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Broken for You

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3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  7,822 ratings  ·  1,318 reviews
National best seller and Today show Book Club selection, Broken for You is the story of two women in self-imposed exile whose lives are transformed when their paths intersect. Stephanie Kallos's debut novel is a work of infinite charm, wit and heart. It is also a glorious homage to the beauty of broken things. When we meet septuagenarian Margaret Hughes, she is living alon...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published June 7th 2005 by Grove Press (first published January 1st 2004)
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20th out of 58 books — 199 voters


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Community Reviews

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Linda Dale
An imaginative tale that explores how physical things tether us to our history and how they can prolong our pain.. This idea is woven into a story about an elderly woman, Margaret, a wealthy recluse tied to a home that is chock full of procelains, pottery and all things breakable. As the story opens, Margaret receives the news that she has a fatal brain tumor.

Margaret is determined to expand her life, but she’s not ready to leave the safety of her home. She decides to take in a boarder. Enter Wa...more
Jonquil
Aug 09, 2008 Jonquil rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
Recommended to Jonquil by: book club choice
I just finished this book for our book club in St. Helens, Oregon.
This is the best book I have read in years. The story is zany in a believable way and it's just full of the kind of charm and magic I wish for in my own life! We all have loss and sadness in our lives somewhere and I love how the women in this book deal with it!
Bethany Andrews
My mother taught me that valuable lesson that she learned from watching Bambi long ago: "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all." That said, I should stop there.

But I won't. This book isn't terrible...but its not good either. It has a lot of potential..it really does..but it was disappointing. The end was rushed, like the author got sick of the story and just wanted it to end. I loved the beginning of the story..the character development was great..real, sincere women that you...more
Ingrid
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Annalisa
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Erika
I wanted to like this book. It had such potential. My Mom gave it to me after she said that she couldn't get into it enough to finish. I should've heeded that as a warning because I felt exactly the same way. It had all the elements to what I am normally drawn to - wounded, lost, yet interesting characters who form unexpected and unusual bonds, and find parts of themselves they didn't know existed. (I just described the plot of every indie movie I've liked) Despite this, I had very little attach...more
mia
Jun 27, 2009 mia rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: eh, really??
Shelves: fic-lit
and the final review....
this book is just bull shit, to be really, very blunt. i mean what is this novel even trying to be about? is it about friendship substituting family? is it about selflessness and selfishness? is it about the loneliness that absence of parents in a life? is it about death? is it about throwing caution to the wind and being crazy and free? is it about art? is it about france? is it a love story? is it about the holocaust? is it really just about broken dishes and figurines?...more
aubrey
what a wonderful book of community and surrogate families. i loved the way all the stories weaved together and intertwined in a complex, but beautiful way. everyone's stories made me feel deeply and be grateful for my family and my friends and neighbors. and made me want to be a better person and contribute to the world around me. i also enjoyed that it took place in seattle about ten years ago, so i could relate to a lot of the locations in the book. there was one small part in the book, though...more
Michele
Broken Lives Pieced Back Together
This was a book club selection that received a luke warm review from our group of ten. I, however, was one of the few who truly enjoyed reading Broken For You by Stephanie Kallos.

While many felt elements of the plot were too contrived—and they were—for me it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the story, and particularly from the entertaining and well-developed characters.

This is a unique story. It made me laugh. It made me cry. It made me angry. Anything that...more
Barb
From the title of this book, you'd think it was a downer. But instead, this novel shows that from brokenness can come healing in unimaginable ways. Some things--but not everything--wrap up just a little too neatly at the end, but it really was a page-turner, with characters you can't help but find yourself pulling for. The story begins with an older, reclusive woman learning she has a brain tumor--and deciding to make big changes in her life. These changes involve several other people she meets...more
Dee Georgette
This is one of my favorite books, I keep hoping it will be made into a movie. The characters psychological problems and quirks make you fall in love with them.


The below came from "Book Browse" BOOK SUMMARY


Broken for You is a novel of infinite charm and tremendous heart that explores the risks and rewards of human connection, and the hidden strength behind things that only seem fragile. With a riotous energy that recalls the works of John Irving and Anne Tyler, Kallos brings to life a delightful...more
Erin
In Stephanie Kallos's Broken for You, pieces of the story fit together in the same manner as the pieces of Margaret Hughes's porcelain antiques. The story begins when Margaret, an older woman, learns that she has a brain tumor, and may only live a few years more. After placing an ad for a boarder, Wanda Shultz shows up on her doorstep. The women are both broken in many ways, and their relationship builds from this bond. Subsequently, Margaret reveals that the antique porcelain acquired by her fa...more
Shannon
While Broken for You is a book populated with characters who have experienced great sadness, it is not a sad book. On the contrary, this book is about people who move past their sadness, their brokenness and their grief to live. I was drawn to this book for its characterization of being a book about family being what you make out of the community surrounding you. It was encouraging while reading this book to realize the community/family surrounding me and that people continue to grow and thrive...more
Lani
I found this book in our house - not sure how it got there, but it was a decent read. I happen to like stories about people, so it worked out for me. It's roughly about a few people and their quirks and trying to make changes to break out of ruts/self-destructive ruts. Interesting and fairly funny.

An older lady has lived in her house for years, just surrounded by antiques which are dear to her, but maybe not exactly cherished. She decides to be a little wild and rents out one of her rooms to a y...more
bookczuk
I started this book, really couldn't get into it, so put it aside. In the meantime, a friend read it and loved it. At her urging, I picked it up again -- this time, I really liked it.

The title is perfect, in so many senses, some that become clearer as the book progresses. What starts out to be two isolated, clearly broken "Eleanor Rigby" women gel into a family, along with the rag-tag recruits who affix themselves into their lives. But that's the cheater's description. The book is so much more,...more
Juanita Rice
Here's a book that's a pleasure to read, everything ends happily, all the characters you get to know are good and decent and delightful, and it all ends happily—even the two or three deaths along the way are good. No one is hopelessly depressed or poor, although some may start that way. It's well-shaped and well-paced. The narrative is straightforward, although there is a good deal of past to incorporate that explains why, at first, so many of the people are loners.

Author Stephanie Kallos is a...more
Wfbcreeds
"The dead, Margaret thought. They can be so loud." So muses the protagonist of this dreamy, powerful tale of familial warring, secrets and redemption. When elderly Margaret Hughes discovers that she has a malignant brain tumor, she refuses treatment and decides to take a nice young tenant into her huge, lonely Seattle mansion for company. What she gets is Wanda Schultz, a tough-as-nails stage manager who is secretly seeking the man who left her and prone to inexplicable weeping breakdowns. Wanda...more
Amy
Broken for You. I had to take a breather on this one during the holidays. It's a bit of a downer. But, I'm back into it and enjoying it more now.

Well, I'm finished, and it was well worth the read.

This book reminds me of a film like Short Cuts or Magnolia in which we are given a glimpse into several lives and then as the movie progresses, or book in this case, we see how they all relate. By the end each loose end is serendipitously tied so that most of the characters, though their paths have bee...more
Amy
Broken for You started out slow, but I am so glad that I stuck with it. Kallos makes wonderful, crazy characters. You can feel their nurosies, understand their motivations and have a genuine attachment to them. The whole time I wanted to know more and more about Wanda and Margaret. I wanted to know where they come from, I wanted to scream at them and tell them they were being dumb.

Kallos introduces a wonderful ensemble of characters that entertwine around Margaret and Wanda. They each represe...more
Babs
Wanda is broken. But not broken enough. God or the universe or whatever you want to call it thinks she needs to be broken more so that she can be made whole. As if growing up deserted by her parents, becoming "the responsible one" at 5 for her aunt's 8 children and being left by her lover isn't broken enough. No, she, like all of us, has to go through the fire of hell and survive before she is finally given the gift of finding what she's been looking for all the time. Thousands of little broken...more
Karen
This probably deserves a 5 rating, but I am quirky about destroying things--even for a good cause. That being said, I was pulled into this book and cared very much for the characters and hoped for a good ending (even if not totally happy). I was satisfied, although in a couple of characters' cases, I wish the plot had moved in a slightly different direction--for example, something which would have made one character extremely happy was missed by only a few days.

The plot centers on an elderly wo...more
Rhonda Rae Baker
What a wonderfully developed story with deep emotions and interesting twists. I found myself called to this book from the shelves of my favorite second-hand bookstore and I'm happy that I listened to my heart. From the first pages, I was hooked and crying one-third of the way in. There were so many things that I related to and there were additional messages coming from deep within at every turn.

Interesting how the author separated the three parts as I was struck by curiosity when she used second...more
Sarah
Sep 25, 2011 Sarah rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: adults
Shelves: fiction
This story is about an elderly lady named Margaret who, once she learns that she has a brain tumor, decides to take in a boarder in her mansion (where she lives alone). After interviewing a few people, she settles on Wanda, a young woman who has traveled across the United States looking for the boyfriend who left her.

Wanda finds it strange that Margaret is able to rattle off the names of her precious figurines, dishes, and more with such detachment; Margaret finds it strange that Wanda is so clo...more
Michelle Hendricks
I finished the book but wouldn't recommend it. It had potential. Two women connect. Both lost souls in their own way. One woman, Margaret, has treasures (stolen by her father) from Holocaust victims. She understandably wants to atone and get rid of these items. She hasn't found a single owner though she has searched. Solution? Of course, have lost soul #2, Wanda, break priceless items and create mosaics out of them (She's never created art before but is about to become a famous artist using brok...more
Sharon
“Do you mind if I ask you a personal question? If you found out that you only had a short while to live, how would you spend your time?”
Margaret expected a superficial answer; Take up hang-gliding! Sail around the world! Race hot-air balloons! Something along those lines.
“I suppose I’d think about whatever it is that scares me the most—- relationship-wise, I mean—- and then do it. Do the opposite of what I’ve always done. It would be a last chance, wouldn’t it? To break all your old bad habits?”...more
Laura
An elderly woman who is confronting the reality of a terminal medical diagnosis lives alone in a stately mansion in Seattle. She decides to make some changes in her life and opens her previously museum-like home up by taking in a boarder. The person who moves in is a young, but serious and a bit depressed, woman who works in the arts and is dealing with her own issues. As the description says, “This launches a series of unanticipated events” which leads to a redemption of sorts for both characte...more
Courtney
Stephanie Kallos definitely has writing talent. Her story telling and plot development though need maturity. She creates beautiful passages and descriptions, but is still developing her skills at weaving them together into a satisfying plot. Overall, this was an easy, pleasant read, if depressing. The theme of "broken" is heavy throughout. This is a quick read.

I take some exception with her plot twist...you can't see it coming. I'm not sure if that makes it good and just surprising or awkward. T...more
Julie
This book was slow getting started but ended up being a great story. It is about an older woman who has a brain tumor and lives in a mansion by herself. She decides to change her life and invite boarders. The first girl that comes in is an orphan named Wanda who is looking for the man who dumped her. The story weaves in and out of their lives. The main focus of the story is the older woman’s possessions… her father had a huge collection of rare glass figures that were taken from Jewish people in...more
Pamela Mason
If you follow my reviews, you know that I rarely give 5 stars to anything. I know, I know... algorithm be damned - I want my five starred books to accurately reflect the superlative of the superlatives.
And Broken for You is one of the few superlatives that get my coveted five stars.

From the beginning this book gives what I want to read: S T O R Y. Margaret is dying of a brain tumor, and manages to stem its growth and stave off death by collecting the unwanteds to be family, beginning with Wand...more
Ellen
It looks like people either love or hate this book. That makes for a good novel, in my mind, as it's not just a mediocre read. I'm in the "liked it" category. Half way through it took some interesting turns and change of focus making the last half as enjoyable as the first. The connections made near the end, though maybe predictable for many readers, contributed to its enjoyment and quirkiness. Both of the main characters were struggling with their own unique issues, yet the two together were ab...more
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Stephanie Kallos spent twenty years in the theatre as an actor and teacher. Her short fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and received a Raymond Carver Award. Her first novel, BROKEN FOR YOU, received the Pacific Northwest Book Award, the Washington State Book Award, and was chosen by Sue Monk Kidd as the December 2004 selection for "The Today Show." Her second novel, SING THEM HOME, w...more
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“Less is less. Heartbreak is heartbreak. You think I'm sitting here gloating. Telling myself that my suffering beats yours? Hurt is hurt. You don't measure these things.” 196 likes
“Her heart was finished. It bore, perhaps, records of life, but it wasn't alive. Too late for decoration. Too late for effects. Further handling could only result in cracks and fractures. People could cut themselves on the edgesof her heart, she was sure of it.” 60 likes
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