String Bridge by Jessica Bell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Jessica is a poet, so it's not surprising that she employs good use of imagery, metaphor, and other poetic devices from the very beginning of String Bridge.
The preface is gorgeous and reads more like poetry than any other part of the book. It gets you into the mindset of 30-year-old Melody almost immediately, and paints her as a woman who loves music, but has chosen to give it up for the sake of her family and a stable paycheck.
Though the protagonist refers to herself in the preface as "a mother, a wife, a 'happy' homemaker--who lives a socially acceptable existence," it becomes clear while reading not only that Melody isn't happy, but that the source of her angst comes less from the demands of her daughter (who was so good I sometimes wished I could trade her for one of my real children) and more from the strain of living with a husband who is both verbally and emotionally abusive. Not to say he's always a tyrant, or that Melody is a perpetual victim. She has her own moments of irrational behavior and fits of rage. One in particular where she hurls plates at her husband's head because she doesn't want to be a "doormat." But much of Melody's problems are brought on by her own distorted thinking, perpetuated by her husband, mother,and her need to turn her anger inward so she can think the best of them.
This book deals with some serious issues: mental illness, self-injury, infidelity, and codependency to name a few. It take you through stages of grief and pain with evocative description, puts you in the midst of turmoil, grabs you by the shoulders and makes you examine what is true and false. Melody is not a Stepford Wife with a pasted on smile and politically correct emotions; she doesn't do or feel anything halfway, and the way she comes to view her life is nothing short of inspirational.
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