Accidents of Marriage
While reading ACCIDENTS OF MARRIAGE, I almost felt like I was taking a peek at someone’s diary as they explained their anguish enduring emotional abuse. You know, the slippery slope of human emotion that is complicated and many times well hidden, yet very prevalent in our society today. By acknowledging the far-reaching effects of this form of domestic violence, Randy Susan Meyers poignantly utilizes the power of her words to tackle this complicated subject in her latest novel. She does so with sensitivity, sharing the complexities of love, imperfection, damage and responsibility as an insightful friend anyone might know.
Making it look easy, Meyers has an innate ability to “pull at the heartstrings” while educating her readers on “this dirty little secret” throughout her narrative. She grabs her storyline and doesn’t let go until the very end, enveloping her audience in a soul-searching and satisfying tale of emotional abuse. Following the “behind the scenes” scenario of a family facing this dilemma of moral decay, it becomes apparent that only a tender and fearless heart can heal their dysfunction.
"ACCIDENTS OF MARRIAGE is a novel that will resonate with many women, hopefully echoing the same refrain: domestic violence is neither justified nor acceptable."
Maddy and Ben are professionals, trying to balance their careers while raising their three children in a highly volatile home environment. Left with most of the parental duties, since Ben is a busy public defender, Maddy finds herself at odds, trying to balance her job and motherhood. So something has to give, since it is almost impossible to keep up with many of her domestic duties due to work responsibilities. As a result, Maddy becomes an innocent victim when her husband demands more accountability for her household chores while displaying periodic rages.
Vacillating between avoidance and assertion, Maddy is able to minimize some of Ben’s volatile temper and protect her children from it --- which works to keep a fragile peace until that fateful day. Ben, suffering from some road rage when another driver cuts him off on a rainy highway, loses control of their car and crashes into a tree, sending Maddy to the hospital. With Maddy in a coma and fighting for her life, Ben is left to fend for himself, as the family waits and hopes for her recovery.
Following Maddy and her family, as they all are confronted with an uncertain future, is bittersweet and thought-provoking. Faced with the realization that life can change so quickly is a struggle that each one of Maddy’s extended family members and close friends are constantly reminded of. Hardest hit by Maddy’s absence from the family unit, though, is her children. Fourteen-year-old Emma has to be the mother to her younger siblings, Caleb and Gracie. With a maturity far beyond her years, Emma proves to be her mother’s daughter, becoming a woman of grace and integrity.
By taking us into the hearts and minds of her characters --- alternating among the personal perspectives of Ben, Maddy and Emma --- Randy Susan Meyers has created a storyline that is both provocative and stunning. ACCIDENTS OF MARRIAGE is a novel that will resonate with many women, hopefully echoing the same refrain: domestic violence is neither justified nor acceptable. This behavior is heartbreaking and dangerous to all living things, with emotional abuse just the tip of the iceberg. The cycle of abuse that can result from this beginning leads to nothing but danger, with both the abused and the abuser falling prey to dire consequences, some from which there is no return. Which reminds me of a quote I read once: “All marriages are sacred, but not all are safe.”
Reviewed by Donna Smallwood on September 26, 2014
Accidents of Marriage
- Publication Date: September 2, 2014
- Genres: Fiction
- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: Atria Books
- ISBN-10: 1451673043
- ISBN-13: 9781451673043