Have torn to pieces?

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Senior Member
Hi all! I am looking for an expression, can you help me? I'll provide some background information as follows.

An old man in my story suffered a lot in his life. Long story short: nearly died in a car accident, survive but with devastating physical and mental scars. Later, his wife run away with another man, not a cent left. His only daughter left without showing up again.His dog was gone in a car accident, in full view of this poor old man......

I want to express that the old man's heart was severely wounded by the suffering, one of my friends give me her advice "Life has torn his flesh to pieces." I'm not sure it's ok or not, can you give me your advice? Especially on my friend's version.Thank you!
  • perpend

    American English
    Oh my gosh. I'm tired after reading it:
    Left him in shreds.
    Left him with nothing.

    Is your friend a native speaker of English, Peach?


    American English
    I agree with Redwood Grove that your friend's version sounds too much like hyperbole.

    What do you think, Peach?

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    I bit of hyperbole might be in order for a man who has had so much misfortune!

    But really, your readers will know he has had a tough time, so how you chose to describe him at the end could be more subtle, more evocative of his status than "ripped flesh" which is more like a gothic horror than a domestic drama. I agree with the others who are advising against it.
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