When I think of gas-lighting and co-dependency there are a few images that come to my mind: a pimp and his whores, a politician and his constituents, and a broken manipulator and their victim. They all rely on the latter to buy the lies they are selling. You see, a whore knows that a pimp is lying to her and is using her but she needs him to say the things he has to say so that she can blame him for selling her body. He gives her an out. As a pimp, well, a pimp’s job is to squash any thoughts of freedom from a whores mind anytime she thinks of the ugliness she is doing to herself. He needs her to profit from work that he isn’t putting in. The same goes for politicians and gas-lighting manipulators.
While there are no pimps and whores in Sahar Abdul-Aziz’s Expendable, the essences of her main characters remind you of them: dependent, weak, and angry. Expendable is the story of Bella who is married to Logan. Bella is codependent as heck. She knows that Logan is a no good dirty scoundrel, but she ignores it until she no longer is able to do so. She has been making excuses for him like she did her mother and sister for years. The transfer of victimization transferred from one abuser to the next. Bella covered up bruises of her childhood to protect her abuser and now she is doing the same with Logan. The familiarity of the dishonesty, a cheating, and gas-lighting that she endured as a child slithered its way into her marriage. And she continued to pretend that they were figments of her imagination until the day she broke. Even after taking revenge on herself in an effort to escape the abuse, she continued to make excuses for him. But with the help of her new friends Prim and Ike- she is able to see why Logan needed to go.
Logan is broken; he has been since childhood. However, because he never seeks help for his issues. Instead, he does what all pimps do: he makes someone else pay for his inadequacies which he eventually falls victim to.
Expendables is a slow grind. But once it picks up you’re in for a ride. The end is unexpected and really makes the reading experience. However, you won’t appreciate the poetic ending unless you read the entire book.
If you like Expendable, then be sure to check out Sahar’s other books.