Interrupted: Life Beyond Words

Interrupted: Life Beyond Words, by Rachel Coker, is not always an easy read, mostly because the main character, Allie Everly, is not always an easy character to like. Sometimes she is petulant, sometimes she is mean-spirited, and sometimes she is ungrateful. But one thing Allie consistently is, as written by Rachel Coker, is interesting.

When we meet her, she is fending off the unwanted advances of Sam Carroll, her neighbor, and ostensibly the only friend she has. With World War II humming in the background, pre-teen Allie must deal with her mother’s illness and Sam’s adoration. When her mother dies, Allie is shipped off to live with the woman who soon adopts her, and Allie’s world goes from cloudy to dark. She and Sam eventually cross paths again, but Allie is so difficult and unhappy that she nearly destroys their friendship.

Allie treats the people in her life with undisguised disdain, constantly comparing her adoptive mother with her biological mother. But Coker doesn’t establish that life was all that great for Allie when her mother was alive, so it is difficult to empathize with her loss. Still, though, I enjoyed getting to know her in this book, even if I occasionally wanted to slap her.

A favorite passage:

My mind was racing. I backed away from him, bumping my head against one of Beatrice’s cabinets.

“But I never meant to hurt you.” He lowered his voice. “I just wanted to be with you. I’ve always wanted to be with you, to see you and to make you as happy as you make me.” He reached out and touched my hair, smiling softly.

It was my turn to speak, but when I opened my mouth, no words came out. My wrist throbbed; I looked down and saw my white knuckles gripping the countertops. I let go and stuck them behind my back, avoiding Sam’s eyes. “Go home, Sam,” I whispered. 

That shows you what you’re up against with Allie. But give her a chance. Interrupted is a good, enjoyable book with a deeply flawed heroine.

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