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The Broken Places [Kindle Edition]

Susan Perabo
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.99
Kindle Price: $11.02
You Save: $5.97 (35%)
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc

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Book Description

Susan Perabo's short-story collection, Who I Was Supposed to Be, was named a Best Book of 1999 by the Los Angeles Times, The Miami Herald, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Boston Globe proclaimed the debut "a stunning introduction to a fresh new literary talent." Now Susan Perabo returns with The Broken Places, her eagerly anticipated novel about love and honor and how the aftermath of one terrifying night -- and one heroic act -- affects a close-knit family.
Twelve-year-old Paul Tucker knows his family is something akin to royalty in small-town Casey, Pennsylvania. His father, Sonny, is a dedicated career fireman, in line for the position of chief, long held by Paul's late grandfather, a local legend whose heroics continue to occupy the hearts and minds of all who knew and worked with him. Paul's mother, Laura, is a math teacher at the high school; Paul is sometimes annoyed by her worries over him (and her apparent lack of worry over his father), but his life is generally untroubled, his future bright, his time measured by sport seasons.
But on a windy October day, the collapse of an abandoned farmhouse forever alters the fates and perceptions of Paul, his family, and those closest to them. Sonny and the other Casey firemen attempt a dangerous rescue to reach a teenager buried under the rubble, and when Sonny himself is trapped by a secondary collapse, Paul, his mother, and the crowd of onlookers believe the worst. The wait is excruciating; it's baby Jessica all over again, but this time the "innocent victim" is sixteen-year-old Ian Finch, a swastika-tattooed hoodlum who may have brought the house down on himself while building bombs. Still, when Sonny emerges from the rubble hours later, the maimed teenager in his arms, the rescue becomes a minor miracle and a major public relations event, a validation of all things American and true. Sonny is immediately hailed as a national hero. And Paul's life is suddenly, and irrevocably, changed.
Beyond the limelight, the parades, and the intrusion of the national media into a quiet and predictable life, the Tucker household balance is upset. And Ian Finch's curious and continued involvement in Sonny's life creates a new and troubling set of hurdles for Paul to overcome. Somehow, though his father has been saved, he continues to slip through Paul's fingers. Secrets, lies, and changing alliances threaten Paul's relationship with his father and his mother and his understanding of what holds a family -- and a town -- together.
The Broken Places is a brilliant meditation on the psychology of heroism, the definition of family, and the true meaning of honor. With pitch-perfect dialogue, subtle but stunning insights, and a dazzling ability to uncork the quiet power of each character, Susan Perabo's The Broken Places uncovers and celebrates the unsettling truths of human nature.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Small-town fame is a blessing at first and then a curse in this modest, carefully composed novel about the 12-year-old descendant of two generations of heroic firemen. Growing up in Casey, Pa., Paul Tucker lives an idyllic life of bike rides, Frisbee golf and Pony football, evading his worrywart mom, Laura, and worshipping his firefighter dad, Sonny. Then one day, Sonny is called to a collapsed house to rescue 16-year-old Ian Finch, a swastika-tattooed rebel who was experimenting with explosives. While Ian's foot is trapped under the wreckage, another wall falls, and Sonny is caught, too. Hours later the two emerge, Ian missing one foot. Besieged by the media, Sonny is soon propelled from local hero to national celebrity. The Tuckers are unsettled by the publicity which culminates in a realistically ludicrous made-for-TV movie but also by Sonny's nervous need for fame. What really happened under the collapsed house, and who was the true hero? As his family deteriorates and his dad begins to fall apart, Paul is hastened toward adulthood by the discovery that love sometimes requires compassion and courage. Perabo was widely praised for Who I Was Supposed to Be, her first collection of stories, and her debut novel is confident and well-crafted. She builds her world out of many carefully chosen details; even the most incidental characters are fully formed, fully present. Her protagonist is such a real boy that he gives credibility to the novel's most sensational events simply by experiencing them, and his thoughtful wonder makes the universal truths of growing up seem new. Agent, Elyse Cheney. 5-city author tour.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Twelve-year-old Paul Tucker is an athletic, well-liked kid leading a fairly idyllic existence. His mother is the high-school teacher everyone has a crush on; his father, Sonny, is a legendary second-generation fireman in their small Pennsylvania town. A burnt building collapses while Sonny tries to rescue Ian, a rebellious teen with a swastika tattoo, but both survive. The rescue makes heroes of Sonny and Ian, with a Hollywood movie in the works, but Sonny descends into a deep and puzzling depression that pulls him further from his family. In unaffected prose sparked with well-chosen detail, Perabo, author of the acclaimed story collection Who I Was Supposed to Be (1999), explores themes of personal failure, fear, social prejudice, and family secrets while telling a gripping coming-of-age story. Best are the tense, heartbreaking scenes between Paul and his father that show the trauma of discovering a parent's deepest weaknesses and how children forgive and accept. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 346 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0747561672
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (November 3, 2001)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FBJGLI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,269,373 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tough, honest first novel July 25, 2001
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
In this novel, Perabo deftly examines the myths that inform our lives, our families, our communities, and the way those myths are distorted by pressures that gather within the very structures they try to explain. Heroism, self-sacrifice, and grace under pressure all become corrosive elements within the small and fragile family she depicts through the eyes of its 12 year old son, Paul Tucker. The novel moves us with its characters as it forces us to think about its ideas, with just enough suspense thrown into the mix to keep us turning pages. Spare and haunting, smart and unblinking, a wonderful first novel.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This was a find! August 20, 2001
Format:Hardcover
There are books that you read in a few hours, there are books you only read now and then, and then there are books that you begin reading Saturday morning and don't put down until the sun is already well across the sky, becuase you can't. One of the most interesting things about The Broken Places is through out a great deal of the story there is no great physical action taking place, and yet you feel pulled to turn the page. I enjoy the way Ms. Parebo allows you to see the story from different points of view, and feel the changes that happen in people as they come to grips with who they really are. The Broken places is a story about truth, and how different that can be to each person effected by one event. How refreshing to see someone acknowledge that in a story that isn't always comfortable.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a fine read July 23, 2001
Format:Hardcover
I loved this book. The style is beautifully simple and unsentimental--a bit like Raymond Carver or Tobias Wolff, only things actually happen. The story centers around the young son of a fireman involved in an accident, and it takes some surprising yet plausible turns. The characters are very real and complicated, and you keep seeing them differently as the novel progresses. Funny and wise by turns. I wished it was longer.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This should be made into a movie! September 26, 2001
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I've read several first novels this summer and this one is my favorite. I began, trying to be a critical reviewer, but was caught up in the story, the development of the characters and their interaction. It was so real that I found myself wanting to reach out, to comfort, to encourage each relationship. The surprising thing is that Ms. Perabo is so young to have such an understanding of the complexities of human relationships with their ebb and flow. If someone doesn't make a movie of this novel they are missing a sure hit! I look forward to more from Ms. Perabo! By the way, I make sure that everyone of my grandchildren's grade school teachers gets a present of her book "Writers in the Schools: a Guide to Teaching Creative Writing in the Classroom" to start each school year! If you have children, or grandchildren, you'll want to read that too!
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