Thursday, October 23, 2014

Review: Accidents of Marriage

Summary: From the bestselling author of The Comfort of Lies, an engrossing look at the darker side of a marriage—and at how an ordinary family responds to an extraordinary crisis.

Maddy is a social worker trying to balance her career and three children. Years ago, she fell in love with Ben, a public defender, drawn to his fiery passion, but now he’s lashing out at her during his periodic verbal furies. She vacillates between tiptoeing around him and asserting herself for the sake of their kids—which works to keep a fragile peace—until the rainy day when they’re together in the car and Ben’s volatile temper gets the best of him, leaving Maddy in the hospital fighting for her life.

Randy Susan Meyers takes us inside the hearts and minds of her characters, alternating among the perspectives of Maddy, Ben, and their fourteen-year-old daughter. Accidents of Marriage is a provocative and stunning novel that will resonate deeply with women from all walks of life, ultimately revealing the challenges of family, faith, and forgiveness. -- Atria

I'm not sure what I was thinking when I picked up ACCIDENTS OF MARRIAGE by Randy Susan Meyers. Actually, that's not entirely true. I have always enjoyed novels by Ms. Meyers, and I think she is a fabulous writer who creates memorable characters. So naturally, I wanted to read her latest novel. And while I know Ms. Meyers isn't afraid to take on difficult issues, ACCIDENTS OF MARRIAGE dealt with an extremely disturbing issue. It wasn't exactly an easy read for me, but it was a very good one!

ACCIDENTS OF MARRIAGE delves into a "normal" family that experiences a huge tragedy. The mother, Maddy, is a social worker who deals with abused women. She also is doing her best to hold down the fort for her husband and three children. (As any working mom knows, it's not easy!) Her husband, Ben, is a public defender who has become more and more aggressive with Maddy through the years. Maddy tries to keep the peace, but she sometimes challenges Ben if it's for the sake of the children.

One day, Ben's temper spins out of control when he encounters an aggressive driver. Ben gives new meaning to the term road rage, and he loses control of his car. Ben escapes with minor injuries, but Maddy is seriously injured with possible brain damage.

ACCIDENTS OF MARRIAGE is a wonderful book; however, it was not an easy read for me. Maybe it's because I am a mother, but this book hit a little too close to home for me. Not because of Ben and his anger issues. Rather because what happened to Maddy could happen to me (or any of my family members for that matter), and it was terrifying to see how everyone was affected by this accident.

Ms. Meyers is truly a special writer and if you haven't read any of her novels, you are truly missing out. She has a unique ability to create not only memorable characters but very real ones. She gets to the heart of the matter in her stories, and she creates characters that resonate with female readers. She also makes her readers think and I think that might be one of her most special skills.

In ACCIDENTS OF MARRIAGE, Ms. Meyers explores what happens to a family after the primary caregiver can no longer complete her responsibilities. In the case of Maddy, she was initially fighting for her life and then she was trying to cope with the challenges of her damaged brain. Her husband, who wasn't always the most hands on dad, was "forced" to man-up and take charge of the house and family. Needless to say, this wasn't easy for him.

While my heart absolutely broke for Maddy and her children, my feelings about Ben were torn. (Honestly, torn might be too generous.) I was furious with him for his treatment of Maddy prior to the accident, during the accident, and even after the accident. I found Ben's behavior to be extremely interesting (you need to read this book to see what he did), and it was apparent to me that Ms. Meyers has "known" a man or two like Ben through her experiences with abused women.

I have to warn you that ACCIDENTS OF MARRIAGE isn't an easy read. Though being very well-written, the entire subject matter made me very depressed and uncomfortable. Having said that, I did "enjoy" the book and by that I mean I really appreciated it! I do think Ms. Meyers walked a fine line in dealing with such a serious topic, and she successfully managed to cover more issues than just the accident and Maddy's recovery. In fact, many of the issues she delved into are very relevant for women and families in today's society.

Finally, I don't want you to think that this book doesn't have its "good" moments -- it's not all sad! I admit that I was a bit surprised by how this book ended, but it was very satisfying for me. I really enjoyed seeing how Maddie recovered from the accident, but I also liked seeing how she eventually dealt with Ben. I also was touched by how Maddy's children coped with everything.

ACCIDENTS OF MARRIAGE would make a wonderful book club selection especially for groups with mothers. There is a reading guide available with twelve interesting questions. Some of the themes you might want to discuss include family, grief, abuse, anger, marriage, commitment, obligation, love, religion, and forgiveness.

ACCIDENTS OF MARRIAGE is a well-written and thought-provoking novel. Highly recommended.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.


bermudaonion said...

I haven't read Meyers yet, can you believe that? I love to read about the type of issues she takes on and this book sounds right up my alley, even if it isn't an easy book to read.

OnDBookshelf said...

I just ordered this one. It will likely be a difficult subject to read about, but I've read really good reviews about it.

Kim@Time2Read said...

I'm reading this one now. I'll come back after I've written my review!