A Novel by Renae Manigault
Reviewed by E.L.S.E.
You can pick up a copy at the online bookstore: http://store.yahoo.com/dorrance/brokrainnove.html at the www.dorrancebookstore.com
This e-book was provided by Dorrance Book Review Team.
The book is published by Dorrance Publishing.
I must recognize that Dorrance Bookstore has an impressive collection of wonderful books! This is my feeling every time when I am looking for something to read! I never tried until now to read an American novel in its original English version, so this reading was an event for me. Thanks God was such a wonderful experience!
The author have the capacity to combine the action with short, or sometime longer, descriptions of the environment placing the action in a verisimilar, credible atmosphere. The images succeed rapidly; the plans are moved cinematographic, like a camera filming, which can record also the thought, the smells, the noises, the colors, the memories. Sometime there can be find also scenic indications, descriptions: “Theo stepped forward to speak, but before he could, Mel was moving him to the side. “ (pg. 9).
It is interesting how the author characterizes in few sentences the personages, using the most important of their gestures, thoughts, pieces of clothes, etc.
Resorting to the memories of the main character, the author builds, bit by bit his complex personality, related so well, so credible, with its general background.
The book is a American society`s radiography, catching so well the nuances of the social life influence on the personal life. One general problem for a great part of these days society is the mistrust in school and the corruption of the young people to make easy money. Like that character, barely speaking English said to Mel: “You no need college. You want money, I show you how.” (pg. 5).
Some of the comparisons are wonderful: “The approaching night gave the neighborhood a solitude that made it seem as though heaven was indeed on earth.” (pg. 7).
It seems like the preferred stylistic procedure employed by the author is the story in frame.
Some of the sayings are superb showing us new perspectives, new angles to see things: “Theo was too unstable for anyone to really believe that he knew how to dream consciously.” (pg. 10).
The concept of highlighting some ideas by spelling word with italic letters it is also interesting, and white spread among the book: “In fact, he was capable of breaking the glass.” (pg. 11).
The dialog lines have sparkling queries and answers, a certain rhythm and use slangy expressions.
The book describes the African – Americans` universe, struggling with the hostile world of white man.
The author has plenty of humor resources, which color the writing: “Damn! Just because you asked someone to house-sit didn’t mean you wanted them to destroy it!”
The woman psychology, like is analyzed in the book, indicates a profound knowledge of the subject. The nuances are fine detailed and interested to be read: “But he was foolish to think that all she wanted was to remain an ever faithful housewife who did part-time teaching at college. She was capable of expanding beyond her dreams. She was capable of shooting for the stars and reaching them.” ; “The things she tolerated as a young woman were more complicated to accept now.”; “If only men realized what women endured when they went through the change: mood swings, hot flashes, burning and sweating skin. But they didn’t know. They just knew that at night when it came time to go to bed, they wanted to cuddle with a warm body. They had no idea that the body they were cuddling to was a potential inferno.” (pg. 18)
Insinuation like a stylistic procedure, embrace the form of euphemism: “His interest was the color green and how fast he could get it.” (about money, pg. 21)
Through out the book it is present the feminist struggle and the resistance that society opposes to it.
At least in the first part of the book the tone of the speech is optimistic: “And to say the least, she was a white woman with a dream that even the busiest of politicians would have to take seriously.” (pg. 26)
Separating different episodes or different scenes by blank rows it is interesting.
The dynamic actions are inlaid with calm paragraphs.
Some passages are showing day by day life, unspectacular activities, but just because that, offer those days perfume, also resting the reader: “Indeed, someone had gone against his wishes. The vent was open and it was blowing. It was blowing so cold and hard that even the taped trimmed paper he tried to put across it kept blowing off. “Here’s some duct tape.” He turned to see Sally standing there, offering him the tape.” (pg. 29)
Another theme of the book is the segregation, present in any aspects. Author tells us about the struggle of the African – American people: “You know how white people are. Always looking out for each other” (pg. 30). It is not impossible for me to judge this aspect, because even in these days, Romanians are discriminated in their own country, in the counties where the Hungarian population (two counties from 42 in total). It is so sad because some ideologies are taking the minds of the people and during the history the man race has the ugly tendency to repeat endlessly the same mistakes.
The main character, named Mel Edgers, has a story of a man of success, working hard, being devoted to the company where he is employed. He rejects the social struggle also to not recognize, maybe, that he is discriminated.
The action starts with ease atmosphere but become more and more loaded with conflict, more and more tense, until reach the apex. Somehow, the author brings us gradually into the main conflict but familiarizing us before.
Some queries have a universal air: “What would make a man cheat on a woman?” (pg. 37); “Why must we define ourselves, when society already has?” (pg. 38)
I think the book succeeds to present the subtle mechanisms through which the white people`s racism generates the racism of black people`s.
An interesting shift of the character importance occurs in the chapter twelve, where Theo became a main personage. Also interesting are the differences between Mel and Theo are seeing the life: one realized and bored, affording to have verticality and other searching hard for a way to get through.
A question that have to be put: how much to have to consider yourself successful? Ann is a teacher, drive a Mercedes, have a nice life, but yet throw her following her dream concerning the Broken Rainbow, into an unknown world, full of dangers. Why to forget always to search only the success that we can deal with.
Like usually, when a woman fall in love starts lying: ““Shopping,” Ann lied. She surprised herself. She had been angry at Mel for having her lie to Theo. Now she was lying to him. “ (pg. 66). The marriage of Mel and Ann attracts all sort of pressure to be destroyed: tensions at work, personal ambitions, stubbornness, mistrust, lack of communication, temptation, alcoholism, etc. Even the book started like an average story of a family, ends into a tragedy, insinuated by the title: Broken Rainbow.
We may call the novel a psychological one since it follows and analyzing the psychic transformations of the characters.
It is sad but many times in life one may say like the author said through this line: “But no one asked for your truth!” (pg. 74)
Ann is a beautiful woman, energetic, full of life, feeling good to be dressed nice, using expensive perfumes… being almost unhappy in her marriage and wanting to make a carrier against the perils that means in a so manly polarized society: a recipe for falling in the mud. I am at page 74 and my sensation is that Ann will cheat Mel with Mister Jones. I hope will be not the case!
A very strong question needed to put it is how to keep the balance between the feminist movement and the personal hate of some disillusioned women, which try to destroy others families only to justify theirs failures. What to think about this line which is an advice from a woman friend to other friend: “Choosing your career over him.” (pg. 75). If you have sinned, what is your justifying making other sin?!...
Some phrases from the book declare moral principles and life lessons: “You can justify all you want, but the truth has to come out.” (pg. 77)
Saying like the following are giving a poetical nuance to the writing: “what she invested in people was pure love” (pg. 85)
The psychological analyze is sometime very deep, showing us sentiments, feelings that we had before or we can have, even not being conscious about it: “Was he jealous because she had found something more fulfilling to her than he felt he was? Was he jealous that she could have an affection for something that he felt he had to take a back seat to? Was he jealous because she was fulfilling herself?” (pg. 147); “She wasn’t asking for his approval or for his input. She was telling him something.” (pg. 148)
It is interesting that the character named Mel, being sometime discriminated, transforms that thing into certitude for his life and search for it even when it isn’t happen. So, on one hand, the society discriminates, and on the other hand, even it isn’t happen, discrimination is thought to be there: it is a so efficient way - yet negative - to make the communication impossible. Mel, being announced by his wife that she is about to succeed, he answers: “You think that by denying who you are, you’re going to get closer to your Broadway.” “All I’m saying,” he said, “is that you’ve got no race honor.” (pg. 148)
Philosophy of life is present in lines like these: “We all have choices to make. They can be good. They can be bad. They can not matter. But you pay the price for choosing.” (pg. 149)
The author creates very original and striking sentences to talk about love: “I needed you to need me...” (pg. 192)
The title chosen for the novel, “Broken Rainbow”, it is a very inspired one. The writer`s skillfully unfold gradually the meaning of the “Broken Rainbow”, building the whole story around the two words which compose the title of the book. Also, the Rainbow turns to not be broken in the end and transforms into a hope.
I warmly recommend this novel to be read! It is a open window towards such an average but also such a spectacular world!
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