Maddy is a social worker with three kids and a public defender husband, Ben. Ben and Maddy are both passionate about their jobs helping people in need and are passionate in their love for each other and their children. Although they love their family, life is very hectic with their eldest, Emma, becoming a teenager, and their two younger children, Gracie and Caleb, are still very needy. What makes matters worse is that Ben comes home very late from work quite often and seems to be angry most of the time. Maddy, Emma, Gracie, and Caleb find themselves constantly placating Ben to stay out of the line of fire.
Ben has a super powered convertible and one day when late to work after a series of family misadventures, Ben lets his anger and road rage go too far and causes a terrible accident that puts Maddy into a coma. How did Ben get to this point? Will he be able to change? What will happen to their children and to Maddy?
Accidents of Marriage takes an unflinching look at what a dire accident and unmanaged anger can do to a family. Often in movies a person will wake up miraculously from a coma and everything is wonderful again. When someone has such a traumatic injury, they are not going to be the same and there is a lot of work and understanding that goes along to help them along. Also in movies, the angry spouse will come to learn the error of their ways and will instantly be reformed, which is not very realistic. This books has the point of view of Maddy, Ben, and their eldest daughter Emma and how things change in their life.
What I loved the best about this book is that it all of the characters are three dimensional real people. Being married with three kids of my own, the scenes felt very real, either close to home or something I could imagine a neighbor experiencing. From the back of the novel, I got the sense that Ben would be an evil mustache twirling villain. He is not. Ben has problems, but so does Maddy. Ben makes some terrible mistakes, but he also tries his best to help Maddy. He loves his family, but he has some major work to do to control his anger. Maddy at the start of the novel had work to do to get off of her prescription drug addiction and constant nagging of Ben. Neither partner is perfect, but they are overall good, real people that want to make their marriage work.
Overall, I thought this was a gripping, realistic portrayal of a marriage in peril and I enjoyed reading it immensely. I think this book would be a great book for my book club to discuss. I would be interested to know how my friends felt about the various characters.
Book Source: Review Copy from author Randy Susan Meyers as part of the TLC Book Tour. Check out this link for more stops on the tour.