Home Wrecker: Brenda Perlin
Stand in front of a mirror and look closely at the image that is reflected back at you. The face that you are looking at has weathered many storms, might even have some wrinkles or worry lines but the person staring back at you is still YOU! Acceptance of who we are is not always so cut and dry or easy for some people. Others might chastise, criticize and even ridicule us for the way we look, our attitude or even because of our manner of speech or expression. Standing tall, steadfast and looking past what others think is difficult for a young child that is expected to live up to her parent’s expectations and standards. When you meet Brooklyn Rosen as she unravels the many layers of her personality, life and goals within this novel titled Home Wrecker, you will find that the image that is projected or reflected in the mirror has many different sides, can be viewed from many different angles but the end result it is still Brooklyn.
Relationships did not come easy for Brooklyn and dealing with many of her family members brought out her many different sides. Her mother was her champion, her constant and seemed to center her and bring out her fun and joyous side. Her father was tough, hardnosed and often made her feel like she was really not living up to his standards. Sisters that were different hoping to be close but situations putting strains on their relationships that withered away. Describing her first job and moving on from there we learn much about Brooklyn, her goals, thoughts and hopes for her future. But, when someone finally put a camera in her hands the world changed, her energy level rose and things started to fall into place. But, she was not there yet. Many boyfriends, some good some bad, distancing herself from her father after losing her mother to cancer, and then finding out that many experiences in life would cause her to change are just some things that the author relates to the reader about Brooklyn. Waitressing, acting and the combination of both careers seemed to fuel her for a while. Leaving both and then deciding to teach at a gym seemed to bring her some friendships, teach her a lot about people and then something snapped and things went downhill.
Everyone wants what he or she cannot have at times but we need to wait until we can afford to get them. Finding herself in a jail cell after stealing a dress then confronted by the guard who took her in, Brooklyn hopefully learned some hard lessons. Meeting and dating different men would give her several different perspectives including that of many others but in reality she needed to decide for herself and listen to her inner most thoughts.
Her short attention span would hinder her from truly finding her real passion. Smart, astute in her own way even though she did not realize it, Brooklyn’s outlook and assessment of herself was probably harsher than from friends or family. Never pushed to excel or do anything Brooklyn needed to develop her own self-discipline. Turning thirty brought its own hang-ups and issues and a new decade that would hopefully bring out her strengths and stop playing on what she might think are her weaknesses. Flashing back to her thoughts about her mother she realizes and reflects on the important things she was taught. Being who you are, not worrying about what others think of you or trying to be like everyone else are great points to remember. Added in everyone should be an individual and mirroring yourself to be anyone or anything other than the person whose reflection you see in that mirror will present a false persona not only to yourself but the world. Then we learn about her relationship with Gerard and if this is the right man for her. Meeting his family brought mixed emotions, perceptions and feelings. In the company of his family Brooklyn relates her unease. So, why did she experience so many physical issues when preparing for her wedding to Gerard, which should have been happy? In chapters 22-30 we learn about the wedding, the stress and the final result. The decisions made, the difficulty with the dress and the final vows are all part of the first book. Now, let’s learn the rest.
Her father with a woman named Lina and her family at first really great but then things changed when he became sick. Lina wanted money to live in the style she was accustomed or you might say a huge slice of the pie. Greedy, not understanding yet wanting things her father said to give her anything she wanted. Having money from her first husband and really not lacking for anything, then learning her father had cancer she and Gerard took care of him Lina on the other hand wanted his money for her kids. A man that just wanted his family to care about him and not what he could give them. From both families his and Lina’s people came just for money while hoping someone would ask how he felt. His final days were spent with Brooklyn and Gerard. Walking on eggshells through life can cause a fragile existence.
Diagnosed with a disease like Transverse Myelitis which is incurable and then having to deal with doctors that often dismissed her concerns and the cause of her pain, Brooklyn did more than just whether her troubles. Gerard became distant, not really very supportive at times and the end result was hospitalizations, therapy, medications, nurses that were not always compassionate and fear of the unknown and what would happen next.
Anger, stress and lack of understanding can play havoc on a marriage and your life as Gerard’s anger increased and his understanding diminished. So, how would Brooklyn deal with his mood changes and what was next? But, she is a fighter and would not give up. Transverse Myelitis is what she had do deal with and using the net would help her to be equipped with more information and knowledge. Losing her friend to cancer and then going to the gym and meeting Bo, would she forsake her vows?
Life changed for her and although she remained married for a while longer her relationship with Gerard seemed stilted, cold and often disconnected but then there is Bo. Revenge plays a heavy part when someone feels they are wronged. The interactions between Brooklyn, Bo’s wife and Gerard are related in her own voice as you learn what happens when she decides to get divorced and what Gerard does next. Threats, confrontations, anger and much more would follow as things began to more than heat up for Brooklyn who just wanted to be happy. Would Gerard let go? Would Bo’s wife Ruth finally get the message and back off? Court dates, papers filed and hoping to get a restraining order to keep Ruth away from her.
The ending will definitely make you think about the court system, about how truths get twisted and about whether one woman named Brooklyn will come out alone, with another man she loves or just bear the pain of the title Home Wrecker. You decide after reading this book, hearing her words, finding out what happens as a result and the final verdict in the court case before making your decision. Home Wrecker or were both homes wrecked before Brooklyn and Bo met? This is one novel that will definitely give readers much pause for thought as you learn about betrayals, loyalties, guilt, friendships and one woman’s struggle just to find happiness.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer