Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Review: PERFECTLY BROKEN by Robert Burke Warren

Grant Kelly used to be a rock star of sorts but he's traded in that life for a life of ups and downs with his beautiful wife Beth and their young son Evan. Grant stays at home with Evan, aided by the medication that he takes to keep depression at bay, and Beth is a publicist who is between clients. The family finds it impossible to stay in overpriced New York given their current financial situation so they accept their friends' generous offer of a place to rent and they move into a Catskills farmhouse.

Uprooting their entire lives may seem like it is one of the harder things that they have to do, but indeed the worst is yet to come. Seeing their friends and new landlords,Trip and Christa, after several years unearths a whole mess of issues that they couldn't have imagined. Meeting Trip and Christa's adopted daughter turns out to be a disaster as she is a terror and not very well adjusted. Their friends' marriage seems to be rocky at best and both friends seem to cope only using the prescription drugs that they have come to rely on. Trip and Christa's issues only seem to echo Grant and Beth's own. From Beth's drug-addicted brother to their own relationship fraught with tension, moving only seems to create tension instead of relieving some.

I'll admit that Perfectly Broken started slow for me. The writing itself was very good but Grant seemed whiny and it was hard to feel sympathy for him. I found myself rolling my eyes at his manufactured angst- it seemed as if he wanted everyone to feel sorry for him, and he appeared to feel slighted if not everyone did. However I believe that this is how author Robert Burke Warren wanted Grant to be portrayed initially, and he did a great job of it.

I found myself far more taken with the story about halfway through. That's when the tension between all of the characters really ratcheted up a notch and things began to happen. I found myself more invested in the plot at this point and I was rapidly turning pages to find out what would happen.

What I appreciated the most about Perfectly Broken is that the characters are laid bare before us. They are raw, emotionally naked, and very flawed. Burke Warren did not sugarcoat the very difficult topics of parenting, financial strain, marriage and infidelity. In truth, life does not always hand us the easiest hand and it is up to us to navigate murky waters without a guide, and Perfectly Broken illustrates the fact that, while things may not always be easy, they are most definitely worth it.

Perfectly Broken was an interesting book, one that was very different from what I usually read, but one that opened up my eyes to how satisfying it can be to curl up with something different from my usual fare. I enjoyed the writing itself and although I didn't agree with many of the choices that the characters made, that is part of what made this book so likable. I look forward to seeing what this author writes in the future. My thanks to TLC Book Tours for inviting me to review this book.