A Broken Kind of Life, Jamie Mayfield
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Genre: YA, Psychological, LGBT (G)
Length: 220 pages
To start with it is well worth noting that A Broken Kind of Life is not a book for everyone. If you cannot deal with reading about someone who has been horrifically abused and the consequences, I implore you not to read this book.
“The boy’s heart slammed against his ribs as his sheets bound him, wrapping pieces of cotton around his trembling arms and legs.”
Sometimes in this world it takes someone who is broken to help fix another. Aaron is broken; his life split between “Old Aaron” and “New Aaron.” The turning point in his life came when he and his best friend were brutally attacked while walking home one night. He made it, his best friend didn’t. Since that night over two years ago Aaron has been reliant on routine, rarely leaving the house and living a life heavily medicated to try to stop the memories of that night.
Spencer too is broken, though not in the same way. Spencer is the son of an alcoholic, retired psychologist and he has been deaf his entire life. Throughout this time he has had to put up with the general theory of “He’s different and therefore stupid!” The result being that he feels very lonely in his world.
This story is about these two finding each other through chance at college and building a friendship that helps start the process of bringing Aaron to be able to live a comfortable life and providing Spencer someone to care for and love.
Spencer wants nothing more than to just help his new friend who is a rare person to see through the deafness to Spencer’s likability. Spencer enlists the help of his father, Dr. Thomas, who has flaws of his own, to help treat Aaron and provide him the tools to turn his life from a living hell to a decent future with a caring partner.
Really Enjoying Parts
The writing style employed in the book really helps engross the reader and at no point did I feel like putting this book down. This is always very beneficial to books, for obvious reasons. The sheer fact that a story of this magnitude was conveyed in such a way to keep readers always wanting to know the next part of the story is a testament to how well this book was written.
Actually Dealing With Real World Issues
Books dealing with abuse in a YA scene, that don’t trivialise it (like one particular book released around the same time,) are few and far between. Add on top of that, books that are well written and researched and it becomes very rare. A Broken Kind of Life deals with abuse head on showing distinctly the impact that it has on Aaron and the family and friends around him. Aaron’s story and his treatment are heartbreaking at times but you cannot feel anything but empathy for him.
There were minimal things that I didn’t agree with in the book, but these were mainly inconsequential. The main issue for me is that Spencer’s father while counseling Aaron reveals to Spencer that Aaron is gay, which was disclosed during a session. This is a clear breach of doctor-patient confidentiality and I did not approve of this action, in fact it made me angry. I will not mark the book down for it because the outcome was so beneficial to the characters.
The Conclusion to All Things
This novel brought back some forgotten parts of my life, but through doing this it has helped me to start to move forward. I will not lie, A Broken Kind of Life is a very confronting book that will make you stop and think again about the horrific impact violence has, especially on children. I highly encourage anyone who hasn’t read this book to go and rectify that.
“I. Love. You. Too. Aaron. So. Much.”
This book was given to me by Harmony Ink (via Greedy Bug) in return for my honest thoughts.