Broken Together: transitions ex-cons face

Broken Together: transitions ex-cons face

Broken Together

Have you ever considered a how wrought with emotions a convict’s release and transition from prison to civilian life is for the released as well as the family? Reacclimating takes courage and lots of grace.

Before reading Broken Together by Brenda S. Anderson and Sarah S. Anderson, I never contemplated the difficulties they might face. In this recent release, Jennifer Taylor opens a coffee and cocoa shop in honor of her husband’s dream as she continues to fight for his release. Chad serves a sentence for a murder he didn’t commit.

Broken Together opens eyes to challenges

We witness what life is like for Chad in prison. We know what he used to be like before prison based on his wife’s memories, but the couple has changed during his incarceration. Can their marriage survive?

What surprised me was how prison transformed Chad. He went in a normal, law-abiding guy who allegedly snapped and committed a horrific deed. With no self-worth intact, he is unable to think for himself. He learned to survive in the system, but when he came out, he found he forgot how to live. Scary, right?

Choe and Jason, the couple’s twins, wrestle with their own needs and wants. The dad they expected isn’t the dad they get. Life never goes as we plan it. In a novel, we can expect that to be even more so.

One of the things I have always admired about Brenda Anderson’s books is she tackles real life situations with realistic characters, characters who want to do one thing, but do another, characters who get angry at betrayals, become jealous of friends, misunderstand each other, hide secrets they feel are too awful to share in an attempt to protect others, which only backfires, and much more.

Broken Together brings up forgiveness

This novel delves into forgiveness again like another book of Anderson’s I reviewed, A Beautiful Mess. The fictional characters don’t forgive right away like we don’t forgive right away. Yet, they do forgive in the end, so the reconciliation is beautiful and heart-felt. This always leads me to ponder my own unforgiveness issues. I’d really like to tell off some people. It might help me to unload my anger, but it probably won’t solve anything. It might just make me look like a bitter jerk. Maybe I am. A bitter jerk, I mean. Vengeance isn’t mine. It belongs to God. I’m thankful for that, yet for some reason it’s still hard to forgive. I know it only hurts me. I keep praying for God to help me release it. In novels, people talk it out. In real life, sometimes this happens, sometimes it doesn’t. All I know is holding it in isn’t good.

Prayer is needed. This is something that Chad does without thinking. It is something his wife doesn’t consider until later. Don’t we do that too? We have so much that we take it for granted. People who lose everything really do find the value in the most important things faster.

Broken Together doesn’t end in a happily ever after because life doesn’t play out that way. This thought-provoking novel is recommended for adults because of content. While this is a clean novel, I just want to indicate this since I do review novels for children and teens here also.

Coffee or cocoa?

A final question the novel begs an answer for is this: do you prefer coffee (like Chad) or cocoa (like Jennifer)? I’m a cocoa girl through and through. Like Jennifer, no matter how often I tried coffee—no matter how plain or fancy—I  didn’t like it.  

I invite you to Chad’s Choco-Latte in a small Minnesota town. Order up your fave—coffee or cocoa—and let me know if you’ve read Broken Together.

4 Replies to “Broken Together: transitions ex-cons face”

    1. You’re welcome, Brenda. I enjoy your books. I’m glad to hear you’re a cocoa lover too! I know a lot of coffee lovers, but I just have never liked coffee, even the fancy ones. I do like the smell of coffee though because it reminds me of my grandparents. 🙂 Thanks for taking time to comment.

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