Saturday, October 15, 2011

Review: Disrupted Lives by Brenda Youngerman

Publisher: Eloquent Books
Published: April 11, 2011
Pages: 246
Received: ebook from author for honest review
Buy Now: Amazon

A name does not make a person, a person makes a name.Such is the theme of Disrupted Lives, the story of how one adopted child touches and intersects with many lives, but ends up destroying one family name, while building another family's legacy.
Darren and Amelia Kane were high school sweethearts torn apart by war. They reunite and discover that they both must put their nightmares behind them to build a life together. Betrayed by her parents, Amelia was earlier forced to give up their child.
Fiona Porter and Sterling Lake are thrown together as part of a business proposition. They end up surprising both their families by enriching the Lake empire and family name. The Lakes become synonymous with society, power and money, and their children must carry that torch forward at all cost. When an adopted grandchild is brought into the family, he questions the definition of "family."
From 1920 to present-day Georgia, this saga of family secrets and old Southern prejudices are explored in the explosive novel Disrupted Lives.
Disrupted Lives is an amazing story that crosses generations of the Lake and Kane families. It's both heartwrenching and heartwarming as we follow each family through time. It truly is fiction with a purpose. Touching on topics as varied as adoption and the stigma surrounding it, to prejudices regarding race in the Southern states.

This story line does do a lot of jumping between time frames and families, but I didn't find it that difficult to follow. I actually liked how you would get glimpses of things from one family in the 1920s and then from the other family in the 1950s, and so on. It made the story build up bit by bit and from different points of view.

The one person in this story who seems to cause most of the drama is Grandma Lake, an old Southern woman with old Southern ways. She still believes that adoption is not an accepted thing to do and she treats her adopted grandson, Ben, like a servant and not a family member. I was frustrated that his Mom knew what was happening, but didn't push the subject enough with her husband for anything to be done about it. And I was angry with Ben's father for not opening his eyes to his mother's prejudices and stepping to to defend his son. Reading about how Ben truly felt all of these years made me see that adoption is a tricky thing - his adoptive parents told him how much they loved him over and over, but they failed to actually show that love to him. Isn't the old adage: Actions speak louder than words? That applies here.  

The other topic that is lightly touched upon in this novel is racism. The same Southern lady, Grandma Lake, is a racist. She makes snide comments here and there about coloured folk and that they are just help and not valuable people. The only act of defiance that her son actually manages is to defend the coloured people in court, because he knows how much it will irritate his mother. I just find it funny that he can see this prejudice in his mother, but not the issue with his adopted son. 
There are so many other topics that the book touches on that it would take forever to write about them all including teenage pregnancy, family values, and family secrets.

I suppose when the story finally crosses over and the Kane family finally go searching for their son, Ben, that it is an interesting reason to go looking for him, not one that I expected at all. It was almost a selfish reason to finally search for him, but in the end it might just have been the motivation they needed to finally reach out.

The line, "A name does not make a person, a person makes a name" is very representative of Ben Lake. He realizes that he truly doesn't feel like a Lake and goes out to make a name for himself and to find a family of his own that will accept him. I think that one line had the greatest impact on me.

I have not read a book so emotionally charged that tackled such difficult subject matter, since I read Restored Hope by Brenda Youngerman. Brenda seems to be able to write about topics that truly inspire us to be better people - I know it has affected me in this way.

About the Author:
Brenda Youngerman was a single mother who raised her 3 children in southern California when they were not living with their father. She has first hand knowledge of what emotional trauma can do to a family as she was the product of a broken home.

She was the youngest member in a very large family and always felt like she was on the outside looking in. She believes that is how she learned to observe life swirling around her and that has given her the edge to write "Fiction With a Purpose," novels about real people in real life situations. She tries to paint a picture of life as it is to give her readers that ability to see situations from a different point of view. Her goal as an author is to have ONE reader pick up a novel and see a similarity in his or her life and see an opportunity to do something to make their life better.

Brenda can be found:

1 comment:

  1. Chrystal,
    Thank you for such a great review. I'm glad that you enjoyed the book. You certainly managed to get all of the underlying issues!
    Brenda Youngerman


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