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ACCIDENTS OF MARRIAGE by Randy Susan Meyers

Accidents of Marriage
Randy Susan Meyers
Atria Books
Sept 2, 2014

Accidents of Marriage, by Randy Susan Meyers, is a compelling look at how traumatic brain injury can affect a family and how each member responds to the extraordinary crisis. Within the chapters Meyers discusses the different perspectives of each family member. It is People Magazine’s pick of the week for September 12th.

 

Meyers, whose background includes working with victims of domestic violence, skillfully examines how each character reacts to the intense pressure, some failing while others rise to the challenge. The mystery begins after Maddy is gravely injured in a car accident, leaving the readers to wonder will she recover from TBI and in what capacity.

 

The characters are well developed. Maddy is a mother of three who has a career as a social worker. She is married to Ben, a public defender who is known for his passion. The three children are Emma, a child becoming a teenager; Gracie, a sweet child, and her brother Caleb whose only desire is to play video games. Before the accident Maddy and Ben’s relationship teeter from fantastic to having periodic verbal furies. This comes to a head when Ben in a road rage moment swerves off the highway causing Maddy to being thrown out of the car, resulting in a massive brain injury. Everyone’s life changes forever because of the repercussions of the accident. Throughout the story Meyers manages to create feelings towards the characters that range from empathy to dislike.

 

The family must navigate through their emotions of having to endure the changes made to Maddy. She must understand her limitations and what the “new normal” is for her that includes sleeping eighteen hours a day, moving in slow motion, having constant headaches, and losing some of her verbal filters. Meyers also examines how Emma loses her childhood and is required to, in some ways, take over Maddy’s role as housekeeper and mother. There are very touching moments in the book when Emma desires to have her vibrant mother back and one scene in particular when mother and daughter once again bond.

 

Accidents Of Marriage is a poignant and thought provoking novel. Meyers takes readers inside the hearts and minds of the characters. The story should resonate deeply since it about overcoming tragedy and the challenges a family must face.