What’s The Blessing of Brokenness all about?:
Mary Lou Dixon works at the Christ Holiness Baptist Church. She’s overseeing the repair of the cross above the altar in time for Christmas when things start to go horribly wrong.
What did I think?:
Karin Slaughter is one of my favourite thriller writers and so I was suitably thrilled when she began bringing out digital short stories which I could easily download onto my Kindle and zip through on my commute to work. Once I started reading, the story was familiar and I realised that it has also previously been published in the collection Charmed, which was edited by Karin Slaughter. The Blessing of Brokenness opens on a woman sitting in a church pew watching the cross at the front of the church being repaired. She is visibly upset and fiddles distractedly with a charm bracelet on her wrist, while through her rambling thoughts she admits her secret to the reader. One thing we have to know about Mary Lou is that she is an incredibly devout, religious person, and this makes her guilt at a love affair with Pastor Stephen Riddell even more shameful for her. Especially considering his attitude to her now – as a general dogsbody for the church and nothing more.
The concept of this story, hence the title, is that “the part of you that is broken becomes all the stronger for it.” which is a thought-provoking statement and refers to poor Mary Lou, her faith almost broken through the affair, and then the result of the affair itself which leads Mary Lou to making some harsh, difficult decisions that questions everything she has ever believed in. And then there is the obvious symbol of the broken cross, and the repair crew making it “as good as new” again, and the less obvious head foreman who acts as Mary Lou’s saviour at the end of the story. This is a cracking short story that reminds me why I’m a fan of this author. I can’t wait to read more.
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):
NEXT SHORT STORY : Crooner by Kazuo Ishiguro from the collection Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall