Barbara O. (Maryland Heights, MO)
Could not stop reading!
Book clubs will love this book and it's characters. Randy Susan Meyers creates people you react to strongly, invoking strong feelings of empathy, anger and compassion. Every family has a story and the Illica Family story is at times painful and thought provoking and real. I cared deeply about all of them but in particular, Emma. I hated to see this book end and I cared deeply about what happened to them. Bravo!
Bonnie B. (Port St. Lucie, FL)
A Well-Crafted Novel of Family and Self
Maddy is a social worker who runs groups for battered women. Her husband Ben is a public defender who has a serious anger problem. Everyone in the house is prisoner to Ben's moods. He has broken dishes, punched holes in the wall, and has verged on physical abuse of their three children - Emma is 14, Caleb is 7 and Gracie is 9. Mostly, he screams but his voice is often threatening and bullying.
Ben is driving Maddy in his car when he succumbs to road rage. The car crashes into a tree and Maddy suffers a severe traumatic brain injury and lies in a coma for weeks on end. As Maddy fights for her life, Emma becomes a parental child, Caleb regresses, and Gracie is the silent child who watches carefully to see what is happening now and what the future will bring.
This is a harrowing and well-crafted book about family and personal identity. Told from the differing vantage points of Ben, Maddy and Emma, the reader is taken on a roller coaster of emotions. It is a definite page-turner and difficult to put down.
Martha L. (Warner, NH)
Accident causes change
I am still reeling after finishing this novel called Accidents of Marriage. My heart is aching for the family torn and shredded. I read the book today. Yup – beginning to end. I couldn't seem to stop myself from reading it. The anguish and pain of the main characters as evidenced by their separate chapters describing differing scenes in the book resonated with me.
Ben, Maddy and their three children live in Boston. They are both professional people with jobs that show the worse of society. However it is clear that Ben's temper and lack of control is causing problems for his family. Problems he cannot see because he is the center of his world and it is all about him. Due to a number of things that happened there was an accident: one that would change their world.
The rage of Ben overwhelmed me and yet, I did not see it for the problem it was until later in the book, perhaps because Maddy did such a good job of moderating his temper. I guess I too was vacillating. The book highlights emotional abuse. It highlights how a family can slug its way through horrid situations to find a resolution. It highlights how words can cause more damage than can ever be repaired.
Oh, and I so didn't like Vanessa (Maddy's sister).
Colleen L. (Casco, ME)
Realistic and true to life..
This is a very realistic book. Maddy is a working mother of three children who handles the preponderance of child rearing, house work and bill paying. Her husband is a Public Defender with anger issues. Maddy is always unsure of Ben's moods when he gets home and the home revolves around these moods. One rainy day when Maddy is traveling with her husband, an accident occurs and Maddy suffers a very serious accident. The world changes dramatically for the entire family after that.
Try as I might, I found it difficult to like or respect her husband but my heart went out to Maddy and her children, especially Emma. I thought the book was well written because the story felt 'real' and could actually be happening in hundreds of American homes today. I think the author reminds us that spousal abuse isn't just physical but can be equally devastating when it is emotionally driven. Some people may not be satisfied with the ending but I found it true to life.
I found the story engaging and insightful. I also believe the author delivered an important message about spousal abuse. I think this book is a valuable read & would recommend this book to anyone looking to read about complex, family situations.
Portia A. (Mount Laurel, NJ)
A very good book club book
I enjoyed reading this book, although it made me want to cry.
The story is not a happy one, but the book is well written and the story is one that could happen to real people. Ms Meyers knows how to reach ito her character's hearts and makes you care for them.
I will recommend it to my book club, because the discussion should be very interesting.
Beth M. (NY, NY)
Quick read but predictable
I really enjoy Randy Susan Meyers' writing style. Like in Comfort of Lies she writes about identifiable characters who you care about and root for. Unfortunately I hoped for some unexpected twists. However, the story is little more than the back cover blurb. Maddy and Ben get into a serious car accident because of his out of control temper and she ends up in a hospital fighting for her life. She's left in bad shape, he acts badly and than begs for forgiveness and that basically where the story ends. An unsatisfying ending from a book that started so promising.