If Love Could Kill: The Myths and Truths of Women Who Commit Violence

Knopf. Feb. 2024. 272p. ISBN 9780593534151. $29. PSYCH
Incorporating 10 case studies of women who committed acts of violence, this book chronicles the stories of trauma and psychological damage, often unacknowledged or unaddressed, that can incite people to commit (or imagine committing) acts of violence. Motz (Toxic Couples: The Psychology of Domestic Violence) draws on case histories from her experience as a clinical psychologist working in forensics and speaking with women—in prisons, hospitals, and more—diving deep into what led them to commit violent acts. This book disproves common stereotypes and examines specific stigmas and the pressures many women face. There are descriptions of trauma and self-harming behavior that some readers may find difficult to read. The book’s content, however, is presented with a balance of directness and care that keeps it from being tabloidesque or exploitative. Motz also issues a call to action to change oppressive systems.
VERDICT A much-needed corrective to stereotypes about the reasons behind some women’s acts of violence. This title spotlights highly personal stories of trauma, while signaling the need for systemic change.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing