Linda Dale's Reviews > Broken for You

Broken for You by Stephanie Kallos
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Jan 19, 08

it was amazing

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 Wanda, a young woman who is tethered to nothing except her pain, and searching for the ‘man that got away’. Both women are drowning in their pain.

A recipe for a book I would normally avoid at all costs. In Kallos’ hands though, this story is warm, charming, improbable, touching, funny, anything but grim. A small example of how Kallos handles this strange story: before she can take in a boarder, Margaret is compelled to confer with her ‘collection’, to make sure she has their approval. Kallos’ uses this to let the reader know just how important this collection has become to Margaret. The old woman works through how she will break the news, rather like a CEO who has decided his company should make a major acquisition and is comtemplating how best to approach his board of directors.

Margaret is a woman I liked almost immediately. She is reserved, yet polite and caring. She is bright and steel-willed, yet always willing to listen to others’ points of view.

Wanda was a little harder to like, an artistic prickly waif who is a peace maker at heart, yet with underpinnings of anger that make her surly and unpleasant when she is confronted with people that try to reach out to her.

“Broken’ is full of coincidences that you might just dismiss as clumsy plot devices, except you can’t because they are so intriguing. You want to see where they lead. Many of them are so obvious that you KNOW where they are leading. But still you keep turning the pages. Then add a couple of ghosts.

The only flaw for me were all the dream descriptions. Many of them seemed very contrived. They detracted from the narrative, but they didn’t ruin it.

Put all these elements together and you get a thoroughly pleasant read that will keep you smiling for days after you reluctantly come to the last page.
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