El's Reviews > Broken

Broken by Daniel Clay
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's review
Jan 19, 12

really liked it
bookshelves: 21st-centurylit, cuckoos
Recommended to El by: Petra
Read from January 15 to 18, 2012

This is one messed up little book.

I'm going to say something here now that I wasn't sure about until I finished the book and read the author interview at the end, but that I think could have helped me enjoy the book more if I had realized it sooner: This book was inspired by To Kill a Mockingbird. I thought it was obvious throughout, but then I started thinking that maybe Clay was going to try to pass it off like it's nothing like Lee's novel, and that concept turned me off. I couldn't get over the connections; the characters' names, their relationships, and certain situations were all so apparent. Had I known from the beginning that Clay was inspired by and admitted to these comparisons, I wouldn't have felt like I was being cheated and maybe would have had a better appreciation straight off the bat.

If To Kill a Mockingbird took place in modern England today, and Atticus's name was Archie, Scout's name was Skunk, Jem's name was Jed, Calpurnia's name was Cerys, Dill's name was Dillon, the Ewell family was actually the Oswald family, and Boo Radley's name was Broken; and if Atticus and Calpurnia got it on together; and if... oh, you get the point. There are a lot of similarities.

This doesn't make this a bad book. It's like To Kill a Mockingbird written in British slang where the story of TKaM that everyone knows and loves goes completely supernova on your face. I mean, there's a lot of melodrama in this little book. A lot. I remember being a younger reader and reading John Irving's The World According to Garp and thinking at that time "Holy crap, that's a lot of drama!" Looking back I do believe that Broken takes the cake when it comes to cramming in as much melodramatic tension in such a small space.

Broken (of the title) is actually a young man whose real name at one time used to be Rick Bradley. A few years before the story starts, the reader learns that one of the Oswald daughters told her father that Rick raped her and Rick got his ass beat by her dad. Bob Oswald beat Rick Bradley so badly, something inside Rick broke. He was never the same again. He was, for all intents and purposes, a bit insane. He became Broken.

But that all took place before the story even started! It was referred to in flashbacks and memories, it's just the back-story. The story itself has no end of additional violence, drama, drugs, alcohol, sex, lies, violence, some more violence, then a bit more violence. I purposely didn't look up anything abou tthis book before I started to read because I wanted to be surprised. It was recommended to me by one of my GR friends, and that's all I needed to know. By the end of the book, I was blown away. Quite a bit disgusted and upset. But blown away too.

This is a powerful book, and one that will stick with me for a while. Don't be distracted by the TKaM similarities, because it will distract you from the book itself. Just read it and enjoy it. There's a powerful message in there if you take the time.
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Reading Progress

01/16/2012 page 45

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Deb (new) - added it

Deb Rick Buckley

message 2: by El (new) - rated it 4 stars

El Yup, thanks.

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