Broken Pieces is a collection of essays and poems by indie author Rachel Thompson that allows readers to get a glimpse of the darker side of her creative force. A far cry from her more humoristic outings (A Walk in the Snark and The Mancode), the book openly discusses some of the traumatic experiences that our author and storyteller actually lived through. In doing so, she may have come out with her strongest effort yet.Fans of the previous books may recognize some of the other players in Broken Pieces including her ominously troubled/troublesome ex-boyfriend whom she refers to only as “D”. The description of her time with him is bound to strike a deep nerve with anyone (male or female) who has been involved in a truly shitty relationship (and yes, I did just swear in a review). One of the more enlightening and quotable lines referred to the experience as “not love, but a cruel bastardization of it”.
The stories aren’t all doom and gloom either. “The One”, for instance, is a fun retelling of how she ended up meeting her husband. Elements of her patented brand of levity do come through sparsely and add even more poignancy to the book as a whole.
One can’t help but take in some of the cathartic and at times therapeutic themes of some of the essays – particularly those dealing with a childhood next door neighbor who was the stuff of nightmares. It would have been far too easy to approach these subjects from positions of bitterness and fear but, Rachel doesn’t do that. Instead she treats each with a sense of ownership, honesty and quiet dignity that is just as heartening as it is harrowing.It is often said that the hardest part of going through a traumatic experience is accepting it as part of one’s life without branding it as the single defining factor. In that respect, Broken Pieces is a testimony from someone who has successfully lived up to that challenge.
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