Cathy Park Kelly & Penny Haw at Liberty Books, 10 March 2022

When Christy Weyer of Liberty Books read Penny Haw’s novel, The Wilderness Between Us, and Cathy Park Kelly’s memoir, Boiling a Frog Slowly, she immediately saw the fascinating connection between the two books and offered to host an event with the authors. It’s happening at the bookshop on the 10th of March and you will not want to miss it!

“I’ve been fangirling about Cathy Park Kelly’s Boiling a Frog Slowly all the way down to my tippy toes and am delighted to announce that Cathy will be visiting Liberty on Thursday 10 March to discuss her heart-breaking, soul-healing, truth-telling and life-affirming memoir!
Cathy will be joined by another wonderful wordsmith who delves with sensitivity & acuity into women’s interior lives and relationships,” says Christy. “The Wilderness Between Us places a group of old friends on a hiking trail in the Tsitstikamma, puts them under pressure and then meticulously examines the fault-lines, fallout and freedom to find and fortify truer, stronger selves. With its emotional acuity and focus on relationships and resilience, The Wilderness Between Us resonates with Cathy Park Kelly’s Boiling a Frog Slowly, and I’m delighted to announce that Penny and Cathy will both be at Liberty Books on Thursday 10 March to discuss their beautiful books!”

Boiling a Frog Slowly launched at the Alma Café

There are certain books one wishes would never have to be written, but because our reality is what it is, we can only be grateful to authors like Cathy Park Kelly for facing the darkest corners of our existence and exposing them to the light of understanding and healing. Cathy’s wrenchingly honest and powerful memoir about the abuse she suffered at the hands of a partner, Boiling a Frog Slowly, was launched at The Alma Café last night. The launch was postponed in December because of the fourth wave, but it could finally happen. Family, friends, authors, readers and the resident cat gather at the wonderful venue and celebrated Cathy and her empowering book with Alma’s legendary Cornish pasties and lemon meringue pies. Cathy was in conversation with local writer and editor, Máire Fisher. It was a beautiful evening and once again I applaud Cathy’s courage in bringing this book into the world.

Thank you to everyone who attended, and mountains of gratitude to The Folks at the café for making their space available for literary events and always making us feel so warmly welcomed.

Karavan Press authors at the Adam Small Fees

Cathy Park Kelly, Nancy Richards and Karen Jennings will be participating in the Adam Small Literary Festival in Pniel this year.

SATURDAY, 26 FEBRUARY 2022 
PNIEL MUSEUM TEETUIN

13.45 – 14.15: Cathy Park – Boiling a Frog Slowly: A Memoir of Love Gone Wrong
14.15 – 14.45: Nancy Richards – The Skipper's Daughter
14.45 – 15.15: Karen Jennings – An Island: Longlisted for Booker Prize

Adam Small Fees

Joanne Hichens reviews BOILING A FROG SLOWLY by Cathy Park Kelly for the Sunday Times

‘Boiling a Frog Slowly’ is an intensely personal memoir about escaping abuse

Cathy Park Kelly’s compelling and painstakingly honest book describes the insidiousness of abuse and how hard it is to leave a toxic and violent relationship

Boiling a Frog Slowly is a courageous, emotionally sincere exposé of a romantic relationship that slides into increasingly disdainful and abusive territory, when love indeed goes wrong. It’s about how terribly difficult it is, as a woman, to extricate oneself from a toxic, manipulative relationship in which one is treated with violence and contempt.

Right from the opening scene, which describes violence so extreme that I caught my breath, I was hooked and wanted to know how this could have happened to a woman I know — albeit on the periphery — as professional, caring and compassionate. What led to the point where Cathy was held down by her partner, as he scrawled the words slut, whore and c**t across her breasts with a red Koki pen?

Continue reading: Sunday Times

Joanne Hichens interviews Cathy Park Kelly about her memoir, Boiling a Frog Slowly

Boiling a frog slowly is a courageous exposé of a romantic relationship that slides into increasingly disdainful and abusive territory, when love indeed goes wrong. In this interview, Joanne Hichens chats with Cathy Park Kelly about her experiences and the writing of her memoir.

Boiling a frog slowly, a memoir of emotional and physical abuse at the hands of an early lover and partner, is searing in its honesty. Your story shows how terribly difficult it can be for a woman to extricate herself from a relationship in which she is treated with violence and contempt. What prompted you to write your account of abuse at the hands of your male partner?

It’s what I do – I use my writing to explore my life and pick out threads that shine with truth for me. What I have learned, and what I am coming to trust, as I write more and share my writing more, is that these threads are universal. They are present in many human stories. When it comes to the story of the abusive relationship, I wanted to do two things: make sense of this experience for my own sake, and also make something out of this chapter in my life that I could share with others.

On the first, personal level, I used my writing to make sense of this chapter and to crack through the disbelief I was left with, to dig beneath the feeling of “What the f*ck?” to get at the truth of what it meant. I was weirdly fascinated, as well as confounded, by what I had gone through, so I used my writing to create some sense of order and understanding.

But, on the more universal level, I was driven to write this for the unknown reader out there. I felt that I had learned much and gained many insights, and this hard-earned knowledge burned inside me. It felt alive, like it wanted to be given a voice …

LitNet

Interview with Cathy Park Kelly, author of Boiling a frog slowly

Ambre Nicolson Hsu reviews BOILING A FROG SLOWLY by Cathy Park Kelly for Woman Zone Book Club

“If someone in your life is not sane, then expecting the best from them or working on yourself or breathing into the pain is a long road to misery. Sometimes you just need to walk away.”

These lines, drawn from the end of Cathy Park Kelly’s Boiling a Frog Slowly (Karavan, 2021), explain the central premise and plot of this compelling memoir. Don’t be fooled by their simplicity though, Park Kelly’s clarity is hard won.

In fact, what makes this book so riveting is the way in which Park Kelly describes just how complex and subtle the descent into an abusive relationship can be. What begins as an exhilarating new love unravels slowly into the terror and claustrophobia of mental and physical abuse.

While this book is about a difficult subject, it is not hard to read. Many memoirs of abusive relationships go heavy on the unremitting horror of the situation with the sad effect of numbing a reader. Instead, Park Kelly tells her story with warmth and wry humour. This has the effect of making her unflinching descriptions of the abuse and terror she experienced even more harrowing when you get to them.

What I like best about this book is the author’s quiet commitment to telling the truth, even when it is complicated, unpretty or ordinary. This is particularly apparent in her telling of how she extricated herself from the relationship. Whereas many such memoirs end with a flourish (the blinding once-off revelation, the dramatic flight, the packed suitcase), Park Kelly details instead the slow, hopeful, painful and painstaking journey towards recovering her agency and the confidence to leave the relationship behind. This rigour and integrity acts as a wonderful astringent against the often cloying “happy endings” that such books sometimes claim. Instead of ending with the first glimmer hope, Park Kelly looks beyond the easy ever after to paint a much more compelling portrait of a woman who, in the end, rescues herself.

Nancy Richards reviews BOILING A FROG SLOWLY by Cathy Park Kelly for Woman Zone Cape Town

Someone once explained to me the frog in increasingly hot water concept – that he won’t notice till he literally boils to death. I remember being horrified that such an idea could have been put to the test – poor frog, for heaven’s sake.
More shocking though is the thought that such a concept could apply to a human being – but seems it can.  Despite an increasingly hot water relationship, Cathy Park Kelly, hung on in for eight tortuous years with a man she calls here Karl. Her book, a vivid recall of the undermining, violent and over-heated treatment she tolerated, just made me want to weep for her. And lash out at the perp …

Woman Zone Cape Town