Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Drama Publication.Date May 6th 2011 Pages: 250 Published By: Create Space Website Bryan Healey | Twitter Shattered Wings - Goodreads My review copy: Provided by the author (thank you!) Where to get: Barnes and Noble | Amazon
John holds the American dream: A man he loves, a beautiful little girl, a suburban home and a well-paying job... And then a sudden layoff brings about unexpected financial and emotional strain. As he struggles to find new work, a growing sense of despair triggers a relapse into alcoholism and causes him to face his demons of addiction, discrimination, and regret as he tries desperately to recover before it's too late...(goodreads.com)
“I'm cold. My back is hurting from being pressed against this building. I sit motionless atop the wet, red-brick sidewalk. My pants are soaked and my arm is sore, but I don't care; I don't care about much of anything anymore. I can barely think, still fogged from the poison in my blood; my world has been upended, and so much faster than I thought possible.”
“Life is full of new beginnings, and you can't get yourself all worked up every time one comes along.”
Every once in awhile, you find a book that is so compelling and penetrating that you can’t put it down. Through its fiery emotional onslaught it tears at your soul and leaves a stain upon your heart. It’s dark and disquieting, and yet you can’t cast it away. It grabs hold of you from page one and doesn’t let go till the end. Shattered Wings is one of those books.
In his book, Bryan Healey tackles the demons and obsessions challenging the alcoholic. He brings to vivid light the tragedy of the alcohol addiction. In a literary style that is both simple and masterful, his description of what true alcoholism is and what it does to people is deeply disturbing and unforgettable.
Shattered Wings is a tale of one man’s descent into alcoholism. John seems to have everything going for him. He has a well-paying white-collar job, loving partner and beautiful daughter. Together with his family he lives a harmonious and prosperous life in a suburban house in upper New York. He’s a successful man, content with what he has. Until one day it all comes tumbling down when John is released from his job due to the downsizing of the company he works for. Determined to salvage the situation on his own, he decides to keep the layoff a secret from his partner, until he finds a new job. But finding it isn’t as easy as he first thought it would be. No one seems to be interested in hiring a laid-off worker who dedicated 13 years of his life to one company. Apparently his loyalty means nothing more than experience deficiency and not enough exposure to a broader range of skills. As days pass by and there’s still very little prospect of getting hired, an overpowering sense of hopelessness sinks John to the bottom of the bottle.
Shattered Wings pulls the reader into a dark and scary world of alcohol abuse. A world filled with lies, delusions, anger, self-pity and fear. John is slowly losing everything he ever cared about and yet I find it very hard to sympathize with him. After all, he made the decision to face the hardships on his own. If only he’d confide in Charlie, no matter how desperate the situation, I’m sure together they’d find a way out of it. I was really angry at John for making all the wrong decisions and succumbing to his addiction. There were many times when I seriously wanted to slap or shake him. I was frustrated that he gave up, that he didn’t try harder, and that he didn’t let people help him when he was unable to help himself. Deep inside he knew that he’s an alcoholic, and yet he chose to pretend that it’s only temporary, that he can –and will – stop drinking as soon as he can find a new job.
It’s a very emotional story and I was totally engrossed in it. Healey’s writing style is simple yet very captivating. The story is told in a way that will keep you turning the pages until you hit the back cover. This book deals with some heavy subjects yet it’s not emotionally draining.
What I especially like about this book is that it does not aspire to create a greater sympathy for alcoholics, nor does it have any didactic feeling to it. Healey is not here to teach you what is wrong or right, he won’t tell you to stay away from the alcohol, nor will he encourage you to have a drink. Shattered Wings has no agenda, good or bad, for its influence in the world. It simply tells a tragic story. It lays out the facts, leaving the reader to interpret them however he/she wants. Bryan Healey has perfectly captured the madness, hopelessness, compulsion, fear and degradation of addiction. Shattered Wings chronicles a truly heartbreaking journey down the road to self-destruction. It’s a powerful and thought-provoking read, a chronicle, a picture, a record of a dark way of life. All that makes it a great piece of literature, well worthy of the time invested into reading it.