Thursday, February 26, 2015

Week 26 - Book Summary and Review: Fractured by Dani Atkins

First things first, spoilers ahead.

I got to admit, it was the title of this novel that compelled me to take a look at the synopsis at the back of the book.

In a sentence, I can tell you that this story is about a second chance in life - a better one.

I took an immediate liking to this book once I started reading it. The main character, a girl name Rachel, had quite a normal life with a loving boyfriend Matt, a guy best friend Jimmy and her girl best friend Sarah.

Until the day of the accident, that is.

*** Spoilers this point onwards! ***

When Rachel and her friends were at a restaurant, a car had lost control and crashed into the place just where they were eating - at the window. Rachel would have died if it wasn't for Jimmy who pulled her back from the table where she stood frozen with a chair blocking her path to safety and died in her place.

Ever since then her life seems to have crumbled and got worse. Years on, her father was trying to recover from chemo and she was having frequent headaches that were signs to a disease more fatal, possibly a brain tumor. She pushed Matt away, and when she finally got the courage to go back to her hometown for Sarah's wedding, she saw Matt and Cathy - another friend in her gang - together.

e-book cover
Although Jimmy never got the opportunity to say it, it was hinted that he wanted to tell her that he likes her before they leave for university on the day of the accident. Rachel hadn't known that just then, but only that she felt guilty that he died for her. That thought haunted her for a long time, until one day she went to Jimmy's grave.

That's when she was given her 'second chance'. Rachel had a splitting headache and collapsed as she tried to get help from drivers on the road.

She woke up, confused, to various pleasant surprises. Her father was healthy and well, Jimmy still alive with just a scar to prove that he survived, and she's engaged to Matt.

Thing is, it takes a great deal of adjusting from her previous life to her new life. One does not simply just accept that her best friend has been resurrected from death or that her dad got well from chemo within a day or two. Or that the 'ex' is now engaged to her and totally in love too.

So yes, Rachel was very confused and tried to convince everyone that this wasn't her life. She baffled her friends when she was able to provide concise information about her former workplace, neurologist and her apartment.

None of the people from her 'previous life' seems to know her at all - her colleagues, her neighbours, et cetera, because in her 'new life', it's all completely different.

Despite appearing to love her a lot, Racher couldn't seem to reciprocate the feelings for him. Instead, she got closer and closer to Jimmy, which might be because of having lost him before.

For some reason, this novel was given a different
title in America
Rachel still gets 'images' from her previous life, the scent of her father's aftershave, the sounds of an ambulance, but they always seem to go away just as quickly.

At one point, she was convinced that she was suffering from multiple-personality disorder after having a talk with Jimmy and visiting her workplace where she found an article that she allegedly wrote.

Her relationship with Jimmy only got closer when she suspected that Matt was cheating on her with Cathy and discovered it to be true when she went into his apartment and caught them in the act.

Jimmy finally had the chance to confess his feelings for her a while after that incident. She knew then, what he'd wanted to tell her that night of the incident in her previous life.

They got married, and as they walked out of the church into the bright lights outdoors, her father held her hands and asked the doctor if there really wasn't hope for her anymore and if she might be able to smell his aftershave that she gifted him. The doctors gave a negative answer, and pulled the plug.

***

Ratings: 4/5

This is one of the few novels that had me flipping the pages and hooked till the end although the ending could be guessed. I wondered while I was reading, if there was any chance at all that she would suddenly go back to her previous life, or if Rachel's theory about parallel universes and 'soul-exchange' was actually correct.

There were two 'teams' in this story, Team Jimmy and Team Matt. I've always been in Team Jimmy from the very start when he showed her affections in subtle ways. Somehow Jimmy managed to seem somewhat more affectionate that Matt ever can be as a companion, and the point that he cheated did not help.



At the ending of the story, I wondered if all that she was in her new life is the afterlife that she was experiencing, or if it was simply something conjured in her mind while she was in her comatose condition. What if it was an alternative life that Jimmy conjured up to welcome her into her afterlife?
There were many questions as to this aspect, and I suppose this would be up to the readers to decide.

I hoped for a happy ending, and I suppose in a sense this counts as one when she's happy with Jimmy and her family and friends are all pretty well off.

A part that I probably didn't enjoy as much in this novel was the confusing parts that were Rachel's point of view. It seemed reassuring at one moment and suddenly something happens and you start doubting her hypothesis for the things happening around her. Sure, it keeps you guessing, but it probably isn't all that nice when it lasts throughout the whole book.

It's books like this that makes me wonder if our lives are truly as we perceive them. I truly enjoyed reading this one nonetheless, and I'll probably keep a lookout for Dani Atkin's other books now :)

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