Fractured by Catherine McKenzie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I started reading this book knowing absolutely nothing about the story. Fortunately, I'd read a cookbook if it was written by Catherine McKenzie. Or a court brief, if I had to. I absolutely LOVE her writing style and insights into thoughtful characters. She narrates the minutiae of thoughts that bring a little of our own crazy to light.
It's illuminating and refreshing.
The main story is not as engaging as the mini stories going on within the book. I guess that's what you would call a frame novel. The main story is told in different time periods beginning today which sets the frame then goes back and works forward and told from two different points of view.
I really liked the possible discussion points at the end of the book and really gave me pause. I came up with some of my own in my head but maybe haven't quite clarified them into questions. I would like to further explore a few aspects of the book that were left a little open ended. I don't think this is a spoiler since I read a hint of it in the book description, but it would be interesting to discuss the relationship within the couples then between John and Julie. Both are happily married and spend a lot of time musing about their spouses and how they came to be. Yet the relationship may be considered inappropriate. When does that happen and what should John or Julie have done when they identified that line? It is fuzzy throughout. When would a reader define it? Would the reader ever have defined it as inappropriate? Another discussion would be the reaction of both spouses to the developing relationship/friendship (?) between John and Julie and where the spouses were at the end of the book. Would the reader agree with Julie's thoughts at the end (wish I could I quote it but it might be too spoily)?
Taking the last chapter into account, and Julie's thoughts on the fracture, I would like to compare and contrast the way she sees the fracture and the way that Becky's literal leg fracture healed. Months later, Becky has a noticeable limp even after the break has healed. What could be the figurative limp in the aftermath?
Mental illness is big one in this book. Perhaps a discussion point would be to identify all the thinking fallacies of each character. Did the reader ever doubt the existence of a certain character? Pull out a diagram of Karpman's Triangle and identify the different roles the characters play in different situations. Do they play more than one role at a time?
A closed society with one person or a group of persons with more power than is appropriate creates an unhealthy dynamic of mobbing and character assassination. Has this ever been an issue in polite society? Could the characters that this occurred to in the novel have done anything about it? Would you have intervened? Could you have prevented it if it happened to you? How? I would need a licensed therapist present for this discussion.
Speaking of mental illness, were the characters mentally healthy? If not, what were their thinking errors? Did they need professional help or were they still functional in society? Were they within the norms of acceptable neurotic or psychotic? Or were their belief systems perfectly rational given their experiences? Why or why not?
These are thoughts I had a day after I finished the book. I really enjoyed it, as I always do with Catherine McKenzie. I think she is absolutely brilliant in writing her characters and getting inside the characters' heads. I recommend any and all of her novels. And probably her court briefs.
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