I downloaded “Broken Pieces” by ace author Rachel Thompson, having been intrigued by the wide range of reviews this novel has. Generally, it’s well liked, well reviewed, and “well selling,” so my hat’s off to Rachel’s success.
“Broken Pieces” is an autobiographical story told in “Pieces” about the author’s past experiences that left her in “Pieces.” The chapters change formats from prose to 6-line non-rhyming poetry (what is that called??), off and on to variable stories so the title is clever because it applies to the story and it applies to the writing format, a maneuver I found to be innovative.
The autobiographical point of view is very intimate, focused mainly on disturbing relationships with men in her past. While autobiographies to me are hazardous, the level of intimacy to me extends to many women who have had similar negative experiences and climbed out of the darkness; hence, putting the “Pieces” of their lives back together. Many serious issues regarding women are addressed in the author’s life, such as domestic violence, suicide, pedophiles, and over-the-top dates. I found these issues to be compelling and appropriate for the message in this novel, which to me is an easy five stars for this kind of book.
After I finished, I went back and read the one star reviews. Most of them had not finished the book, which I read in about an hour. To me this points out a couple of things: 1) Readers are impatient 2) Readers have an expectation. If a writer breaks a few rules in the eyes of a reader, they put it down and move on. I’ve seen this with my own novels. Sometimes the message will not reach the reader.
I still think writers should be innovative and write what they know, and in this case, Rachel wrote what she knew: The bad times in her life and that she brought herself together. At one time or another, all of us experience a moment when we lay in Broken Pieces and find the strength to stand on our own again.