By: Linda Barrett
Published: April 4, 2013
FAMILY INTERRUPTED is my first read by Linda Barrett, who is the best-selling author of 13 novels. I was intrigued by the synopsis of the story and yet it was a topic I didn’t really want to read about. Claire and Jack and are the parents of Ian, a senior, and Kayla, age 12. One fateful afternoon, Claire lingers after her art class talking to her handsome professor and accepting his many compliments on her artwork. Claire ends up arriving home late, to police cars and an ambulance in front of their house. Kayla ends up dying as the result of being hit by a car while trying to catch a football thrown by her brother. Their family, their careers, their passions and their way of communicating are forever changed. Each of them are struggling with their own grief and for Claire, it ends up consuming her.
I must admit, this was a tough one to get through. It was depressing and as a mom, I felt the pain of grief as I read each page. I can’t imagine losing one of our children and how our family would be forever changed. There were many times when I had to put the book down and ignore it for awhile. I also found some parts of the book to be a bit unbelievable. After Ian graduated from high school, he moved out and for two years never looked back. His parents never called him, never saw where he lived or worked, or knew anything about his life. Even in grief, I can’t imagine completely ignoring my other children and I found myself continually frustrated by Ian’s and his parents behavior. Other parts of their grief, I did find realistic, saying “I will not cry for at least an hour” made perfect sense to me.
The author did paint the picture of grief for this family. Their pain was evident on the pages and the descriptions of Claire’s artwork she created to remember Kayla were vivid and imaginative. I also found the pain of Sarah, the driver that killed Kayla, to be very understandable. The tragedy happened to her too and changed her direction, dreams, and hopes all in one second.
Eventually Claire has to decide if she is going to allow grief and blame to take hold of her life and her marriage, as well as Sarah’s fragile hold on life. Claire has become so focused on Kayla that she begins to ignore those in her life that are still living. A surprise shows up at Claire’s door and will help her change her outlook for the future. But, will her husband, parents, sister and son still be there to welcome her back? As Claire realizes the mistakes she has made, you can feel the weight lift off her shoulders and have hope that they can find happiness again. As Claire makes peace with herself, she needs to make peace with her daughter as well. Claire’s conversation with her daughter’s portrait was heartfelt, honest, and emotional. It was a beautiful way for Claire to bring closure and move forward in the healing of her family. It was a very well written passage.
Overall, it was a novel that I was glad I had read. I think there would be a lot of a discussion around this book. Grief, betrayal, parenting, family relationships, and hope are some possible topics and would keep a book club talking for a long time. There are also discussion questions available at the end of the book, if needed.
Linda Barrett is the author of 13 novels of contemporary romance. She’s earned many industry awards through Romance Writers of America, including the Holt Medallion, The Award of Excellence and the Write Touch Reader’s award. Family Interrupted is her first women’s fiction story. A graduate of Hunter College, Linda now lives in the Tampa area with her husband. They have three grown sons and the most adorable, intelligent, super-duper grandchildren ever! For more, check out www.linda-barrett.com. You can also friend Linda on Facebook, HERE.