Today I’m gonna talk about my favorite book of last year that isn’t officially out until May 1 – Megan Hart’s, Broken. All the usual disclaimers apply – I know Megan, she’s my friend and we’ve given each other nicknames and all that stuff. Still, she’s not ensorcelled me so I’m incapable of an actual honest opinion on her book although dude, if she had that power it would be so cool, I’d totally make her use it on my behalf. Anyway, I digress…
Broken is a lot of things. It’s one of those books that stays with you a really long time after you finish because there are a lot of layers to it. In my opinion, it’s the best thing Megan has written and she’s a damned good writer so that should say something. Each time Sadie sits next to Joe and we hear a tale of his latest conquest, we’re really drawing down another layer of Sadie.
Whatever Broken is about, I can tell you what it’s not about – Broken is not about infidelity. I want to make that clear up front. Sadie loves Adam, her husband. But Adam has withdrawn himself emotionally after an accident has left him a quadroplegic. She’s lost him in many ways even though he’s there physically. Her entire being centers around his care and schedule – it isn’t that she hates him or wishes he didn’t exist, it isn’t that she wants to fuck Joe behind Adam’s back. Her life has made her into a mechanism – she takes care of everyone else and she doesn’t get much emotional feedback because her husband has lost himself and she’s helpless to help him regain what he’s lost. So for that one brief time every month, she’s unfettered from all that responsibility and context and she gets to be a woman.
She wants to be held and listened to and those brief times once a month as she sits and listens to Joe tell his stories, she can transport herself elsewhere in her head.
Sadie’s loneliness is sharp and painful at times. Her loss throbbed in my gut as I read. Her connection to Joe, his attraction to her, her committment to Adam and her embracing her life no matter what it has become creates a book that sent me reeling over and over.
Broken is not an easy book. It’s not lighthearted and romantic. It’s an unflinching look into someone’s inner life. I cried when I read Broken. It made me furious. It made me laugh and grumble. It drove me to email Megan a few times and give her what for.
Broken is evocative and deep and disturbing and yet, it’s uplifting too. Because Sadie can be any of us, you know? And she survives and rises and finds her way in a world that could easily drive her to give up for let go of the things that anchor her – to her life, to her husband, to everything she finds important. She’s not a saint, she doesn’t take care of Adam because she loves the hairshirt, she takes care of him because he’s her husband and she loves him and it’s the right thing to do and she believes that. That makes Sadie a character that rises above so many other characters in books. She’s flawed, yes, but she’s *real*
Broken is erotic, yes. The sex is integral to the story as a vehicle for Sadie’s mental escape and also as a glimpse into Joe. The story is in first person but I really felt I knew Joe and his insecurities as he told his stories. In them he’s not a sex god, his vision of himself is interesting and pretty unflinching. The moments between Sadie and Adam are heartwrenchingly beautiful and skillfully done and the connection between Joe and Sadie is powerful as well.
I’ve gone back and forth writing this, it’s hard to distill what Broken is because I think everyone will read Sadie with their own filters. And because Broken is a complex book. It’s not easy. But it’s worth it. Broken is, without question, an amazing book and I truly hope it gets the attention it deserves. Technically, it’s mindblowing. As an author, when I read it, I was floored by the skill Megan used as a writer. The story is marvelous but she tells it perfectly.