Friday, August 19, 2016

Book Review of Broken Like Glass by EJ McCay

I loved Broken LikeGlass by EJ McCay, and have already read parts of it again. I will probably eventually re-read the whole book, which really says something about it. As busy as I am, and as many books as I have on my reading list, if I’m willing to invest my time in a book twice, that book deserves five stars!

I was hooked on BrokenLike Glass from page one and couldn’t put it down. The story begins just after the main character, Lilly nearly goes to jail for stabbing her Daddy, who is actually her adopted father, but more on that later.

Because Lilly can’t actually vocalize why she stabbed her father, the judge orders her to go to therapy to dig into her past and try to find out. There’s always a reason why someone suddenly hurts someone else. People don’t just stab someone out of the blue; there has to be a provocation. Kudos to the judge for trying to find out why, rather than just throwing Lilly in jail.

The story focuses heavily on an internal dialogue between Lilly and God, who she refers to as ‘Papa’ but more on that in a minute. Lilly describes God as if he’s really sitting right there in the chair next to her, and talking to her, and looking at her, and coming and going, and poking her in the heart.

Lilly is also caught in a love triangle between two guys neither of whom she’s seen in fifteen years, but both of whom had a crush on her back when they were young and neither of whom have had any relationships in between then and now. There were hints here and there that Lilly had a bit of a shady past with guys during those interim years and may have done things she wasn’t proud of.

The local bartender, Fancy refers to Lilly at one point as her “favorite nerd” yet Lilly talks with a snarky, back-woods twang and thinks of herself as no-good trash. She also supposedly is a successful business woman with a career that she just puts on hold in another town far away. The reader never feels Lilly as being happy so we never see her smile, yet one of the guys in her love triangle is constantly telling her she’s beautiful. I just can’t picture a sullen, depressed, back-woods trash girl who never smiles as being a nerd and/or beautiful and/or a successful business woman. It just doesn’t fit.

All the names of kinfolk were confusing. Lilly calls God ‘Papa,’ the man who raised/adopted her is called Daddy but he’s not actually her Daddy, he’s her Grandpa except at one point the bar tender, Fancy makes reference to Lilly’s biological grandpa which led me to believe that there was another man in there somewhere. Then later Fancy tells Lilly that she has a half-brother somewhere because Grandpa/Daddy had a son who lives “somewhere up North East” who she’s never met and they never talked about much. So, technically that half-brother would actually be a half-uncle, unless of course Grandpa/Daddy is not actually her biological grandpa, in which case the half-brother/half-uncle wouldn’t actually be related at all. Lilly’s biological grandma, who she calls Momma, adopted her when Lilly’s biological mom ran off. Grandma/Momma’s name was Lula but Lilly was named after her great-grandma Lillian, who ‘by adoption’ is now her grandma. Lilly’s biological dad was Lula’s son (from a previous marriage – okay, now I see where there actually is a biological grandpa out there somewhere who is not the man who raised her or her biological dad) and Lilly’s biological dad would come around for a few days at a time over the years and then would leave again. No wonder Lilly’s crazy and has blocked out half her childhood!

The real reason she stabbed her Daddy is actually quite predictable, but the true story of the book is Lilly’s journey of discovery. Grab some Kleenex and be sure you have a few free hours of time when you read this because you won’t be able to put this book down! And if you’ve ever had any type of abusive relationship in your past, be prepared to dredge up some old wounds as well. Personally, I think almost everyone will be able to relate in some way to this story. It just touches on so many different parts of our lives and the interconnectedness of the people in our past, present, and future. Wow, okay, quite a story.

Have you read BrokenLike Glass by EJ McCay? What’s your opinion? –Julie L. Spencer

Other Books by EJ McCay:

Charitable Hearts is really good! I'll write a review for it one of these days.

I'm reading Called Warrior right now, so I'll write a review sometime after I'm done.