Monday, January 11, 2010

Wrecked-- E.R. Frank

I've been searching lately; searching for something that will touch me. It needn't be a love story that made my emotions run wild. (I'm kind of sick of those at the moment.) What I wanted was something that made me think, that made me yearn for what the characters desired, that pulled at my heartstrings and make me say to myself, "I know what she/he is feeling!" even if I've never experienced said event in my own life. I found that in Wrecked by E. R. Frank. What a fantastic book.

The premise:
Anna gets into a car accident after a drinking party, though she isn't drunk, and ends up killing her brother's girlfriend, Cameron. This spurs not a chain of events, but rather a chain of reactions. It is these reactions that draw the reader deeper into each character. Everyone is affected, and the reactions range from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) to excessive drinking to denial and anger and broken families. But the broken families are a result only of broken people.

You might think that this book is depressing, and in some parts I felt so much of what the character was experiencing that tears came to my eyes, but over all it is a story of hope and healing.

The first page opens with Anna on her hands and knees picking up leaves one at a time from the front yard and placing them in a grocery bag. This is a creative punishment from her father. Later, after Cameron is killed, Anna comes home to see her brother, Jack picking up those same leaves. For a few days I pondered this. What's with the leaves? They have to be symbolic, my English teacher self told me. I was right, and I believe I now have it figured out. The leaves are the pieces of our lives. Sometimes they fall or get scattered or the wind may blow them this way and that and it is our job to get down on our hands and knees and pick up the pieces. Sure, we could rake them all together into a pick pile, but it's still a messy pile of leaves. But doing it one at a time, by hand allows us to make sure we have every single piece. It takes time, lots of time. I imagine doing just my small front patch of lawn one leave at a time, and the mere thought makes me cringe, but sometimes life is like that. There is a lot to fix and it doesn't happen in a few hours. It takes days and even years to clear the ground enough to plant something beautiful. I think the lesson for me is that no matter what happens to us, we can pick up the pieces.

I won't discuss in detail the elements of the story because it would be much better if you read it yourselves. Do so soon. You won't be disappointed.

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