Breaking her fall – Stephen Goodwin

Posted on February 4, 2011. Filed under: Books | Tags: , , , , , |

What an excellent novel! I had been out of sync with novels for a few months now, found a few I liked but none that I loved and then this gem came along! This is a story about family, about love, about the relationship a father has to his children, about growing up and being a teenager and it is a story about how quickly life can change.

Tucker Jones is a father with a modest company who is definitely in the upper class of society. He lives and works among the wealthy in Washington DC and his ex-wife is among the even more wealthy in NYC. Tucker has primary custody of his children and this story starts with a jarring phone call. You are immediately swept up in the drama of the trouble his daughter, Kat, is in just across town. From this point, this night is the turning point and feature of the story, it was a pivot point for many of the characters. Tucker cannot take back his actions that night and it seems that he can’t fully explain them either.

It was a father’s instincts that created the scene that July evening in DC, and now it is more of a mess than anyone imagined. Tucker’s team of lawyers is on the case and is ready to do whatever they can, though they fear it is little, to get Tucker out of his trouble. Is Tucker’s character at stake? Much to his disbelief his reputation is definitely at stake, along with his company and now it seems his family is strained and divided in a way he never imagined. You are immediately thrown into the plot and the rest of the story unfolds around you, around that night. Tucker’s children look at him different and there are rumors flying all across town. The children he thought he was raising are suddenly older than he seems to realize. Did he overlook important details about his daughter’s life that could have prevented the outcome of that night? How will his daughter cope and move on with life after this? Could any parent be as ignorant as Tucker was, or did he choose just not to ask the right questions and assume that his children were teenagers in a new era? Is the relationship between Tucker and his children something that can be repaired or did he lose two of the most important people in his life? Anyone who has been a teenager or is raising them will relate to this book, even if you were never in this much trouble or hurt.

 Tucker spends this novel picking up the pieces, building a new model, and shaping relationships. It is a soul-searching book and is very human in many respects. You can easily relate to many of the characters and will want to strangle others at various stages of the book. Every character is undeniably human, which makes them feel more real than the characters in many novels. Tucker is clumsy at times then graceful, he makes poor decisions then highly intelligent ones – he is just like us in many respects.

Part of the draw for me was the familiar scenery – it takes place in DC where I live and was easy to recognize landmarks, habits and the way daily life runs down here. It is also gripping, I am not a parent and can’t even imagine being put in the situation Tucker is in, but I also don’t know how I would react. Is the situation he was thrown in one any parent would know how to rationally react in? Overall it is an excellent story full of pure human, emotion. I immediately went to the library in search of other novels by this author – I hope that they are all as gripping and wonderful as this one was.

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