Darcy C. (San Diego, CA)
Can a Family Suvive Dad's Stupidity and Remorse?
There are 3 voices in this book. Mom, Dad and Daughter. I felt it undemanding to discern each narrator. I was able to get to know each persona. Dad has everything-down-pat, The Tiger by The Tail, the world is his oyster, until .... he really wonks up his marriage. The Mom pays the price of Dad's error and I really felt for her with her recovery. What would I do in this situation? Could I love this man who maimed me? The daughter reminded us, the readers, that kids ALWAYS know more than we think they know. I believe the author's exceptional descriptions and word-work made me completely feel the waves of revulsion as they were occurring within the Mom's head. The myriad of emotions the author took me through reminded me why I love reading! I felt like the author dropped me subliminally into this family and I was the silent observer of all of the mayhem, renewal and restructuring of how each player in this family's dysfunction. Yet, there was still love….. but could it heal this family? This book will surely be a hit when it comes out! The book was pitch-perfect. A very-worthwhile and thoughtful read. 5 Stars all the way across!
Dorothy L. (Manalapan, NJ)
Could Have Been Better
I found the book slow for the most part. I couldn't really identify with any of the characters that much. The premise was good but the execution could have been better. I was satisfied with the ending and got a sense of Maddy's emotional journey.as well as physical healing. I also liked the way Emma and Maddy's relationship evolved throughout the book. But there was something lacking in the way the story was told and for me, it was not an exceptional read. I thought her earlier book, The Comfort of Lies, was a better book and kept my interest more.
Melissa H (Stowe Twp., PA)
Slow, too slow.
Unfortunately this book moved very slowly for me. I liked the premise of it and while the ending wasn't exactly what I expected, it was better than I had anticipated. Yet, the majority of the book seemed to slough along. I wouldn't recommend it to someone looking for a quick, exciting read, but would possibly recommend it to a married couple.
Dorothy T. (Victorville, CA)
Accidents of Marriage
I almost gave up reading this book after the first 50 pages because of the unlimited use of foul language, particularly the popular f-word, and because I didn't like the characters of Ben and Maddy. It is not that the language improved--in fact it got worse until the end--but I became interested in the aftermath of the accident. I can understand the use of bad language to illustrate character qualities, emotions such as anger, and an effect of a traumatic brain injury, but with a little more effort I believe an author can find other ways to do this.
This novel gives a very depressing view of marriage, parenting, and family. It does serve to point out, however, that a family that is not founded on some set of clear principles, be it Christian, Jewish, or a mixture of both (these are the backgrounds of Ben and Maddy) or some other belief, is likely to crumble apart.
I expect this book will end up as fodder for book club discussions but not for me.
Beth T. (Savannah, GA)
I found "Accidents of Marriage" be a fascinating, touching, and thought-provoking study of consequences. A compelling story line, well-drawn characters, believable dialog, and good pacing. I cared about the characters and what happened to them and was sad to come to the end of the story. Should be an excellent choice for book clubs.
Rory A. (Henderson, NV)
The Darkest Months of an Already Dark, Dangerous Marriage
Told from the alternating, even-handed perspectives of the Illicas (long-suffering wife Maddy, abusive husband Ben, and beleaguered eldest daughter Emma), "Accidents of Marriage" is a subtle, solemn, sobering, deep exploration of a marriage gone to hell for quite a long time, and the parties involved waking up to it after a horrific reckless act.
Randy Susan Meyers has written this family, including two younger children, as well as surrounding family members and friends, so vividly and so strongly. There are moments of talking back to the pages, objecting, finger pointing at particular passages, surprised, and yet not surprised, at how Ben cannot see what his violent actions have done to this marriage, to his children, and especially to Maddy. It will not only make some readers sadly wonder if Meyers stayed over at their house for a couple of weeks without them knowing, but it will also tap everyone who reads it on the shoulder for weeks and months afterward, quietly haunting them. And perhaps it will also empower those who feel they are powerless in their marriages, just like Maddy.
Sandra H. (St. Cloud, MN)
Marriage is never simple
Randy Susan Meyers "Accidents of Marriage" is an intense and often painful look at what happens in a relationship in which the couple has lost the ability to communicate. Ben and Maddy have been married for over 15 years and have 3 children between the ages of 14 and 6. At one time a close and sexual relationship, they hardly know each other any more. Ben is a rising young lawyer who loves the limelight and Maddy a wife and mother who sees their life spiraling out of control. In a riveting opening we watch horrified and helpless as Ben's need to be in charge boils over into a dangerous car battle between himself and another car with tragic consequences for their entire family.
The story is told in alternate chapters through Ben, Maddy and Emma, their 14 year old daughter. Slowly we begin to see the dynamics of their relationships with each other, their grandparents and siblings, colleagues and friends. The novel demands that we understand our responsibility to each other as well as to ourselves without letting our egos rule.
Meyers handles those dynamics well and manages to create believable, rounded characters trying to come to terms with who they are within a husband and wife relationship as well as in their family and their concept of who and what they are as individuals. All of which makes "Accidents of Marriage" a wonderful choice for a book group discussion.