Book Reviews, Books, Christian Fiction

“Broken: A Novel” – July Book Review

Hello, my lovely readers, and welcome to July’s book review.  To read more about my book review approach, giveaways, and previous book selections, click here.

This month, I’ve selected the novel “Broken”, by Travis Thrasher

{ISBN 0446505552, FaithWords Publishing, May 2010, 288 pages}

Broken tells the story of Laila, a young woman who left Small Town, Texas at the age of 17 courtesy of a lucrative modeling contract in NYC.  Full of hope and rosy dreams, Laila envisions a life for herself filled with love and glamour, but discovers that living a life based solely on the surface can lead to a harsh reality.  Ten years later, 27 year old Laila finds herself working as a highly paid escort in Chicago, a far cry from the fashion magazine covers of her younger years.

Laila’s experience with men has been one horrible ordeal after another – used, abused, utterly crushed, abandoned, and left like a sack of garbage again and again.  She’s unable to fathom or trust a relationship with any man who claims that he “only wants to love her”.  She’s surrounded her heart with a thick wall for protection, and isn’t about to let anyone in.  She doesn’t think she can fall any lower – a former model who’s working as an overly glorified prostitute with no meaningful relationships while completely cut off from her family.

But things can always get worse.

On New Year’s Eve, Laila shoots a sadistic client in self-defense.  Covered in blood and afraid of the repercussions, she clears out of Chicago and moves to Greenville, SC, looking for escape and anonymity while working as a bank teller.

You can’t leave your sins behind you, though, and Laila’s trouble follows her South.  Despite the offered friendships of both her neighbor and a fellow employee, Laila feels utterly alone.  She is overwhelmed by the guilt of past choices and nightmares blur with reality.  Peace eludes her, and when reminders of Chicago make their presence known, Laila doesn’t know what else to do except run.


Broken has an overwhelming theme of redemption and the search for absolution.  There’s anger, hate, lust, selfishness, and fear, but also concern and the barest glimmer of nervous hope.

It’s written from the perspectives of several different people – Laila, her brother, and her pursuers – and can be confusing at times.  In the pursuit of making sure that the reader understands that no one is perfect, Thrasher makes his characters almost too flawed.  There’s very little that’s likable about the main character.  She’s depressing, selfish, and discouraging.  In short, she’s a mess.  The author ties in supernatural elements, but you can’t tell if he wants you to believe that Laila has gone mad, that ghosts are real, or that demons are haunting her every step.  Messages left for Laila in a rather creepy, ghoulish fashion are apparently delivered by “good” angels or spirits, despite the fact that they’re written in dripping, red letters and she nearly drowns while being forced to read some of them.

The idea of this story is a good one, but the delivery needs some work.  I normally do a giveaway with each review, but a giveaway seems like tacit endorsement.  I’ve decided that, from here on out, I’ll only do giveaways for books that I really enjoy and want to share.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to do a giveaway next month!

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2 thoughts on ““Broken: A Novel” – July Book Review

  1. okay that book sounds crazy… creepy red dripping letters that make you drown but are from angels? What?

    Anyway… I saw that Lilly planner and almost swooned… I do love Lilly… however, this is going to sound lame, but I’m trying to pinch every penny and I found a suitable if not perfect one at Barnes and Noble for less than half the Lilly, and it has a pocket and an elastic… so for now this med student also equals cheap student… darn it! So long corporate paycheck… and hello easy mac and ramen! 🙂 I’ve been a little blog absent lately… have you started your new nursing job yet?

  2. I just read the first paragraph of your review and had to stop…to put this book on hold at the library! I didn’t want to spoil the book by reading further. Thanks for the review!

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