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{May 14, 2014}   {Review} Grip by Nina Hamberg

GripFrom Goodreads: Set in San Francisco in the 1970s, Grip: A Memoir of Fierce Attractions is the true 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 forms one disastrous relationship with men after another. Ultimately, Nina Hamberg finds her real battle is an internal one. She has to bond with a different kind of man and allow herself to be vulnerable. Winner of the Maui Writers Conference Rupert Hughes Award and the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association Book Award for “Best Memoir,” Grip reads like a novel. It is by turns riveting, funny, poignant and wise.

Hamberg has woven a memoir with wide appeal. She traces her emotional journey while providing such fast-paced action that reviewers call Grip a page-turner.


This is the true-life account of Nina Hamberg, a woman who experienced violence at the hands of others, and though she struggled, did not allow it to ultimately define her. Beginning in her teenage years, Nina learns true fear and doubt when a stranger breaks into her house in an attempt to rape her. Though she defends herself, both a physical and internal scar remain—an outward reminder of her trials and tribulations of that night, and an inward reminder of all those around her who did nothing to help. From the police who didn’t take her call seriously to her very own mother, who tried to brush it all under the rug, Nina found herself alone and ashamed, and through this memoir, she bares her soul as a way to finally lay her demons to rest.

Abusive relationship after abusive relationship, Nina struggles to remain in control, and watching her spiral downward, only to finally come out on top, was harrowing but rewarding. Though I don’t usually read memoirs all that often, I found Nina’s story to be one that kept my attention, especially with its ups and downs. This is a triumphant tale of survival, and though Nina experiences many hardships, her memoir is one that teaches readers a lot about what it is like to live a life haunted by a traumatic experience. Three stars.

3 stars

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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