Rebecca K. (Chicagoland)
Strong character-driven story
"Accidents of Marriage" is an interesting view at the life of one family. Told from the alternating viewpoints of the wife, husband, and eldest child, the multiple voices worked in showing the situation from different perspectives.I enjoyed the novel, but found it a bit short of being truly great. When a husband's anger issues change his family forever, everyone involved must come to terms with the consequences.
I wish the character of the husband had been a bit more gray - instead, he was portrayed rather black and white as the "bad" one in the relationship. If he was more sympathetic as a character, the book would have had a stronger impact.
Sherrie R. (Fort Worth, TX)
Accidents of Marriage
At first I did not like the way the two major characters were portrayed- it seemed simplistic with each of them being so self absorbed. I was put off by some of the graphic language- especially on the occasions with the author's use of "retarded." Thankfully that was kept to a minimum. Once the book focused on the aftermath of the accident, I was intrigued but the mystery of how each person was affected as Maddy worked through her recovery and what really happened to her. I wasn't sure if I liked the ending. The author seemed to want to end it both ways so everyone would be pleased.
This belongs in the chick lit section.
Daryl B. (Poolesville, MD)
Realistic Family Drama
I don't know that I would say this book was "good" but it certainly grabbed my attention and held it. The tension throughout the story was unsettling. The author does a fabulous job of portraying the family dynamics of a dysfunctional family that suffers a tragic, preventable accident that turns their lives upside down. Spousal abuse, alcohol and drug abuse and infidelity all contribute to the story. My heart ached for the three innocent children, especially Emma who was forced to become the family caretaker. I think this would be a good book club selection. The women in my book group would surely have a few choice words in describing Ben!
Barbara L. (Novato, CA)
Accidents of Marriage
As in real life, perspective is everything. This novel tells the story of a flawed family from the three main characters points of view, each one unique, individual and sometimes self-centered. Revolving around a terrible accident, this story reveals the ramifications of this event on each member of this family helping us understand each of their individual reactions to the main event.
Kathleen W. (Appleton, WI)
Accidents of Marriage
This is a disturbing novel. I can't say that I "liked" it, but I can't stop thinking about it. Perhaps the situation and the dialogue struck a nerve with me and that is not always pleasant. We all yearn for second chances and forgiveness and we all hope that we will be noble in our suffering. By alternating the first person narrative among the three major characters, the author was able to convey the complexity of the issues and the strong pull of self. I strongly recommend this book for discussion groups and for people who do not require Hollywood endings from their novels.
Shirley D. (Amherst, MA)
ACCIDENTS OF MARRIAGE
Ben, Maddy and their children, their own parents, in-laws and siblings are like the family next door, folks I have known for years. Although I knew the love shared, I was apprehensive of underlying weaknesses and then was a witness to the shattering of that family and feared for its recovery. The characters are so well written, so well developed, I nearly forgot it was fiction and grieved for all, especially for Emma, the teen who was forced to try to hold the family together. Some novels I read, enjoy and forget. Accidents of Marriage will be in my thoughts for a long time.
Betty T. (Warner Robins, GA)
Realistic Except for One Critical Element
This is the first book I have read by this author. The topic intrigued me as I have some experience with people with anger management issues. I liked the style of writing—easy to read, nice flow. The main characters were well-developed. Some of the supporting characters were less developed but still fairly well written. The alternating perspectives of Maddy, Ben, and Emma were easy to follow. You could easily get the sense of what each of these characters were having to deal with in the aftermath of the accident. Maddy was fighting for survival. Her frustration at not being able to function as she had was readily apparent. Ben had to deal with his guilt of causing the accident in the first place. Then his loyalties to his family were tested. Emma was a young teen girl forced to put her life on hold in order to care for her younger siblings. Her resentment was appropriate. The younger siblings Gracie and Caleb were well-portrayed, in my opinion. Then, of course, there were the meddling in-laws. I am not sure the interfaith marriage angle added much to the story. The part I had difficulty accepting was how Ben had such an anger management problem but then seemed to be "cured" by his guilt over the accident. Someone who can get as violent as him does not just suddenly start controlling his/her temper without help. Overall though, it was a good read.