Reviewer Sandra Shwayder Sanchez: Sandra is
a retired attorney and co-founder of a small non-profit publishing
collective: The Wessex Collective with whom she has published two short fiction collections
(A Mile in These Shoes and Three Novellas) and one
Her most recent novel, The Secret of A Long Journey is soon to be released by Floricanto Press in April 2012 and her first novel, The Nun, originally published by Plain View Press in 1992 is being reissued in a 2nd Edition with additional material by PVP in March 2012.
To call a semi
autobiographical novel about escape from an abusive relationship a
“fun” read will probably sound irreverent but All The Wrong
Places truly is a lot of fun to read. The narrator, Casey, is
vulnerable but proud and determined, the bad guy, Jerry, is really
bad but not unrealistically so, the good guys (in the mortuary) are
caring, smart and often absolutely hilarious. The plot is just
bizarre enough to be real, in fact some of it is based on the
author’s own experience. The structure is easy to follow and
all questions are answered in good time. I can’t think of a
better book to make a reader feel good about the possibilities in
The promo materials say that the book is a “courageous, emotive account of the struggles that so many American women encounter” and I’d have to say that most American women who find themselves in abusive relationships are not so lucky as to crash their cars on the grounds of a mortuary with a resident savior, but it is more than heartwarming to follow this protagonist’s unlikely, bizarre but believable rescue. I did myself work in a shelter for battered women thinking I’d pursue an MSW to do counseling, when it occurred to me that most victims of domestic violence were in greater need of legal assistance and I made a last minute decision to apply to law school instead. So I can say from years of experience that the courtroom scenes and the scenes with the court appointed G.A.L were spot on accurate and could certainly have transpired just as the author described them. Also completely authentic and insightful was how Casey reacted to winning her custody and property battles in court: she knew that, with nothing to lose, Jerry would be that much more determined to take vengeance so she was not being over dramatic to fear for her life. I realize I have just revealed quite a bit of the plot but it doesn’t matter because it is not so much suspense that keeps a reader turning the pages, as the absolute joy of hanging out with the Golden Oaks mortuary gang. You definitely want to meet these fine folks.
Rebecca Fisher is clearly up to turning any kind of real life circumstances into literature that combines seriousness with the out loud laughter that so often saves us from despair, gritty realism with the magic of dreams and psychic insights. And if happy endings after these kinds of opening circumstances might seem a stretch, well she makes this happy ending not only plausible but a true celebration. Read and rejoice!
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