My Policeman ― Bethan Roberts ― “You have to open your eyes. you’re too bright not to. It’s such a waste”

My Policeman portraits an insufferable existence when victims and victimizers share roles in systematic violence.

Inkish Kingdoms

Bethan Roberts writes an excruciating novel of treason, gender roles, sexuality, and freedom. My Policeman follows the story of three main characters Marion, Tom, and Patrick. Tom has never said out loud who he is. Patrick has always known and embraced it for himself. Marion fell blindly for Tom in an era when homosexuality paid with jail.

In My Policeman, Tom fuses the lives of the three lovers, but Patrick and Marion narrate the story from their perspective. Roberts starts with Marion telling how she fell for Tom, and from there, the plot burns slowly, too slowly for my taste. However, there is a beautiful change in pace when Patrick takes on the narration to end up burning as slowly as Marion’s story falling into a cycle of secrecy, fear, and treason.

Both stories are tragic enough, but they are tainted with ignorance, jealousy, and selfishness. Roberts navigates the waters of ignorance of how people thought of homosexuality as a curable choice. How not having a woman will turn men gay, and how a perfect roled wife was enough to turn a man straight. Marion plays the role of a victim. Patriarchy acts as the principal victimizer by forcing genre roles on Marion (she was not supposed to work but marry and have children). Additionally, since patriarchy rejects homosexuality, this drove many gay men to live a lie while hiding behind a “wife,” which turn Marion into a victim of the whole system.

Likewise, Tom was a victim of the system by being seen as a deviant criminal and forced to live in hiding for his security. By doing this, he became a victimizer and a liar towards Marion. Essentially, Patrick acts as the victim in the story because Tom might have lied to him and assumed that Marion agreed to be part of a secret affair. However, this treason forced Marion into a victimizer. She took some decisions and actions that weighed on her and her husband for the years to come.

The story moved slowly, and at some points, lack any adventure or emotion. Sadly the story picks up by the end, 2 hours after finishing the audiobook, which made the first 8 hours a struggle to continue. Piers Hampton and Emma Powell do a fine narrating job by telling this painful story of an English Era where homosexuality was a crime. Piers and Emma open our eyes to the progress that the LGBTQ+ community has accomplished so far and puts in perspective still the work to do for equity and equality.

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