Review by Ann McDonald
From the bestselling author of ‘The Comfort of Lies’, an engrossing look at the darker side of a marriage – and how an ordinary family responds to an extraordinary crisis.
‘Accidents of Marriage’ is an engrossing book that deals with the very topical subject of abuse. In this case, verbal abuse and it’s going to make you very, very uncomfortable, especially if you fall into the category of “I really didn’t mean to shout and upset everybody like that” or “I just lost my temper, it’s been a very hard day” but that is Ben, a public defender with a very stressful job. Maddy, his wife, is a social worker with a very full case-load. They have three kids, Emma, 14 years old, Gracie, 9 years old and Caleb, 7 years old who have all learned how to cope around Ben’s explosive temper.
It is heartbreaking because apparently, he does love his wife she him though she take pills to take the edge off. Author Randy Susan Meyers uses Ben, Maddy and Emma to tell this poignant and agonizing story, all from their perspectives. It gives you a real insight into the emotions and feelings of the three lead characters. Maddy desperately tries to cope in a situation that leaves you breathless, wondering how she is living at all. Her own parents are miniature reflections of Ben and herself, the patterns showing up by degrees. Ben has his way of coping with the everyday crisis that are part of his job as a public defender.
There is the little blonde intern which he allows to be a sop to his need for respect and sexual availability that makes him feel special because he does not cheat. If only his wife could run the household and the children the way he wants it done, everything would be much easier for him but as he sees it, the place is always a mess and she is never up to par. Emma’s view of life revolves around the needs of her siblings accompanied by “Emma do this” and “Emma do that.” She loves her father but hates the way she has to tiptoe around him when he is upset, a facet that is gradually eroding and will very soon collapse.
One fateful day Maddy is stranded without transport and calls Ben to pick her up. He is late for one of his own meetings and has no time to spare and tells her to catch a cab but she informs him that no cabs will stop in that part of town. He shows up and the rage is evident: the culmination is a car accident in which Maddy is severely hurt and the remainder of the book deals with how this family copes with a brain-damaged mother and a father who is aware that he is responsible for the entire situation. Maddy can’t speak very well but she can think and reason and she does but I don’t know if happy endings or hope plays into this kind of novel. Randy Susan Meyers has written an insight into the world of hurt that is abuse and she does it extremely well.
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