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The Road Back From Broken

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For Fitz, having survived means being haunted by the very memories he wants to forget...

Four months after surviving an IED blast in Afghanistan, Army sergeant Jacob Fitzgerald has recovered from his physical injuries but his invisible wounds continue to fester.

Devastated by the loss of his friend Peterson, a gifted medic who was killed in the IED attack, Fitz turns to alcohol to dull his pain. But his solace proves short-lived when a DUI crash leaves Fitz one screw-up away from a court martial and he comes home to find his wife Jenn packing her bags.

Desperate to save his marriage and his Army career, Fitz is befriended by Remy, a young Army chaplain haunted by demons of his own. Fitz leans on Remy for support when sobriety proves a mixed blessing, bringing the clarity of mind needed to reconnect with his family while unleashing a flood of vivid, searing flashbacks.

As the haunting memories of the IED attack and his fallen comrade send Fitz into a spiral of anguish, he must choose between numbing the pain and losing both his family and his career, or coming to terms with his role in the death of his friend.

Kindle Edition

First published October 20, 2015

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About the author

Carrie Morgan

1 book27 followers
A lawyer by training but a storyteller at heart, Carrie Morgan grew up in Littleton, Colorado but now lives in Florida with her husband, a U.S. Army infantry veteran.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 8 of 8 reviews
Profile Image for Amber.
153 reviews
December 17, 2015
One of the marks of a well-written novel (for me, anyway) is that the story taps into universal experiences and emotions in a way that transcends genre. For example: I'm generally not fussy on fantasy as a genre, but I do love certain works of fantasy. While Morgan's debut, The Road Back From Broken, is the story of a military family struggling beneath the weight of psychological combat scars, it manages to both realistically immerse the reader in the American military and connect with broader experiences of isolation, guilt and the life events that forever change us.

Jacob "Fitz" Fitzgerald is, on paper, the ideal solider. Special Forces, Green Beret, decorated in combat and highly respected by his team. His family--wife Jennifer and son Ryan--understand the rhythm and flow of duty overseas and the return home. But the man they both said goodbye to has not returned home. His friend lost in battle, Fitz bears the scars of that horrific loss both within and without. Like many struggling with grief and trauma, Fitz chooses to self-medicate, pushing away the pain with bottle after bottle.

After a near-miss that threatens his family and his own life, his world crashes down, forcing him to hit rock bottom. He can either face the battlefield in his mind, or lose everything that matters most to him.

There are several things I absolutely love about this book. For one, despite my painful lack of background knowledge regarding the military, I never felt overwhelmed or confused by the jargon and protocols that shape Fitz's everyday world. Morgan deftly keeps conversations natural and action flowing, while finding ways to keep readers like me "in the know".

Secondly, as someone who has battled PTSD (and used alcohol as a coping mechanism), I found Fitz to be authentic in voice and action. This is a difficult task, as people who've never experienced the illness first hand often find accurate depictions to be at turns unlikeable or frustrating. But that's the thing: people coping with trauma can be very difficult to help. The nightmare that lives in the head and heart is difficult to see beyond or shake free of. Fitz's flashbacks are vivid, rich portraits of a world that has shattered around him, and they made me love his lost comrade as much as he did. This made Fitz's grief all the more palpable.

Last, but certainly not least, the secondary character of Remy, the army chaplain who becomes a trusted confidant during Fitz's struggle, is phenomenal. For me, books are far more satisfying when the secondary characters truly pop off the page and come alive, as opposed to remaining two-dimensional, tired tropes (e.g. the goofy best friend). Remy allows us to glimpse another side of Fitz, pulling threads of painful truth from the troubled soldier like taffy. Like any good friend, he is supportive, but also challenges Fitz when needed.

(I declare myself President of the Remy Appreciation Society and am accepting memberships.)

ROAD is a story of love, above all else: love of friends, family, and oneself. It is a journey back from the brink and a testament to what our servicemen and women endure abroad in the name of the countries we love, and an exploration of the way silence can only salt the wounds, while speaking up can set us free. Timely and touching on critical issues including the need for strong support mechanism for trauma survivors, as well as other issues I won't name so as to keep the final reveals as powerful as they were for me, it is a powerful debut from an author I will be following in the future. I cannot recommend it enough.
Profile Image for Kelly Sedinger.
Author 6 books23 followers
December 15, 2015
THE ROAD BACK FROM BROKEN is a quiet book in which not a lot "happens". It's not a book with a great deal of plot. Rather, it's a book in which we join an Army sergeant, Jacob Fitzgerald, as his life spins out of control as he struggles with PTSD and survivor's guilt after an IED blast kills his best friend and wounds him very badly. Fitzgerald turns to alcohol and drives his wife and son away...and that's where the book begins. ROAD BACK is an unflinching look at the obstacles in Fitzgerald's way as he tries to heal both himself and the family he has nearly destroyed.

When I call the book 'plotless', I mean that as a compliment. ROAD BACK doea not rely on large moments to make its points; there is no maudlin climax during which Fitzgerald is having a flashback and threatening to harm himself or others, until his fearless wife can talk him off the ledge. There is simply a long sequence of steps, some forward and some back, that always feel real. Author Morgan writes with a matter-of-fact style that nevertheless conveys the deep emotions involved and the lessons learned along the way. Morgan's attention to detail is superb as well; at times I wondered why she would show some of the details she did, but a lot of times those details show how large seemingly mundanr things can loom for soldiers trying to rebuild normal lives. One particular detail, a family's generational love of a certain kind of soda pop, especially rings true (I can't drink Diet Pepsi without thinking of my own father, for example).

ROAD BACK closes with a turning of the page, but not an ending. For the duration of the book I felt like I was in the company of real people, and now I wonder how their lives have turned out since.
Author 5 books12 followers
March 22, 2016
From the description, I expected to enjoy The Road Back from Broken. I had waited for months for its publication with high hopes that the unique characters would carry me along with them on an emotional journey, and it delivered just that. But I was surprised by the great detail Carrie Morgan incorporated into her storytelling. The amount of research she put into writing The Road was an unexpected gift to me as a reader. I learned a lot about the military, both past and present. Don't let that put you off if you aren't into military novels because The Road does not exactly fit into that category. It carves out its own category by incorporating many, which might be evident by the diverse reviewers here. No matter which community you are in, there is a truth in The Road relative to your life. All of these different strands of interest weave through the story effortlessly without feeling forced, which is how life really is. I recommend this book often and with confidence that it will be equally loved by others.
Profile Image for Allison Maruska.
Author 29 books123 followers
December 22, 2015
Great read that's full of heart

The Road Back From Broken takes a serious and real look at how deployments and military life affect not only the soldier but also those closest to him. Morgan has written deep and meaningful characters that draw you into Fitz's story as he learns about his role in the army and in his own family. I enjoyed watching Fitz move along his well-defined arc. I'm rating it four stars because the narrative was a little slow in spots and omniscient POV isn't my favorite, but that shouldn't stop anyone from picking this one up. It's definitely worth the read.
Profile Image for Sandra.
37 reviews13 followers
October 21, 2015
I didn't think I'd be so emotional after reading this.

Wow. I loved Road. It made me remember how quiet my parents were when my Dad returned from Vietnam. I'd forgotten the tension that surrounded us. We were happy and sad.

I loved the characters and how they interacted. I felt like I was right there with them. Jenn, Fitz and Ryan are a good family unit. They aren't perfect...which makes them real. I loved Remy and Cody.

I hope Ms. Morgan continues to write. She's a great storyteller.

I'm going to send my sister a copy along with a box of tissues
Profile Image for Julie.
664 reviews18 followers
October 16, 2015
I love to read a good book about Military life and the Road Back From Broken is one of them. It is a strong story about a man who is not dealing well after coming back from his latest deployment. I also loved the ties to family and the history of the main character's family. She touches on the different people who are affected by a soldier's deployments and the hard years that Military life can bring.
Profile Image for Rick.
166 reviews3 followers
November 11, 2015
This book blew me away. I couldn't put it down and finished it in a single day. Great story, and the author has an amazing gift for writing emotional scenes -- I really connected with the characters and the story. If someone you love is or was serving in uniform, or in combat I would highly recommend you give this a read.
Profile Image for CJ.
191 reviews10 followers
September 14, 2016
Read this for class, and ended up understanding it far better than I thought I would.

Is it sick of me to say that it was almost too happy?
Displaying 1 - 8 of 8 reviews

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