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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Accidents of Marriage by Randy Susan Myers

Accidents of Marriage by Randy Susan Myers
Published by Atria ISBN 978-1-4516-7304-3
Hardcover, $25, 354 pages
The issue of domestic violence is at the forefront of many conversations today, in part due to the horrific video of Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice knocking his fiancee out with a punch. Randy Susan Myers' timely novel Accidents of Marriage investigates what happens when a man who loses his temper too frequently finally loses control and it costs those he loves a great deal.

Maddie is a social worker married to Ben, a public defender celebrated for his passion and intelligence in his work. He is looked up to by his colleagues and worshipped by his female intern. But Ben has a terrible temper, one that only his wife and three children- 14 year-old Emma, 9 year-old Gracie and 7 year-old Caleb- have seen up close.

Ben verbally abuses his family and they live in fear of his outbursts, where he occasionally throws plates crashing into the wall. The slightest thing out of the ordinary- dirty dishes in the sink, clothes on the floor- send him into an uncontrollable rage.

Funny thing about people who say they can't control their rage; they seem to be able to control it just fine at the office. They never scream at colleagues or clients; they save that for their family.

Maddie has to call Ben to pick her up when her car gets towed for having an expired registration. Ben is late for a meeting, furious at Maddie for not taking care of the registration, and on a rain soaked road, he gets into a road rage incident and while speeding has an accident that leaves Maddie fighting for her life.

Ben is injured, but Maddie is in a coma. Her family, her parents and sister Vanessa, who doesn't like Ben, are all there. The children are there too, but they are not allowed in the ICU area, so the three young children are in a separate waiting area- all alone.

That really bugged me. There are several adults waiting, any one of whom could have gone and sat with these frightened children, who had no idea what was going on with their mother. The judgement of the adults in this situation left me dumbfounded. How could no one comfort those children?

The story is told from three perspectives; Maddie, Ben and Emma all get to tell their stories. It is heartbreaking to see this family torn apart, and difficult to see Maddie try and put her life together after a serious traumatic brain injury. She has to start from the beginning and learn how to do everything from walking to talking to cooking, and her frustration comes through clearly on the page.

Much of the day-to-day care of the house and the other children is left to Emma. Poor Emma gets overlooked, and so much is dumped into her lap, again without the adults thinking about how she is doing. I felt most deeply for Emma.

Meyers does a wonderful job making us feel what this family is going through. Ben still has his anger issues, Maddie is trying to pick up the pieces of her life and figure out just what happened, and the children are struggling too. There is no miracle cure for Maddie, she must fight everyday and it exhausts her.

The characters are realistic, and some even unlikable (and not just Ben, I didn't like Vanessa either). The Wednesday Blues Club, made up of women who live with domestic violence in their lives, is a support group that Maddie started in her job and when she returns after her injury, she has a new understanding and it causes her to rethink her own life choices.

Accidents of Marriage is a terrific book club pick; there are so many meaty things to discuss in this book.

rating 4 of 5
Randy Susan Meyers' website is here.

Thanks to TLC Tours for putting me on Randy's tour. The rest of Randy's stops are here.

Randy’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, September 2nd: BookNAround
Wednesday, September 3rd: nightlyreading
Thursday, September 4th: Luxury Reading
Monday, September 8th: Always With a Book
Tuesday, September 9th: Drey’s Library
Wednesday, September 10th: 5 Minutes For Books
Tuesday, September 16th: bookchickdi
Tuesday, September 23rd: My Book Retreat
Wednesday, September 24th: Wordsmithonia
Thursday, September 25th: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Monday, September 29th: Reading in Black & White
Tuesday, September 30th: Doing Dewey
Friday, October 3rd: Patricia’s Wisdom


  1. That sounds like a disturbing page turner!

  2. I completely agree - people with rage problems don't usually display those tendencies at work. It's so unfair to their families. What a challenge to deal with in a spouse!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.