Broken Pieces of God by David B. Seaburn

It must so hard to discover that your partner in life has a life threatening illness but then to lose your job on top of this with astronomical medical bills and little hope of there being anything positive on which to focus…this is the situation in which Eddy in Broken Pieces of God finds himself.

It seems like a rather bleak premise for a book and yet David B. Seaburn’s book is anything but. Eddy and Gayle face her illness together even when Eddy is flummoxed by some of Gayle’s off-the-wall behaviour and their relationship is solid, despite the stresses on it as well as Eddy’s lack of income. Seaburn manages to show the enduring spirit and warmth of their union through their dialogue and interaction in the book and they are both likeable characters.

As well as Eddy and Gayle, we are introduced to their children, Sandy and Rich who have both left home and with whom a distance has grown whereby their parents have made assumptions about how lives are going and communication has waned. Both Sandy and Rich have troubles in their lives, unreconciled incidents from their pasts that they need to confront in order to move on.

The narrative concentrates on these four characters as well as Sam, Eddy’s best friend and the local pharmacist who has a limited lonely life, caring as he does for a dependent.

I think what I really loved about this book was Seaburn’s creation of credible characters and their relationships with others. He takes a difficult subject and has his cast dealing with it as best they can, facing the worst and the questions that possible imminent death can pose: questions of faith, questions of finance, questions of purpose.

Threading humour through this tough subject matter and maintaining the right balance is hard for a writer when their novel that deals with the darker side of life but Seaburn’s touch is subtle and the humour as a result is gentle – Eddy’s attempt at prayer is one example of where I smiled to myself.

These are the books that I like best. They are not plot driven although they have a definite direction. They deal with people and their problems. What I take away from this book is a sense of a writer who is very sensitive to the human condition and is able to relate it with humanity.

This review was first published on Reedsy Discovery where I was privileged to read it as an ARC.

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