Told from multiple perspectives, Stephanie Wrobel’s sophomore novel is a dazzling feat of sleight of hand. Delving deep into the subject of trauma and how it warps people, it examines the lengths some people will go to in order to overcome the phobias born of their pasts, no matter what the cost ... Despite the many clues Ms. Wrobel lays out for the reader throughout the course of this suspenseful novel, it’s hard not to be surprised by the audacious twists the plot takes as it navigates two disparate interior lives that are hopelessly and tragically intertwined. I do enjoy books that use the question of whether or not something is a cult as one of their main plot points, and I thoroughly enjoyed how this novel not only invoked that but turned it inside out to dramatic and moving effect. Whether offered by a cult or otherwise, it’s hard not to be seduced by any practical plan to conquer fear, to fully embrace life and one’s own potential. But limits exist for a reason, as Ms Wrobel so masterfully shows in this wildly original, haunting novel of sisters and sacrifices.
... terrific ... Wrobel does so in such a clever and subtle way that it takes until the very end of the book for readers to put together all the clues of this puzzle ... deserves to be one of the most talked-about books of 2022.
... a psychological thriller that tackles themes of family, abuse, shame and the wellness industry. If you’re a fan of stories about cults, the underbelly of the self-help industry and family secrets, this one is for you.
Jumping from narrator to narrator and present to past, Wrobel explores themes of grief and guilt, and proves a deft chronicler of the language of trauma and recovery ... a tense psychological thriller with an eye towards larger themes.
... superb ... seamlessly switches points of view from current-day Natalie and Kit to the two girls enduring an emotionally abusive childhood in the hands of a cruel father ... Wrobel ramps up the terror by making the isolation of the island, accessible only by a 75-minute ferry ride, serve as a substitute for a haunted house, allowing This Might Hurt to be an unusual locked-room mystery. A clever denouement packs a blood-curdling punch.
This book starts off with a fantastic storyline and interesting, intricate characters but then gets messy once Natalie reaches Maine. There are several unexpected reveals that happened but the ending falls flat and the last half of the book seems to lose focus.
The story is told through each woman’s varying perspective and at different points in time, giving readers only glimpses of the truth, but at a pace that keeps them wondering what will happen next. Wrobel has honed her writing style even more sharply since her strong debut novel Darling Rose Gold (2020), and is again delivering her readers a 'ripped from the headlines' story. This Might Hurt contains moments and characters recognizable to those familiar with the NXVIM cult and its downfall, although the twists and turns are all Wrobel’s own, and will leave readers guessing until the very end.
It’s hard not to fall under the spell of Wisewood, or Wrobel’s mesmerizing, edge-of-your-seat storytelling. A deep dive into psychological abuse and manipulation and their long-lasting emotional and mental tolls; will certainly leave a mark.
Through flashbacks to a childhood and adolescence spent trapped in her abusive father's unhinged training regimen—one designed to purge fear and self-doubt from the girl and her sister—this third narrator's story quickly proves to be the novel's most captivating thread. Unfortunately, because neither Nat nor Kit shares her story with the same immediacy or intimacy as this counterpart, readers will inevitably feel a deeper connection to the long-unnamed woman. Once her identity is revealed, however, they'll be left to wonder if that wasn't the point all along ... A taut thriller that examines the twin legacies of trauma and grief.