BROKEN by Megan Hart
I hadn't really planned to review another book so soon. Why? No reason. I just generally don't. I guess because of the work involved. It's way easier to just sit down and write whatever strikes me. Lazy? Yes. But true too. So here I am.
Of course, I have good reason for this review, as I said in my review of DIRTY, also by Ms. Hart, I was curious to read her next book BROKEN (excerpt). As soon as I saw it in my local Barnes & Noble I bought it. I was really looking forward to reading a new and different story from Ms. Hart and wondered how I was going to react to it after my strong personal reaction to DIRTY.
BROKEN is the story about Sadie, a psychologist who meets Joe for lunch on the first Friday of each month. When the book starts these lunches have been going on for two years. Each month Joe tells Sadie a story of an encounter he had during the month. A sexual encounter. Each month Sadie puts herself in the shoes of the woman Joe tells her about. Since we know from almost the beginning of the book that Sadie is married I was intrigued where this story would lead, but also wondering how I was going to feel about infidelity assuming of course that this was a story about Joe and Sadie. Ms. Hart's deft weaving of the circumstances of the lives of both of these people go a long way to soothing those concerns, at least she did for me. As for the infidelity, I guess it would depend on how you personally define cheating.
The things I really liked about this book are the details woven in. Feelings Sadie has about herself, her job, her other relationships. I love when books focus on the main couple, I really do, and I don't usually like too much distraction from the main story. But I also really like knowing that the couple isn't an island and there are outside influences, people and distractions in their lives.
I think Ms. Hart dealt with the circumstances of Sadie's life in an honest and realistic way. In fact so much so that it was unimaginable to think about the commitment Sadie had to unexpectedly make and embrace in her marriage. However, despite the obstacles and trials in Sadie's marriage I think Ms. Hart did well letting us know the dynamics of the marriage before and after tragedy struck. I very much felt the tension and difficulty of that relationship. I also liked that it wasn't so cut and dry that one man was "better" or clearly superior to another. In real life things aren't so black and white and they certainly aren't in this book either.
Even with all these good things going for it by the middle of the book I was asking some questions and starting to wonder why a supposedly intelligent and well educated woman was letting her life drift like it was. Literally with the turn of a page Ms. Hart starting addressing some of those questions. The second half of the book just flew by. It's really wonderful how much we are able to learn about Joe just from the telling of those stories since we read them in Sadie's voice because she has put herself in the place of each of the women in the stories.
I've been enjoying tremendously the diverse rides I've had reading lately. This was another book that gave me much to think about. Not in the same personal way as DIRTY but more in the, "I want to talk about this over margaritas with my girlfriends" way. An enjoyable read, something different, and lots to talk about. Those stories at lunch...whew!