Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Disrupted Lives - A Book Review
I am so honored to have had the chance to review a book by Brenda Youngerman. Many of you may know Brenda through her blog Brenda Youngerman, Ponderings of an Author here on Blogger. She is a multitalented young woman, who keeps up an active blog, hosts a weekly blog meme, Pondering with a Purpose, has written several published books, amongst so many other activities she is involved in. One of her passions is working with the homeless and many (if not all that she can) Saturday mornings she is actively participating in a ministry that goes out "into the trenches" so to speak and provides food to those that are homeless.
Recently Brenda had a blog party to promote her new book Skewered Halo where people could read her new book and give a review on their blog. They in turn would be entered into winning some great prizes. I was very much interested in participating but knew with my busy schedule, let's not forget the A/Z Challenge plus my mandatory overtime at work, I knew I wouldn't be able to get the book read in time. Brenda was so gracious to have me pick any her books that she had written and kindly sent me an autographed copy of it to review. Thanks Brenda!.
Disrupted Lives is the sixth book Brenda has had published and the first one I have read of hers. It definitely will not be the last one.. She is a very talented author that can weave a story, keeping one's interest in it and one wondering where next the plot line may go.
Disrupted Lives' theme is literally as the name implies. Several of the main characters' lives have been disrupted through various series of events. The book tells the stories of two families, one over a span of 70 years, the other over a span of 40 years. The first family, the Kanes, is a family of money from the south led by a formidable matriarch, Fiona Lake, who is sharp and smart with business, highly opinionated and will do just about anything to have people succumb to what she wants them to do. She tries to be very actively involved in the lives of her five children, several who have rejected her involvement and have gone their own way, not wanting to have anything more to do with her or have failed at what she wanted them to do with their lives.
Her son, Chad, however is a successful lawyer in his own right. He is influenced by her but does not allow her to completely take over his life. He marries Lori, who was raised differently, and together they try to start a family, only to find out that pregnancy is not happening in their time frame.
They decide to adopt and that is how we meet the second main family in the book. Amelia and Darren are young people in love at a time right before the Vietnam draft is instituted. Darren, a year ahead of Amelia in school, decides to postpone college by one year to stay closer to her. That decision would later prove to be a wrong one in that his birth date is the first number picked for the draft and he is drafted into the military. Meanwhile Amelia finds out she is pregnant six weeks after he has left and her family, ashamed at her predicament, ships her out of state to a home for unwed moms to have her baby. She does not realize her baby will be put up for adoption.
Chad and Lori Lake adopt Darren and Amelia's baby boy, Ben. The story unfolds over the years of them raising him and their two subsequent biological children that they have. Meanwhile, Amelia and Darren have found each other again after being separated during his military service, something that their parents had done to keep them apart, but eventually they are reunited, marry and have children of their own.
Amelia is troubled in her dreams wondering what happened to her first child she had. She didn't even know it was a boy or a girl.
The story continues to unfold over the years of raising children, sending them off to college, for both families. Not to spoil the outcome of anyone who wants to read the book, I won't say whether or not the birth parents make contact with their biological son or other events that cause lives to have been disrupted. The ending was not predictable, was a bit surprising, but was a satisfying one and didn't leave any answers.
My thoughts about the book, I enjoyed it. It was a complex plot written over several decades with several interesting twists throughout the book. Brenda wrote it well, keeping my interest as I stated above, and wove the story as the pages unfolded. She made one thing of how what seems like an innocent decision, as in the case of Darren and Amelia to postpone going to college for one year, could have such an impact on the rest of their lives and disrupt not only their lives but the lives of several others around them. She also took a sensitive issue like adoption and acceptability into a family through adoption and not birth and explored it in a couple of different angles that made one think and ponder one's own reactions if faced with such a decision or choice in addition of a family member. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a new author to read, and I do look forward to reading more of her books in the future.
Thanks Brenda for the opportunity to read and review this book. Definitely a very good read.