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Broken as Things Are

3.22  ·  Rating Details ·  76 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
From the day that Morgan-Lee is born, her extraordinarily beautiful and withdrawn older brother, Ginx, is obsessed by her. Inhabiting their own parallel world, the two communicate through a secret language and make-believe stories; when Morgan-Lee begins to explore friendships beyond their closed circle, however, Ginx becomes increasingly disturbed. In luminous prose, Mart ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published July 1st 2005 by Picador
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Aug 23, 2014 Downward rated it it was amazing
Broken as Things Are doubles as a domestic novel about siblinghood and a Barthian post structuralist narrative about the worlds that get tied to words, not just the words' meanings but their sounds and shapes and the depth of their memories. It's about the secret filial language that translates as closeness and how exactly the closeness can become twisted and brutal, even when it's at its most loving. Plot-wise, it is about Morgan-Lee and her brother Ginx, who suffers from what is never named in ...more
Virginia Freedman
Jan 03, 2016 Virginia Freedman rated it it was amazing
Wonderfully original coming of age story of a girl who needs to find her own language and identity
apart from her abusive, autistic brother. The story is sometimes slyly humorous and sometimes heart-breaking when Morgan is struggling with not being pulled under by family members and malevolent forces in the form of "badly influential" friends who want you to grow up as crooked as they are. Quietly Southern Gothic, the book's prose is captivating and makes reading a fresh experience.
Wendy O'connell
Jul 09, 2013 Wendy O'connell rated it it was amazing
Broken as Things Are is by far the best book I’ve read all year! And normally I try to read three to four good size books a month, although books like Broken as Things Are might present a problem to that number. It’s not the kind of book you want to read fast. Think of it as your favorite food, and you only get a little bit. Savor.

The writing is superb, the dialog drips with a realism I’ve known all my life living in the South, and the use of descriptive highlighting and paralleling the dysfunc
Alan Marchant
Jul 19, 2009 Alan Marchant rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
and not worth fixing

I admit it: I was taken in by a blurb. Front and center on the cover of my paperback edition of Broken as Things Are, is this misleading recommendation by E. L. Doctorow. "Ms. Witt has staked out a territory somewhere between Harper Lee and Flannery O'Conner."

Doctorow is correct only in the sense that Martha Witt's prose style is both polished and modest. But in this book she has wasted her time and mine on a tale not worth telling.

Broken as Things Are tells the story of a yo
Sep 06, 2008 Kristen rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2008
i bought this one home from the library, kind of on a whim. the library was closing and i was still reading the jacket cover so i just took it with and figured i'd give it a go.

books about children or from a child's perspective always interest me. it's hard to write convincingly from that point of view. i think this author did a really good job of it.

the characters were heartbreakingly real, and the title really fits the story. at first, i didn't quite understand the "lucca" stories and the wh
Karina Heinmann
Feb 09, 2015 Karina Heinmann rated it it was amazing
You must read this book! This is an extraordinary work. I have a lot of experience with Autism, and this book revealed that familiar world to me in a way I had never before understood it. Much more than a book about Autism, so many scenes and lines in here ring with such truth and beauty that I copied them down in a notebook where I keep my favorite lines and passages from best-loved books. As a sibling of someone with Autism, I broke down crying at one point because the story touched a nerve an ...more
Jan 19, 2009 Rachel rated it liked it
This is a story of two siblings: the strange Ginx, who cannot articulate his emotions, and Morgan-Lee. The two share a secret language where words have meaning for how they sound and not what they represent. They pretend together and Morgan-Lee tells stories that help Ginx understand what it means to be loved or to love someone. But Morgan-Lee is growing up, and her sometimes abusive brother is jealous of her interactions with other friends. This was an enjoyable book and I felt like I could und ...more
Mar 30, 2009 Marian rated it it was ok
I wished I liked this more, since the author is from Hillsborough and the book is set in Hillsborough, NC. The book is very southern gothic, but it's a little too turgid for me.
Elizabeth rated it it was ok
Sep 22, 2009
Jul 02, 2008 Kelly rated it really liked it
Loved the three kids and their mixed up mom and aunt. So many problems. Honest story.
Aarongongaware rated it liked it
Jan 14, 2013
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Apr 23, 2012
N. Moss
N. Moss rated it it was amazing
Jan 14, 2016
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Jan 25, 2016
Laura rated it it was ok
Mar 20, 2013
Barbara rated it it was amazing
Sep 16, 2011
Bibhuti Adhikari
Bibhuti Adhikari rated it it was amazing
Mar 29, 2015
Sandy rated it did not like it
Apr 07, 2009
Keli rated it liked it
Jun 08, 2013
Kimberlee rated it it was amazing
Mar 22, 2007
Chris rated it it was amazing
Jan 22, 2008
Traci Sherlock
Traci Sherlock rated it did not like it
Mar 23, 2010
Erika rated it liked it
Sep 01, 2009
Jun 27, 2007 Anna marked it as abandoned
Meh. This is weird and I got bored.
Michele rated it it was amazing
Feb 21, 2010
Maria rated it it was amazing
Sep 04, 2012
Mi Martin
Mi Martin rated it it was amazing
Jun 17, 2009
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Rachel Gardner rated it liked it
Feb 27, 2010
Mary rated it did not like it
Dec 14, 2010
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Martha Witt was born in Hillsborough, North Carolina. Currently she resides in New York City. "Broken as Things Are" was her first novel.
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