A Patchwork Of Me
Author: Gregory Allen
Reviewed by Fran Lewis
Just who is Sara Butler? Where does she come from? What is her past and why does she live in a fabricated and fantasy she made up for the present. Stemming from the first lies she invented about her past and a self created plane crash killing her parents, shifted and shoved around from to different foster care homes, Sara Butler has no real identity of her own. Realizing she might need help she seeks out a therapist only to hide the truth from him no matter how hard he tries to break through her wall or the methods he employs. Sara’s wall is up and it is unbreakable with no cracks or openings to let anyone in or the truth out. Questions asked in each session should bring her closer to finding the answers or solutions to her disjointed feelings about herself and her need to be liked, wanted, and really learn who her parents were and where she came from. But, the answers never came and Sara buries herself in her own made up truths to feel accepted, normal, wanted and hoping to be just plain Sara. Her anxieties and fears manifested themselves in a phantom rash on her left arm that no one saw and no one, including Sara could find. Devoid of spots, red rashes or any discoloration she lived with a gnawing itch that was ever so present. But, there is more. Sara’s nights are not filled with beautiful dreams or happy thoughts that filled her day or from her past instead she had flashes or weird and unsettling experiences that resulted in her waking in a cold sweat and wondering what the dreams mean and their significance.
Sara wants to be accepted and in doing so she managed to meet three amazing friends that would stick by her through this entire journey to her self -realization. Erick, Matty and Hahn would be there to support her and help her find herself but first Sara had to realize that it was time to look back before moving ahead. Erick, Matty and Hahn were her family. Each friend filling a specific void of spot in her life each always there for each other no matter what and without question. A unique circle of friends that never questioned her past, her motives and accepted her for who she appeared to be and who understood, as they did needed someone in their lives who would accept them for them. Before Sara could deal with the present she had to deal with her dreams and the realities that she has been hiding from for so long. Could these dreams stem from something with her parent that has been buried so long it is surfacing in her inner most thoughts an uncontrolled. Told in the first person in Sara’s own voice you hear her words, her thoughts, fears and frustrations as author Gregory Allen brings her to life for the reader.
Sara is a product of the New Mexico Foster Child Protection Service System. Foster Care is rough and children often get shuffled around from home to home and never really have any real roots unless they are adopted. As an educator I have seen many children that have had a difficult time dealing with so many different parents and homes and only wanted to be loved and have two parents to care for them. Working in a metal shop in a meaningless job in Phoenix and struggling to find herself, Sara often finds herself in relationships that are wrong, one with a man for a physical fling only and dealing with her disturbing dreams that plague her nights.
Relationships appear to be one main issue for each character but in different ways. As Sara struggles to find her own niche her and come to grips with her different fears and unresolved past, Erick has to come to terms with the changes in his relationship with Ron after 10 years. But, Sara’s inner voice comes forward gut her dark secret remained hidden, as Sara often feels isolated even in a group. Even if she disappeared entirely she feels no one would know or even dare. The tight relationship with this group did not allay her fears of loneliness or dependency. Pity is not what she should feel for herself but is often comes through as one of her major problems. Each time she speaks aloud her inner voice tries to focus her in the right direction but Sara does not always want to hear the truth or listen. Sara was trying to be more than just a superficial friend when she finally reaches out to Erick and their relationship just might move to a higher and different level. As Erick enlightens Sara into what is really behind the changes in Ron the reader learns more about Erick’s insecurities and fears too. Both just might have taken the first time to learning who and what they are but there is much more for both to learn and to tell.
As bike ride for charity leads Sara on a new path when she is stopped by a psychic whose words echo in her brain. Reliving her dream with Gracie still haunts her and when meeting up with Hahn she meets Samara another psychic and voice that will be heard.
When Sara reflects on her session with Samara and learns more about her past and her early childhood she goes back to her therapist and admits the truths about the lies told and her journey is finally going to take her where she hopes to find out who she really is and where she came from. Fear can really destroy a person and what Sara reveals about her childhood is frightening a much of what happened before going into Foster Care was abusive and hard for any three year old to handle. These and other visions came back to her during the session.
A road trip to Maine would hopefully find the answers she needs as she goes back in time once more and what she learns will definitely give her and the reader chills as the truth about her parents comes front and center in true techno color during a session with her therapist. What she witnessed and was made to see no child or even adult should have to endure. Who were her parents you will have to learn for yourself? What is next for Sara you will learn when she comes front and center with her past and Child Protective Services hopefully will fill in the rest.
What she finds out will definitely endear you to the people she meets in Maine. As one woman named Ida finds the courage to tell Sara the truth and all the pieces of her life finally fit together. Sometimes in order to move ahead you need to go back and face the past. What really happened and what crimes did her parents commit you won’t believe? What happens between Erick and Matty stays in Maine and goes no further? What happens when she meets Brent and sees the home where he lives? What memories flood back and what will the end result be? Author Gregory G. Allen has woven his own patchwork quilt of events in each specific square depicting Sara’s life from start to definitely not finish since he left some empty for her to fill in on her own. Friendships, loyalties, trust and a whole new beginning are right there if she wants it. Would you want to know your past if it meant learning some horrible truths? Just what she learns and how she deals with it you will have to read for yourself. Like a mosaic picture with each tile perfectly placed and glued until some fall apart and others disappear as Sara’s life unfolded in front of her eyes but then she reglued the pieces back and the picture she sees is entirely different. Just what this means you will have to learn as one young woman needs to decide if the wall of fear wins out or the love of others. One thought provoking novel. One great author and definitely characters he can bring back in another novel. A definite must read.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer