Damaged!

Bernadette Y. Connor, Author, Nora Wright, Editor
Bernadette Y. Connor, Author, Nora Wright, Editor Waverly House Publishing $22.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-9650970-3-1
Paperback - 343 pages - 978-0-9650970-2-4
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Connor's debut novel is a deft psychological thriller about a teenage African American, Adrena Reynolds, an emotionally fragile survivor of a childhood rape perpetrated by her drug-addled parents. Once institutionalized, Adrena is now slowly being coaxed back into society by her psychologist, Vivian Matthews. Yet Matthews's own relationships are far from perfect, and her bond with Adrena is perhaps too close: she treats Adrena more like a member of her family than like a patient. When Matthews marries, Adrena's rage toward men surfaces, threatening to destroy not only her mental health and social reintegration but also her psychologist's practice and newlywed life. There are uneven patches here, many of which are due to Connor's tendency to draw conclusions for the reader instead of letting them emerge from the story. But many scenes--as when Adrena sees a kiss-mark on her shrink and mistakes it for a sign of domestic battery--are touchingly rendered, and the book is alive with the intensity with which Connor imagines Adrena transcending the cold, haunting hatred that dominated her early life. (Dec.)
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