Friday, June 10, 2011

All The Wrong Places, review by Sandra Sanchez


All The Wrong Places
By Rebecca Fisher
ISBN #9780615418292

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 life.

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!

Sandra Shwayder Sanchez
author of Stillbird, Three Novellas, A Mile In These Shoes

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