Dec 9, 2016

Manipulated Lives – H.A. Leuschel

Published in 2016 and written by Belgian writer Helene Andrea Leuschel.

Manipulated Lives is a compilation of five stories of five different people playing either the manipulator or the victim roles and the consequences that come along with them. Each narrative portraits a very frequent and devastating episode in which a self-centered subject takes advantage of a weaker one who doesn’t know how to handle a certain situation or is simply trapped in a precarious position that won’t let them react accordingly. Accurately these novellas are true examples of what really happens in everyday life, and some of which we will be always dealing with.

Even though this book is presented as a novel I would say it is quite realistic and it must have required a lot of attention and study of the human behavior and its psychological features to put it down so precisely. If you’re the type of person who has a hard time accepting injustice in life this reading might result somehow provoking. Let’s see why:

My score:

The Narcissist
An old guy lying in bed at hospital room pitying himself for being immersed in such a miserable state. At the very beginning you feel sorry about the poor thing abandoned and neglected by all his family and friends. However, as the story advances it becomes obvious why this guy was left aside by others, including his own daughter. The narcissist is simply that, someone who spent his whole life satisfying himself and using others for his own benefit. I liked the fact that his daughter made it clear to him what a nasty person he had been and how he deserves to be all alone to say the least. In fact I met someone like that, but unhappily his children were so influenced by the Catholic religion that it never dawned on them that they had the right to reject such mistreatment, so remained faithful to their father till his passing. Therefore he never knew how cruel and abusive he was to his wife and children, and no lesson was learnt at all... what a waste...

Runaway Girl
This is the typical teenage story of a girl who falls for a boy in high school. As it usually happens she would do anything to get his acceptance and he wouldn't hesitate to take advantage by making her do everything he wanted her to. I guess everyone has had this experience at some point of their life and hopefully has learned something from it; some people even need more than one exposure to see the truth. However, in some way this story had a happy ending.

My Perfect Child
This one really caught my attention, perhaps because is one of the most common situations a high school teacher like myself has to witness every single day. Parents, particularly mothers, are usually too blind to see how their children actually are. I’ve had a thousand opportunities to see how pointless is to carry out a parent-teacher meeting, since very seldom a parent is willing to hear what the teacher has to say about their child’s conduct. Most parents trust their children no matter what and they would never believe how abusive and bully their offspring can be towards other kids and teachers. This story introduces a mother who made a fool of herself by blaming everyone else for her own faults instead of setting up rules to properly raise her child. This character perfectly reflects the circumstance of a great number of people who are not ready to assume such a commitment as parenthood.

These novellas summarize what takes place day after day at some extent or another and at any place. Manipulators coexist with us all the time or maybe we’re one of them. It is hard to identify their influence since their abuse increases so gradually almost imperceptibly, just as depicted in the book, that we become aware of the harm at times too late. I guess victims are individuals with very low self-esteem and are subconsciously afraid of losing someone they consider important in their lives.

I liked the way the author forged her characters; and how she makes you think and question through their convincing and deceitful personalities; just as in real life it is difficult to identify the plotter at first glance and even a while beyond that. The stories contain lifelike arguments that truly make you ponder about people around you and still more make you wonder if you have somehow influenced others for your own good.

In this book we get to know the victim's perception, though I’d like to know what the abuser's position is, I guess it might be a psychological disorder that lead them to believe they’re above the rest and they deserve a better consideration; narcissism as pointed out by the author. We all know that not all bullies are extreme like the ones described in this work, though we're familiar with people who coax others in more subtle ways, but still their reckless behavior obeys to the same abusive pattern.

This is the first book I read of H.A. Leuschel, and I'll certainly be checking out more of her work.


  1. Dear Edna, Thank you so much for your astute and very insightful comments about my book. It means an awful lot to me to read your thoughts! I am currently writing my second book and will make sure to send you an ARC as soon as it is ready! :-) Happy reading and writing and thanks again for featuring me on your fantastic blog! Helene

    1. I really enjoyed reading and reviewing your book Helene, I'll surely be looking forward for the next book! Merry Christmas to you!

  2. Thank you very much! Have a wonderful Christmas as well and a happy new start to 2017!