Why She Left Us - Book Review

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Narrated by: Natalie Eaton, Travis Henry Carter

Book Review of :  Why She Left Us


Why She Left Us by David Dennis is a strange epistolary novel about the twisted romantic relationships of three sisters, their mother, and various lovers. The story is told through a compilation of extracts of numerous diaries and journals that the cast of characters maintain during the mid-1980’s period the novel covers. The story takes place in the town of Maplewoods, and chronicles the lives of a very dysfunctional family consisting of the mother, Jean, and her three daughters. The matriarch of the family, Jean is described by her sister Lucille as a “cauldron of seething sexuality.” In fact, mommy Jean has few qualms of who she beds down with. She was about 16 when she gave birth to her daughter, Betsy and it appears that her 16-year-old daughter, Ellen has followed in her footsteps. Ellen has been having sex since she was 15 and considered herself madly in love with an older teenager, a confused Fonzorelli type. Monica who is Ellen’s older sister had relished her virginity and had vowed she would not have sex until she married.  She has found the love of her life, Carl, and he too claims to be a virgin. The two of them, Monica and Carl were very popular in High School and were Prom sweethearts. Monica does fulfill her vow and makes it into the state of matrimony as a chaste woman but married bliss soon ends as a series of bizarre incidents results in her being institutionalized. What these events are, become the meat of the story. It is there, in the mental ward, where we first meet Monica as she laments over her situation in her diary. “

One thing that is common between the sisters is that they don’t approve of their mother’s constant indiscretions and feel that their slightly nympho mother shows little love or time for them and is an overall embarrassment.  Betsy worries the most about her mother and tries to ingratiate herself to mommy dearest by taking care of her wheelchair-bound little sister allowing Jean to have more time to cavort with her paramours.

The two main male characters in the story are Monica’s husband, Carl Peters and bad boy, Wayne Brown.  There are issues between them also which result in Carl finding himself Wayne’s punching bag occasionally.  

The diary entries that chronicle the family’s tragedy revealed a common thread between the characters; they all appeared to be a bit delusional and drama queens.  This review was done from the audiobook version of “Why She Left Us.”  The novel provides something that should appeal to most book lovers because it is a mystery, a story of romance and murder seasoned with a lot of sex and drugs.

This work of fiction was a new literary venue for David D'Aguanno to express himself as a serious writer under the pen name David Dennis. Under this pseudonym, he writes about real situations and emotions that people struggle with every day. David D'Aguanno is most known for his over-the-top series of Brett Cornell Mysteries that feature an unscrupulous character by the name of Brett Cornell.

Reviewed by: DHearne

About David Dennis


David Dennis was born, raised, and educated in Providence, Rhode Island, and chose a career in teaching English in a neighboring city. Ever since he was in fifth grade, he's enjoyed writing stories of one sort or another, and while attending college, he became immersed in the writing of a gigantic fictional family saga. Much later, he basically extracted one of the sub-plots of that family saga and expanded it into the present novel "Why She Left Us."


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