A boy falls from a building during an initiation ordeal and, after years in a coma, dies. His sister confronts four men during their twenty-fifth high school reunion. She suspects that they are responsible for her brother's death, and she has filed a lawsuit against "person or persons unknown" for damages as the result of unlawful death.
I'm the author, and I'm pleased that you're reading BROKEN GLASS. The premise of the book was suggested by an initiation ordeal that went fatally wrong during my high school years. I hope the story prompts you to offer comments and opinions -- and perhaps some questions that I can answer on this site.
How exciting to have the author lurking on our message board!!! I wish we had the whole book to read now. Thanks so much for sharing the information re this being based on incident in your youth. Kindly ignore possible negativity in my previous comment! No doubt will become involved with characters in next excerpt! Perhaps too tired to read earlier this morning due to restless night. I will now stop blabbing on.
I am enjying the book so far. I have to admit that what caught my attention about the book initially was not the plot but the premise. I am most interested to see how you have written about an incident that took place 25 years ago and how you will juggle the present and past. Thank you for joining us and for offering to answer questions!
I love a good mystery - hope this turns out to be one - and how nice to have the author along to "answer questions" - maybe give us a chance also to discuss "hazing" and the need to rid our schools of it - tho' don't think that will happen -
Just yesterday a friend and I were talking about how smoothly one moves from youthful hi-jinks to deadly hazing, from 'coaching' incarcerated youths to killing them with extended forced exercise in the desert sun, to Abu Ghraib. The slippery slope that leads to appalling news photos of a cute, female American GI holding an Iraqi prisoner on a leash is never far -- from any of us. HOW one gets from 'here' to 'there' is not a long story, but a study in diminishing standards of respect for others.
Interesting connections, Linda. I think an anthropologist would say that adolescent male initiation ordeals are rooted in primitive coming-of-age tribal practices. As in BROKEN GLASS, I think those initiation tests are usually about belonging, versus bullying, which seems to me to be about excluding.
Thanks for the rejoinder!
I disagree: Pfc England's participation at Abu Ghraib is for me published proof that women are just as capable of hazing as men.
Exclusion vs Inclusion, and primitive tribal ritual? I suggest instead, that when the operative family principle is to shame others [to make oneself feel 'better than'], one learns to haze. Kids raised in family cultures of 'Let's make fun of Mikey's stupid [grades/
clothes choices/opinions/emotions/pick one, any one]", are taught to laugh at the expense of siblings (or a 'weak' parent or neighbors and/or 'outsiders').
What a sad type of Inclusion, learning to chuckle with, to ally oneself with, the stronger person; to inventory bemusedly "our" superiority to any "Mikey." In such a family, jeering replaces acceptance. (OK, maybe it IS about exclusion vs inclusion!)
Of course, in such families NO ONE is really safe from the jeering. Thus, hazers are potentially myriad in number.
I'm curious about the writing process. Maybe Weyman could tell us a bit about how he goes about it. How do you combat 'writer's block'. How much time do you spend writing each day? Can you write anywhere or do you need a particular environment? How old were you when you realized you were a writer? And, who are your favourite authors and what are your 3 favourite books? Thanks!
Pam, in one breath, youve asked the questions I usually get from half a dozen different people.
1] Block: when I get stuck I try outlining a different sequence of events and an idea usually suggests itself.
2] Time at the keyboard: Im not industrious. I try to work some every day, but a couple of hours is a long stint for me.
3] Environment: I have a place to work at home but I travel with a portable word processor and sometimes a change of scene seems to make writing easier for me.
4] How long have I wanted to write: as far back as I can remember.
5] Favorite authors and books: I cant begin to identify them. At the moment Im reading Carson McCullers HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER, listening to a Patterson crime novel as I exercise and a book about American entrepreneurs in the car.
Pam, when I was very young I fell in love with Tarzan and a little later with Jack London. I still remember White Fang's battle with the pit bulldog. I suspect that what kids read is not nearly so important as whether they read.
I am getting more and more drawn into this book as the characters begin to take shape in my mind. Soon I'll be casting the movie! The hazing discussion is as interesting as reading another book excerpt every day. It seems to me though Linda that 'hazing' is an initiation rite and the home environment you describe is one that nurtures bullying. Put the two of those together and hazing becomes something else, an opportunity to justify or give free rein to bullying. I am not defending or condemning hazing here, just exploring. Regardless of hazing, incidents (what an innocuous word)like Abu Ghraib will occur and being raised in a home like "Mikey's" may or may not be a cause.
How interesting to have the author checking in on the commentary as well as questions about his book. I am enjoy ing the book thus far and will put it on my list of books to be read. Unfortunately I have found so many great non-fiction books to follow up on lately that I have not read a mystery in quite some time. And me a mystery fan since the age of 10!!!
Very Interesting -- poor Susan - feel so sorry for her - but I do like Angela's "chutzpah" - (yes, I did go to the dictionary to check my spelling - thank goodness) - perhaps she should be careful too, tho' -
The author paints a very poignant picture of the brother in the coma for so many years - may have to go to the book store after all -
I really am intrigued with this book and I will definitely be finishing it. The characters are really well drawn.
I have a question for the author. Many times I have wanted to communicate with an author but have felt embarrassed because I borrowed the book from the library instead of buying it. Yet, here you are on what is essentially a library book club. I know libraries have to buy books-but how do you feel about people getting your books free?
Good question...obviously we can't buy all the books we love but at least having been exposed to different authors here we may be more likely to buy one of their books when we are buying. Especially an author who has joined us on the site. Our library doesn't have this book either but I am hoping that my request will mean that they will order one so that's one sale if they do. There was talk (here in Canada at any rate)of having libraries pay a royalty fee to the author depending on how many people borrow the book...don't know what's going on with that.
I've always been a library patron, Carol B, and so I'm glad to have my books included in libraries. Of course I wish the whole world would buy my books at retail, but I'm glad to settle for just being read. Enjoyed is even better.