Father Figure by James J. Cudney
on January 1st 1970
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I read this book in less than 24 hours- that only happens when a book sucks me in and doesn’t let go! Father Figure is beautifully told in alternating timelines telling the stories of two young woman living in two different worlds. One who grew up in rural Mississippi in 1984 and the other young woman who lives in New York City in 2004. With most alternating timelines, the reader knows that eventually the timelines are going to merge – but how and why – that is the journey that this book takes the reader on.
As I mentioned there are two young women whose stories are being told in this book. These characters are what shined for me. I love books which evoke feeling. This can be done in many ways – the characters, their plight, the environment, etc. All come into play in this book; however, it all came back to the characters for me. Both characters are like-able, as a reader, I rooted for both, I felt for both, I had empathy for both, I was invested in what happened to them, and at times I wanted to take both aside and give them some advice. There are also characters in this book who are not so like-able. Some of them are quite nasty and vile. Again, there character will make the reader feel – negatively toward them – but still you are feeling something. Great characters and a great plot make for a great book in my opinion.
Amelia Graeme grew up in rural Mississippi with a controlling and abusive Mother. She can’t wait to go away to college and escape her lonely and sad life. Due to her oppressive and abusive upbringing, she is naive and innocent about many things in life – but especially concerning the fundamentals of sex and things of a sexual nature. As she begins to explore her sexuality, her Mother’s harsh words go through her head. She is a very like-able and sweet character with quiet strength, who I rooted for and constantly hoped would be shown a kinder life. All her life she has desired love, acceptance, safety, and to feel as if she belongs. Will she get that? How does one move forward after suffering abuse and traumatic events in their life?
Brianna Porter is being raised by her single Mother in New York City. Her Mother is loving and caring but possibly a little over protective. But there is one thing that looms between them – the identity of Brianna’s Father. Brianna wants to know about her Father. Of course, she does! Who wouldn’t want to know who he was, where he is, why he is not in her life, etc. This is where her Mother shuts down and changes the subject. Not only is Brianna attempting to learn more about her father, she is also trying to learn some things about herself – mainly her sexuality.
When Brianna goes away to attend college with her best friend, she makes a discovery which will change everything.
I was captivated by this story and was glued to my seat power reading this book. I really appreciated how the Author dealt with his female character’s feelings, thoughts and emotions. Both are dealing with their feelings of desire and sexual attraction. One has her Mother’s harsh words and gross judgement about sex in her head while the other young woman is deciding is she gay, is she straight, is she bi – or is she just afraid to face the truth and take the next step?
In this book both women are trying to find themselves. Both are dealing with major issues in their lives. This book is both a coming of age tale and a mystery dubbed as contemporary fiction. This book also deals with abuse, identity, acceptance, overcoming obstacles, innocence lost, crime, sexuality, family secrets, and knowing who you are.
Well written, captivating and full of emotion, Father Figure does not disappoint. Another plus of this book (at least for me) was that even though it is told in alternating timelines, the story never gets confusing. Ever read a book and it jumps to another time, place or character and you must figure out who and what is being discussed? This really annoys me as a reader. There are no rough transitions here. The alternating timeline/stories flow seamlessly in this book. I loved that I never had to figure out who I was reading about. This book naturally flowed, and the pacing was spot on. There were never any dull parts. Plus, there are some twists and turns along the way! So, if you want to be glued to your seat reading this as I was, pick this book up and give it a read!
The Author let readers know this book was available through Amazon Kindle unlimited for a brief period. It was my choice to read this book and the opinions in this review are all mine.