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Book Review: A Patchwork of Me by Gregory G. Allen

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Sara Butler is a misfit. As a girl, she was shuttled through the foster care system, never adopted and never able to feel a connection with any of her temporary caregivers. It is a bumpy ride, full of missteps, neglect and abuse.

Unfulfilled in her working life at a dead end job in Phoenix and dogged by her past, she struggles to make a way for herself. She makes poor choices in her relationships with men, instead opting for a physical “relationship” with a man who clearly does not care for her. Sara has forged strong friendships with a trio of quirky personalities who have their own stories; they have become her family.

Disturbing dreams continue to haunt her, dreams that she believes may have something to do with her parents. Sara seeks professional help, although initially she tells the psychologist lies about her past. Thanks to her friends and some internet savvy, Sara gleans tidbits of her past. When she has enough information, she decides to take a road trip to Maine – with her friends – in an effort to discover the truth. While in Maine, the horrifying truth comes out, just as she forms a bond with a local man with more than a casual tie to Sara as the three-year-old.

Gregory G. Allen does an amazingly fine job of writing as Sara. Told in first person, we clearly see Sara as a slightly damaged young woman, full of bravado and outwardly harsh. By contrast, we also see the other sides of her: the little girl severely traumatized by the events she witnessed, the young woman longing for love and belonging, the woman who puts up many walls for protection.

Likewise, Allen’s portrayal of her off-the-wall friends is spot on. They might be left of normal, but they’re likeable. Allen weaves a intricate tapestry of characters, and in doing so successfully transports the reader into his world, from club hopping in Phoenix, to the road trip from hell, to the stark contrast of the kindness they display once they arrive in Maine.

Patchwork of Me is a compelling read. We leave Sara on the upswing, rising up like a phoenix from the ashes and leaving her past where it belongs – behind her. The reader is left grateful for the resolution of her problems and cheering her on to the promise of a better future.

Patchwork of Me is scheduled for release April 15, 2012.

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About Joanne Huspek

I write. I read. I garden. I cook. I eat. And I love to talk about all of the above.