- File Size: 3647 KB
- Print Length: 430 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Creativia; 3 edition (April 2, 2018)
- Publication Date: April 2, 2018
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07BW77CWQ
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #702,116 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Father Figure: A Novel Kindle Edition
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Told with alternating points of view and alternating timelines. As with most books involving alternating timelines, part of the draw is seeing how the stories are connected. Both characters are similar in that they are teenagers wanting to be on their own and away from home. That's where the similarities end though, because they have very different reasons for wanting to escape their hometown lives.
Amalia is an insecure teen in Mississippi. She is naive, lonely, and hopeful. She wants to leave her small town and escape her abusive mother. She also wants to fall in love.
Brianna is an angsty teen in New York City. She is sassy, selfish, and independent. She is struggling with two main issues, her sexuality and her father's identity. She is sometimes attracted to men, but she is also finding herself attracted to her best friend. As for her father's identity, her mother has been less than forthcoming about him, so Brianna sets out to find who he is on her own.
I really only had one issue with this book, but it held me back from truly connecting with the characters. This falls under books about teenage girls written by men, so not always a convincing female perspective. I will say that I enjoyed Amalia and was hoping for the best with her story. I really didn't care for Brianna. She was too dramatic, and kind of hurtful to the people she supposedly cared about.
A contemporary story with an intriguing mystery. Tragic and heartbreaking.
Twenty years ago, Amalia suffered from the actions and words of an abusive mother. Her father tried to soften the pain, showing more understanding, but unfortunately not brave enough to stand up to his wife. He was the only person that comforted her in her young age. Still, she had to leave Brant and start a new life. Life plays with us often and it played big with Amelia too while she was in college. Instead of starting a new beautiful life, being happily in-love, she experienced a series of events that made her run away. What was supposed to be her way out proved to be another painful period. What did she do? She ran away and decided to keep the past buried. Was this the best decision? Did she manage to finally be happy and live a careless life? Was love again in the cards for her? The future will show.
Now, twenty years later, Brianna was about to start college and turning 18 made her wish to find out who her father is stronger. She was at a point in life where she wanted to find answers about herself too, including her true sexuality. She felt the need to find out more about her family. Do we really need to know where we come from to know who we are?
Humorous at times, this beautifully written and perfectly paced story deals with many themes (aggressive behaviors, physical and emotional abuse, family issues, sexuality, etc) that are far from being happy, but are definitely a part of the real life.
The characters are strong, well-described, and unique. The twists and turns, with a dash of mystery, are often unexpected. A real page-turner and another proof that the author is one of my favorites.
Quote from the book: “Life just happens sometimes. You can't predict it. You don't know where it will drop you off unexpectedly. You only get to pick up the pieces when it's all said and done.”
Amalia grew up in the small town of Brant, Mississippi, the abused daughter of a jealous and spiteful mother, who suffers from diabetes, and a weak and insipid father, who turns a blind eye to his wife's physical and verbal abuse of his daughter. Despite her father's faults, Amalia is devoted to her father. Her love for her father does not prevent her from seeking to create a better life for herself away from Brant and she accepts a sports scholarship to Woodlands College. Amalia's sheltered and dysfunctional home life does not equip her for life at a university full of young men and women. She becomes romantically involved with Carter, her brother's rather childish and selfish best friend, and simultaneously meet a middle aged, but attractive, professor who she develops a huge crush on. Amalia's naivety set her up to make poor romantic choices and other decisions that change the course of her life.
Brianna is the lonely and slightly indulged teenage daughter of a single fairly successful career woman living in New York City. She has grown up without a father figure and has an obsession with finding out more about the mystery man who fathered her. Her mother refuses to engage with her on the subject, saying it is part of her painful past. Brianna knows virtually nothing about her mother's family and this increases her frustration at her mother's refusal to tell her about her roots. Brianna is also confused about her sexuality and is locked in an internal struggle to discover whether she is attracted to men or whether her attraction for her best friend, Shanelle, is the real thing. In order to give herself some space, away from her over-protective mother, Brianne decides to apply to Woodlands College, which is out of state and the same college Shanelle has decided to attend.
Brianna's decision to attend Woodland's sets in motion a sequence of events that unravel the mysteries of the past and cause the separate timelines of Amalia and her to cross with unforeseen consequences.
I thoroughly enjoyed this family drama.
Top international reviews
The dialogue is stilted, wooden and refuses to flow with the inherent natural rhthym of speech. The characters lack the personality traits that draw empathy and compassion, I didn't much care for Amalia, Molly, Brianna or Shanelle. Molly and Shanelle were controlling and manipulative towards Brianna, Brianna came across as selfish and uncaring, Amalia seems to have expected someone else to fix everything.
Additional characters were even less realistic; Janet doesn't work, Amalia's responses don't fit. Peter is weak, Greg a nothing, Carter a bully, Rachel laughably unreal.. I can go on.. I don't want to though!
It's painfully slow, and the "am I a lesbian/am I straight" debate becomes irritating. Especially when Shanelle is in control of everything Brianna does.. that's not giving someone the time and space to find themselves. Oh God the bit with the Trudeau's on the bus was dire, such an unnecessary inclusion, and I laughed out loud it was so ridiculous.
When you consider it there's a huge plot hole.. that Molly w/could just have told Brianna from the start her father was Bryan an airman who died when she was a baby and let her grow up with the father figure she would have had if he'd lived. There's absolutely no discernible reason for her to have denied her daughter that not if she cared.
I don't think the author adequately understands women to write a story centered around and from the viewpoint of women. It's hard to assume the opposite gender and think, and write, from an entirely different perspective. A perspective that you neither understand or feel or see. Women talk to each other in different ways to the way men converse together and I am not entirely sure the author understands that.
The year is 1984 and Amalia, who lives in a small town, is about to set out for college. She is desperate to get away from her abusive mother, Janet, who has been cruel towards her all her life. Though her father sympathizes with his daughter, he, is reluctant to stand up against his dominating wife. Once she is away from home, she finds a boyfriend, before falling in love with a much older man.
The scene changes to 2004, where Brianna is preparing to leave for college. She was brought up by her loving, though over-protective. single mother and they have always got along well together. However, Brianna, never having a father around while she was growing up, is keen to learn who he is. and why he wasn't there for her But her mother is reluctant to pass on any information. Therefore, she tries to find out for herself.
The story continues with the chapters alternating between the two young women; telling their stories of love, fear and disappointment.
It is only in the final chapters that the truth behind the two young women begins to emerge.
To say anymore would only spoil it for the reader. However, I will say that I couldn't put this book down It is such an enthralling read. The author, James J Cudney can certainly keep his readers on the edge of their seats.
The reader follows the journey of Amalia who is about to leave her hometown in rural Mississippi, for college in 1984, but is subjected to cruel abuse from her mother Janet. Her father, whom she dearly loves, turns a blind eye. Although Amalia has a boyfriend, she eventually falls in love with an older man.
It is 2004, and Brianna aged 19, lives in New York with her mother Molly, and is unsure about her sexuality. She longs to learn about her father but her mother holds onto her own dark secrets and will not open up to her daughter...
The story alternates between Amalia and Brianna until the final chapters when the truth is unveiled.
James J. Cudney writes with great sensitivity, on a number of thought provoking issues.
I've only given it three stars (which is still 'I liked it' on my scale; too many people see a three star rating as a bad review) because I felt the writing was occasionally a bit stilted and forced, particularly the dialogue. Maybe it's because I live nowhere near the author but I don't know anybody who speaks so deliberately, if you know what I mean.
This issue aside, this novel is extremely well plotted and the pacing is spot on. You could do a lot worse.
Not until just before the end is all finally revealed.
The author has a good insight into human behaviour, so many things are thought provoking.
An excellent book, definitely worthy of five stars.
The story jumps back to 1984, to teenage Amalia and her grotesque and vile mother, Janet, daughter of a Baptist minister. Amalia's old and infirm father, Peter, is no use when it comes to protecting her from his wife's wrath and Amalia suffers terribly from her mother's cruelty. Might be a trigger warning here for some. The abusive dynamics take place in Brant, a small town in Mississippi where the family own a store. Amalia is poised to go to college on a scholarship. She idolises her father and is eager to escape her mother's clutches. What sort of father figure is he, really?
Meanwhile, in 2004, Brianna is hanging out with her best friend, Shanelle, at college in Pennsylvania. Brianna is the daughter of a single mum and she's on a quest to discover the identity of her father. Her mother is tightlipped and refuses to reveal all and Brianna is consumed by the not knowing.
What unfolds in alternating chapters is a gripping mystery with all the twists and turns and narrative bounces the genre demands. Cudney has a knack of drawing the reader into what is essentially a dark and disturbing coming of age story. His descriptions evoke a strong sense of place and all the characters are well-rounded and delightfully quirky yet entirely plausible. Cudney gets inside the hearts and minds of his twin protagonists, and especially the torment of these two young women who are struggling to deal with family circumstances. In the end, what Brianna discovers will shock her to her core. Highly recommended to lovers of mysteries.
Amalia is pretty green when it comes to learning anything about love and life because she is taught nothing by her mother. We are taken through Amalia’s sad life at home, save for her father who dearly loves her, but somehow seems afraid of his own wife. Amalia meets her first boyfriend Carter, a friend of her brother’s who ends up going to the same college as Amalia.
We’ll discover how Carter is a bad boyfriend, and Amalia begins to find solace and then love with one of her professors – undoubtedly a father figure to console her as she desperately misses her father’s love. Then again, everything changes after Amalia is attacked.
As the book goes between Amalia’s life in the mid 80s and switches to present day New York, we’re taken into the confusing life of Brianna, where she attends the same college that Amalia attended some 20 years earlier. Brianna is plagued with needing to know who her biological father is while she also struggles to figure out her own identity as she questions her attraction to her best friend Shanelle, and her preference in gender when it comes to relationships.
Brianna spends a lot of time trying to corner her mother into telling her who her real father is, but her mother dodges at every opportunity, and the storyline continues creating curiosity for us readers wanting to learn too, who is Brianna’s father? Once Brianna finds her mother’s long lost and forgotten diary, Brianna is exposed to the people in her mother’s life, her relationships and why the paternal identity of Brianna’s fathering presents such a complicated mystery. But Brianna is determined to solve the mystery and hatches a plan with Shanelle to help her investigate what really did happen to her mother. Secrets are all revealed as the book comes to an end.
The past always finds a way into the present.
The story of Amalia and Brianna draws you in to such an extent that you literally lose time. Be prepared to arrive late for work (as I did) due to becoming so enthralled and immersed in the book - a true testament to good writing.
The story spans a 20 year gap and we begin by trying to discover the connection between Amalia and Brianna. Later we want to know who Brianna's father is? Will she ever find out the truth? Will she like what she finds? And what is her mother, Molly hiding?
A Highly addictive read that is well worth the five stars.
20 years later, in 2004, another girl, Brianna Porter, is exploring a college campus with her best friend, Shanelle. Always feeling smothered by her over-protective mother, the only parent Brianna has ever known, she can’t wait to head off to school in the fall. Her mother wants her to choose a college close to home in New York City, but Brianna has other plans. It’s not that she doesn’t love her mother, but Brianna needs to get away so she can understand herself and figure out what she wants.
I loved this story with all of its surprises. Just when I thought I had it figured out, a new twist turned everything around. It has been a while since a story had me uttering my shock out loud.
Father figure is a well-woven tale of two young women decades apart. Their stories intertwine until you realize they have more in common then wanting to leave home and needing to find who they are. It is well-written with few errors either grammatically or technically. If you enjoy a well-thought out mystery, then you will enjoy this story.
Brianna, a happy go lucky protected nineteen year, is going through her own angst, her need to discover herself, and her growing attraction for best friend Shanelle, but there is one question which shatters her peace of mind - who is her father?
In a need to find out the truth, Brianna goes on a path of discovery which leads to heart rendering shocks, the spasms of which are felt into the present, but whose roots are sunk way into the past.
The author James Cudney has written the story in the alternating voices of Amalia and Brianna. What struck me most was the way he has described both the women, their thoughts, their characterizations, their attitude, their dialogs. They were both so very different in all ways, living in different time zones too, but James has seen to it that he doesn't falter anywhere down the line. His eye for detail is astonishing. Making the two women different and maintaining that difference throughout the chapters, and at the same time, showing the parallels of their lives was massively impressive.
The plot of the story takes its own winding road down the pathways of life for the two women, each one going through her own ups and downs, happiness and shocks, some of them earth shattering.
What blew me away for the second time was the way James has described this horrific event, taking care to write with great sensitivity, without going into the gruesomeness, yet managing to maintain the aura of fear, pain, and helplessness that the scene required. His words caused the goosebumps to rise, but kept me gripped in the throes of emotions of that scene, till tears just flowed. His sheer mastery over the prose shone brilliantly in this piece of writing. I had to take a few deep breaths before I could continue reading.
The third thing which struck me gently down the book, was the dignity and courage that Brianna's mother showed in the story, bringing her up as a single parent, working long hours, trying to fulfil her needs. Her character was softly weaved but yet managed to pave a way for herself.
The paths of the two women collide, and the story reaches an adrenaline infused ending, where the threads of the past all retract, showing the ultimate truth, which is life threatening for one.
This book is a story of courage and fortitude shown by 2 women forging a stronger tomorrow, written with a quiet strength and sensitivity by author James J Cudney. An amazing book from start to finish.
The only niggle I had was the book was pretty long, just like my review!!