Thursday, March 17, 2016

Perfectly Broken

Perfectly Broken by Robert Burke Warren
Story Plant: 3/8/16
advanced readers copy; 270 pages
hardcover ISBN-13: 9781611882186

Perfectly Broken by Robert Burke Warren is a highly recommended novel about dealing with marriage, parenting, friendships, uncertain futures and devastating secrets.

Grant Kelly is currently a stay-at-home dad who used to be in a successful rock band. Now he cares for 4 year old Evan while his wife, Beth supports them. They are struggling, though, and deep in debt. When Beth loses her job,  they have to accept the offer from their friends, Trip and Christa, and they leave NYC to move into an old farmhouse that their friends own in the Catskills.  Their friends are living nearby and recently adopted a daughter.

Grant and Beth are already going through a hard time and the change to rural NY state don't make their lives easier. Grant is still suffering from depression and low self-esteem. He's had to halve his meds due to their cost and may have to discontinue them. There doesn't seem to be an end in sight for his malaise. His dreams have been left by the wayside and he is unable to talk about his mental suffering.

Their friend, another former rocker and godfather to Evan, Paul Fairchild, has succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. He and his wife, Melora, don't have children and Paul adores Evan. He helps Grant move and offers his unconditional friendship, but Grant resents his success, which stand in sharp contrast to Grant's failures.

When Beth leaves for a job interview in the city, Grant is left on his own with Evan and his worries about his marriage. Trip and Christa are no better off emotionally, although they have the financial security for which Grant and Beth yearn. Their adopted daughter has behavioral issues and both parents resent her. At this point the novel takes a turn that will be very difficult emotionally for some readers. (I'll admit I just didn't see where it was necessary, but since I wasn't consulted...) The events left me disturbed and tired of these individuals who need to grow up.

But I kept reading and a very rude awakening that will lead to growing up may be where they are headed, with even more emotional turmoil involved. I also wanted these people to open up and honestly share what they are thinking with their spouses. The anguish and raw emotions from all the characters overflow into a major train wreck.

This is an excellent debut novel that portends even more accomplished works in the future. The quality of the writing is admirable. The characters are well developed and nuanced, especially Grant in the depiction of the emotional baggage he is carrying and needs to let go. They are real, flawed individuals. The writing makes it easy to read; some of the actions and emotions make it difficult because of their brutal honesty.

Disclosure: I received an advanced reading copy of this book from the author and TLC for review purposes. 


1 comment:

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Usually when I get that frustrated with characters it shows how invested I am in the story due to the author's ability to pull me in. I do hope that they opened up to their spouses at some point in the story!

Thanks for being a part of the tour.