Dancing on Broken Glass

Dancing on Broken Glass by Ka Hancock

(Summary taken from the back book cover) “Lucy Houston and Mickey Chandler probably shouldn’t have fallen in love, let alone gotten married. They’re both plagued with faulty genes–he has bipolar disorder; she, a ravaging family history of breast cancer. But when their paths cross on the night of Lucy’s twenty-first birthday, sparks fly, and there’s no denying their chemistry. Cautious every step of the way, they are determined to make their relationship work–and they put their commitment in writing. Mickey will take his medication. Lucy won’t blame him for what is beyond his control. He promises honesty. She promises patience. Like any marriage, there are good days and bad days–and some very bad days. In dealing with their unique challenges, they make the heartbreaking decision not to have children. But when Lucy shows up for a routine physical just shy of their eleventh anniversary, she gets an impossible surprise that changes everything. Everything. Suddenly, all their rules are thrown out the window, and the two of them must redefine what love really is.”

Grab your box of kleenexes ladies, you’re going to need it! This book is amazing. And heart-wrenching. It’s one of those books where I could see where it was going and thought about quitting before I got there, because I didn’t know if I could handle it, but I just couldn’t put it down. I was so involved in these people’s lives that I had to see what happened. Ms. Hancock’s character development is so good that I thought of myself as the Chandler’s next door neighbor. I knew all the neighbors so well that I could have just moved on in and felt right at home. Nevermind that I have never been to Connecticut, I felt like I lived there.

As much as I cried, you’d think that I didn’t like this book, but no, I can’t say that. It is amazing. It is very well written and draws you in from the first sentence. I had a roommate in college that had bipolar disorder, and I could tell in seconds whether or not she had taken her medicine that day. That has been my only experience with bipolar disorder, but she had a lot of the same tendencies that Mickey has in the book. Thankfully she never crashed far enough to need hospitalization, but she had her up and down days. I could not imagine what Lucy went through being married to Mickey, but when you love someone you will do anything for them. I loved that message in the book. If Lucy and Mickey could make their marriage work through all those hard times, anyone can. Yes, it’s hard, but you do it. You keep your commitment and love each other through the best and worst of times. I also loved the connection Lucy and her sisters had. I loved Charlotte and Harry and Jan. I highly recommend this book. Just grab your box of kleenexes and lock yourself in your bedroom where you can cry in peace.

There is some language in this book. There are also a few love making scenes, but they are tastefully done and very romantic. There are also some tragic deaths that are heartbreaking and difficult to read. However, there is also hope and inspiration, dedication and love.  I love how the title fits in.

Rating: R (This rating does not follow the movie ratings, it is just my way of saying it is not appropriate for younger readers.) Language, love making, death of a main character.

Recommendation: College and up. I really want to say married and up, because of the love making scenes, but they are tasefully done. For some, married may be better. This is definitely an adult book, though, and not appropriate for young adult readers.

Disclaimer: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Thank you Ms. Hancock for allowing me to read and review this book, it was an honor.

Paper Children

Paper Children by Marcia Fine

(Summary taken from the back book cover) “Driven by cataclysmic world events, the story encompasses the lives of three generations of women. In Book One, Paulina, the privileged daughter of aristocratic parents, reluctantly follows her driven businessman husband to America in 1929. From a vantage point in New York she endures a difficult marriage and slowly becomes aware of the destruction of her large extended family in Poland as the Nazis tighten their grip on Europe. Book Two begins in 1940 following Paulina’s daughter Sarah, as she pursues a career in photography. Sent on assignment to the Displaced Persons camps in Europe, Sarah is shaken loose from her faith and pursues a hedonistic path. The Third book deals with Mimi, Sarah’s daughter. A solitary young woman, she becomes curious about the family’s past. She explores the Holocaust and searches for her roots. In a confrontational scene Paulina hands over her family’s pre-war correspondence that she calls her “Paper Children.”

I really like the concept of this book. I like that it follows three generations of women in a family, and shows how they lived, and the national and world events that happened during their lives. I like that you can see how choices made by these women affected not only them, but how they affected their children and grandchildren as well. It helps me to see that there is importance in this motherhood thing.

I really liked the first book in the story. I found it fascinating to learn how a privileged family lived in Poland at the beginning of the 20th century. I had no idea. I enjoyed learning about Paulina and her family. Even though I didn’t love her husband in the story, I did like that he was so driven and no matter what happened he picked himself up and moved on. The story was depressing a lot of the time, but I liked it. Times were tough, and so it seemed ok. Paulina was very proper and wanted to do everything a good Jewish girl would do. A lot of the first book dealt with her trying to be proper. And then comes book two. Wow, did book two throw me for a loop! I liked it at first with Sarah going to the Displaced Person camps and seeing the devastation for herself. She picks up smoking (which her mother hates) and loses her faith in God while she is there, right at the beginning. Then within 30 pages Ms. Fine throws in this out of place (completely opposite of book one) sensual love-making scene that completely took me by surprise. It is very detailed. I’ll put it that way. Very detailed.

Unfortunately, I think the book goes downhill from there. A lot of the rest of book two is about “physical intimacy” and it was too much for me. There is also a lot of profanity. There are lessons to be learned, but, I think there are better ways to learn them. The story, at that point, just lost a lot of its excitement. I had to push through to the end. Then comes book three and I thought it was completely unrealistic. It starts when Mimi is four years old. I have an almost-four-year-old, and it just didn’t fit. For example, Mimi, at four, supposedly says, “The year of mourning after my grandfather’s death became a slow dirge of cleaning out closets, consolidating bank accounts, and shuffling papers.” My daughter would never say anything even close to that. The vocabulary is much to difficult for that age.  I wish it would have started when she was 12 or older, I think it would have been much more realistic. It does catch up with her age, and she has her own love-making scenes. It takes her through the sixties with their anti-war demonstrations and tie-dye t-shirts. It may just be me, but this time period doesn’t interest me as much as the earlier times do, and so I just wasn’t interested at this point. And it was still depressing. I felt more depressed and let down at the end than I did during the war times.

In other words, I didn’t love this book. It was ok. I couldn’t recommend it to any of my friends because of the “physical intimacy” and language. There is also violence, including domestic violence and WWII camp devastation. However, if those things don’t bother you and you enjoy reading about people and their histories, then you may enjoy this book.

Rating: R (Remember, this does not follow the movie ratings exactly, it’s just my way of saying it is NOT for younger readers.) There is a lot of “physical intimacy,” language, violence (including domestic violence), smoking, and war-time devastation.

Recommendation: Married and up. Definitely.

Disclaimer: I did receive a free copy of this book for my review. This did not sway my review in any way. All  my reviews are honest.