Broken by Daniel Clay

Broken by Daniel Clay: Book Cover

Back of the book: Until that fateful afternoon, Skunk Cunningham had been a normal little girl, playing on the curb in front of her house. Rick Buckley had been a normal geeky teenager, hosing off his brand-new car. Bob Oswald had been a normal sociopathic single father of five slutty daughters, charging furiously down the sidewalk. Then Bob was beating Rick to a bloody pulp, right there in the Buckley’s driveway, and life on Drummond Square was never the same again.
I won this book through a giveaway on Dar’s blog. Thank you so much, Dar! The book took me way out of my comfort zone but that’s not always a bad thing. I’m glad I read Broken.
There is cruelty in this world. Some people use it against others to get through life and then there are those on the receiving end – trying to avoid it and not sure why they can’t. There are decent, honorable people in this world and sometimes bad things happen to them. Broken is a tale that starts with a lie that sets in motion a series of cruel events which have devastating results. Daniel Clay’s debut novel is unlike any book I’ve ever read. It took me on an emotional ride that at times made me laugh but mostly had me wincing. There’s a blurb on the back of the book that says the author “tells the truth about childhood in the modern world”. I think that may be a bit of a stretch – maybe kids are like this in some neighborhoods but I’d like to think it’s the exception and not the norm.

Broken is the nickname assigned to Rick when he can no longer deal with life after the beating he takes from Bob Oswald. He ends up medicated, uncommunicative and rarely leaves his bedroom. No longer is he the young man who was so proud of his new car. I think each character has a bit of ‘broken-ness’ about them – from the single fathers to the motherless children.

Daniel Clay says he was inspired by To Kill a Mockingbird and there are a few similarities. The edition I read has a P.S. at the end of the book where Clay explains the inspiration. I found that quite interesting. Dar at Peeking Between the Pages has a fine interview with the author here.