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A Thousand Tiny Cracks Paperback – March 3, 2013
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Awarded the Gold Standard of Literary Excellence by the Princeton Literary Review
About the Author
Stella Maddox earned her Bachelor's in Chemical Engineering from the University of Akron in 1998. She left industry in 2005 to stay home with her children. In addition to writing, she serves as a freelance industrial environmental consultant and balances a husband, three children, and two cats. She and her family reside in southern Ohio.
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Top customer reviews
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When my children were small I worked a shift that allowed me to stay home with them during the week while my wife went to work. It was one of the toughest things I've ever done. It wasn't the non-stop needs of small children. Not the diapers, or bottles, or struggling to find time to workout. It was the lack of adult conversation. The need to feel important. I always thought I felt this way because I was a guy playing to role of cargiver. I could feel the frustration in Stella's writing. In her need to feel the importance she once felt in her professional career.
But Stella went a step further, she put the emotions of the male characters into words as well and I felt they were spot on. This is the part that really surprised me about the book. She didn't blame the men in the book for the way they felt and reacted, which is what I expected. She put into words the way she felt during a trying time in her life. A time when she needed to be noticed. To feel important.
I recommend it.
It's clear as one reads the book that Maddox wrote this story as therapy for herself; but her style is endearing and inviting. At times the book is an assault on both sense and sensibility, drawing the reader into the main character's struggle. Not everyone will relate to A Thousand Tiny Cracks, but for most, parts will feel painfully familiar and raw. Anyone who has been the father of young children will see a bit of themselves in Ethan, even if they don't want to say so. And anyone who has felt strands of themselves slowly slip away will empathize with Stella as she takes the next tentative, definitive steps in her life.
I highly recommend this book; it can be easily devoured over a few days and is difficult to put down.
I love books that get inside the mind of the protagonist and put the reader in touch with the many nuances that drive motivations and behavior. A THOUSAND TINY CRACKS does a superior job of this.
As an author myself, I found myself envying Ms. Maddox's style and candor.
Page 162: "Something within me longs for him to comprehend the damage he has created."
Page 170: "The truth is that he never did know all of me. He just found the one portion of me that no one else could reach."
Page 177: "When I expected nothing, Tad gave all. But when my expectations overwhelmed him, he fled."
Page 177: "His silence insulted me. It was a slap in the face. My insecurity and anger overshadowed every other emotion."
As a reader, you'll appreciate this moving, engaging story. You'll connect with the characters and how they interact and what compels them to do what they do. Ms. Maddox's words will stay with you long after you've closed the book.
Early on we learn Stella is intelligent, analytical, and a generally good person great at sizing up everyone and everything within and around her marriage. Her difficulty however is, she's unable to engage her critical thinking skills to connect the dots on how to manage her new life. The kids exasperate her; the hubby isn't responding the way she desires, and her overall morale and confidence is shaken. How does she deal with this?
Oh, here we go... Tad; a teenager soon about to enlist in the Army who conveniently lives next door and is granted full access into Stella's home under the innocent guise of helping the family with repairs to the home.
Tad comes in early into the picture... ready-made too... all the things marriage and children are not. The mutual connection is instant, like attraction at first sight, perhaps the same attraction that lured her and Ethan together, before he became the hubby and she the wife. I could almost feel the energy canvass the page as Stella enjoyed a sweaty day at the gun range with Tad, but later wasted her time spending a day with her daughter Maya, because her child likes daddy better.
Overall I really enjoyed Stella evaluating her feelings, and the assessments she penned to others, but would have enjoyed seeing more storytelling. A deeper premise (early on) leading to anticipating a unique ending would have really made this story sing. The cover and the title was also a nice treat. Great Job.
I won't go into details about the plot, but I will say that there were numerous times that Stella, the main character, faced decision points as to whether or not she should pursue her search for life and love or close that door. A credit to the author that you were never able to predict which turn she would take.
I highly recommend this book for anyone. A great read that made me reflect on my own life and relationship and the choices I make.
I would love to see a follow up book from the perspective of the husband in this relationship.
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