To all single parents out there (not just Dads) Leader of the Pack by Matt Sweetwood, should be required reading before you embark on your own journey of trying to raise children without a loving and caring spouse beside you. Matt, found himself in an abusive and destructive relationship when he married the beautiful and beguiling Charlotte. A man tortured by his own low self-esteem who manages to rationalise his own awful behaviour and neglect of his children’s needs by assuring himself that he is lucky to have gotten Charlotte to even look at him, let alone marry him (Phew! Haven’t we all been there!) It takes Matt, his family and his finances to reach the lowest nadir before he finally wakes up and takes action to deal with this abusive wife and mother. He learns a lot about himself during this long journey into the depths of “hell”, but does he learn enough to stop himself from making the same mistake all over again, the second time around?
Leader of the Pack is the most powerful personal memoir I’ve read in a very long time. Perhaps it was because the circumstances Matt describes hit so close to home for me, but nevertheless, one can but admire the author’s courage in bringing this, much too common problem, out into the light and exposing the insanity of his thought processes that led him down the road he travelled. I found the narrative of this harrowing tale so compelling I literally could not stop reading it. Readers will groan in disbelief at places and shout at the main character (Matt himself!) asking; “what were you thinking?” but all through it, the man’s simple desire to just be happy and to raise his five children the best way he can, comes shining through. Although this is specifically about Male solo dads and that is part of Matt’s advocacy, many of the circumstances faced by Matt are equally applicable to both sexes in a violent, abusive, co-dependent relationship. If I could give this book more than five stars, I surely would. Congratulations on such a frank and honest memoir, Matt Sweetwood.