exception for Nina's book, simply 'cause she took the time and initiative still to contact me and the story intrigued me - and I'm glad I gave this book a chance.

    Dark and at times disturbing, this book definitely has an edge to it, but you can't help but continue on this amazing journey that Nina's flowing writing takes you on. The plot is based on her true encounters and woven deep into the plot are issues that I think people need to read more about, concerning independence, confidence, change and a brutal honesty and story of finding ones true self - you won't be able to catch your breath when reading Nina's story. She brings to life her experiences, with gritty and realistic writing that leaves you amazed at the powers of sheer human will and dedication.

    I read in another review that "strength is not the absence of vulnerability and feeling safe takes more than just a self-defence class. Despite her feminist views, Nina finds herself still in the grip of her own sexuality -- whether it is to use it to her advantage or disadvantage. This isn't just a book for women. The feelings of powerful emotion aside, the book was definitely one that you couldn't put down.

    I started reading this a few weeks ago during my Christmas break and hadn't been able to put it down since - and whenever I did, I was always itching to pick it back up. No it's not the kind of story that will keep you laughing from page to page, but instead it's one that, aptly, will keep you gripped within the powerful narrative of the book and the flow of ideas and emotions.

    The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. This will subscribe you to all of our newsletters, announcements, and promotional content. For more control over what you subscribe to, head on over to our subscription page.

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