From the back cover:
On the cusp of adulthood, seventeen-year-old Penny Carson thought she’d found her Prince Charming in farmhand Trent Taylor. With flashy promises and a handsome face to back them up, Trent was her escape from an overbearing father and her one-stop-sign town. But Penny’s happily-ever-after lasts no longer than their breakneck courtship.
Out of options, she resigns herself to the fate of a woman controlled by a man with no control…until a welding accident at work forces Trent to finally allow Penny to take a job cleaning houses. Here she meets two women from very different worlds who open up her life to endless possibilities, teach her to live and laugh again –and lend her their backbones just long enough for her to find her own.
When I started to read the book I was initially turned off by the writing style; it feels like a first person narrative. That alone didn’t bother me but Penny is an “uneducated” woman who has poor grammar and speaking skills. She writes like she thinks. I had to let go of my feelings of superior thinking/speaking abilities (it’s all in my head- it’s not reality!). Once I did, I felt like I was actually listening to Penny as she talked. Holmes however quickly made me get over my standoffish approach that I normally take with books. It really drew me in fairly quickly.
The beginning of this book starts out as a letter to Penny’s son, written by herself. She’s been waiting 10 years for a baby and although we figure she must have had one finally, we still get to see her pain. But it’s not just because she’s not been able to have a child that she is in such pain –physical as well as emotional and mental –but because her husband is physically, emotionally and mentally abusive. The book starts out showing the temper of Trent; he punches her for saying something; something he thought was lippy. In the next moment he’s all lovey-dovey and demeaning –at the same time!
Penny is so taken for granted by Trent! He treats her terribly and is never happy with how she cooks food, cleans, shows him love. He is the stereotypical abuser. But it’s the one that is behind closed doors. The one that outsiders do not see. Holmes doesn’t shy away from sharing the violence but she definitely doesn’t make it in-your-face-continuous-gore.
The many things that are present in this book are present in the lives of true sufferers of abuse. Penny hasn’t spoken to her family the entire time she’s been married when the book starts. It’s after she becomes pregnant that Trent allows her to call. The isolation of Penny is almost complete. Then Callie Mae stops by the house. Callie Mae is a Christian inviting Penny to church. But it’s obvious from the start that Callie Mae knows what’s going on in that house.
The book is very engaging. I stayed up all night reading this because I was so involved. Sometimes I felt the hurt and anger that Penny felt; the rejection. Then I felt the anger and indignation of Callie Mae or Fatimah (the two ladies that ultimately give Penny the help she needs, even when she throws it away). I also felt the hope. The unrealistic hope that each time Trent said he would treat her better, that he truly would.
It is so so easy to say that we wouldn’t stay in a situation like Penny –but until we are truly in that position, we will. never. know. Period. For us to judge (even though we feel that we are not) another who stays with our words of “I would never allow that to happen…” is so terribly wrong. Reach out to that person. They most likely will reject your help. Expect that but don’t keep silent.
This was a truly good book. Not because of the subject matter. It gave me the heebie-jeebies thinking about reviewing. It is such a tough subject. What makes this book so good is as it says on the back: Wings of Glass is powerful, can’t-put-down novel, so real that it reads like a memoir. (Liz Curtis Higgs) This could be what it is like, even still downplayed though, in the life of an abused woman.
This book has very definite adult topics. There is abusive behavior, drinking, smoking cigarettes and illegal substances, and murder. The language is very subdued even in the worse parts. I would not recommend this for those who are terribly sensitive but it is a very well done book, given the subject matter. I also hesitate to recommend it for teen reading. But I do think this could be beneficial reading for teens in the dating scene –it isn’t about dating violence but it does tip you off to some character traits an abuser has. They can’t hide them all (the traits). But I would recommend this for both men and women in general.
I would also say that this shows somewhat how the cycle continues and continues until the chain is broken. It is talked about often through the book.