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The Broken Places


The Broken Places

With all the attention being paid these days to firefighters, it is
fitting that THE BROKEN PLACES makes its debut, as it looks into
the minds of a family of firemen and the strange turns of life that
come with acts of heroism and the attending public adoration.

Paul Tucker is 12 and thinks it's about time he is considered a
man. He comes from a long line of firemen and an overprotective
mom. In a dangerous rescue at an abandoned farmhouse, Paul's dad
Sonny is buried in the rubble of its eventual collapse, as is a
young hoodlum who brought the house down while making homemade
bombs. (Yes, this all sounds too eerily like a story out of the
news right now, but let's go on...) Sonny manages to wrest himself
free, along with the not-so-nice kid. The rescue becomes, of all
things, a major news story, and the ensuing publicity causes Sonny
to become a cause celebre. Paul not only has to deal with the
intrusion of the media into his every waking moment, but has to
manage his own jealousy at the relationship that the young
bomb-maker wishes to develop with Sonny.


The effectiveness of the story comes not from its similarity to the
24-hours a day of "America's New War" coverage that we have become
saturated with but from the boiling heart of human nature buried
among the ripped-from-the-headlines story details. Perabo's debut
is startling and showcases an intuitive grasp on the minds and
souls of all America that few writers are able to do over the
course of multiple books. Paul's voice resonates with a strength
that we will all recognize and a weariness and exhaustion uncommon
to a protagonist this age. THE BROKEN PLACES concentrates on one
boy's journey and, in so doing, helps us to wander the dark canyons
of fear, jealousy, and pain that this story illuminates so


Susan Perabo is a talented new writer, and THE BROKEN PLACES, if
and when you can find the heart to delve into it, is a masterfully
crafted coming-of-age tale.

Reviewed by Jana Siciliano on January 21, 2011

The Broken Places
by Susan Perabo

  • Publication Date: July 31, 2001
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • ISBN-10: 0684862344
  • ISBN-13: 9780684862347