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This review is from: Broken (Paperback)
This book is ambitious. The appendix of the book lists over a dozen major characters and throughout the story we get to see the world through their eyes, if only for just a moment. The Author grasped my attention through unfair means, I am a native Pittsburgher and Steelers Fan and Jerome Bettis makes a cameo in the book in the first few pages. However, once that scene was over, I was interested enough in the characters. The first point-of-view shift occurs after two of the characters violently interact physically. This was sufficiently jarring to introduce what is a major narrative device in the book, the shifting point-of-view of the characters throughout the novel.
I'll admit, I was skeptical at first. The story was gripping from the first dozen pages, but I found myself wondering whether or not the story would be better served or more clearly connected were the story written entirely in the the third person. I didn't think of it again until when I finished the book and I realized that it couldn't have been written any other way. As much of a part of the story as the events that happen to the characters are, what constitutes a larger understanding of it all comes from not only the characters' thoughts but also their view of the world.
To not get into specific detail about the scenes, as the element of surprise in the connections is another fun aspect to the story, but in different instances we see the same scene from different characters' perspectives. This serves to show that the reality of a situation is subjective; what one character might find an embarrassing circumstance another finds endearing, among others.
Another benefit of of the multi-perspective storytelling is that it serves for the ending to feel more like a real life one. Some are happy. Some are tragic. All of them are fully realized changes in character that exemplify all aspects of the human mood: despair, joy, sadness, anger, murder, rape, relations with others of different genders and races, Love, and HOPE. It is the type of story that gets better after repeated readings. It would make a particularly good film or even series. Broken is a story that is wildly original, but resonates with an honesty of feeling that readers can find in the important stories in the history of countless literary cultures.