Every weekday (Monday through Friday) for the month of December I will spotlight a story here on my blog. Yes, this is 17 days of Christmas book browsing. And on Christmas Eve I will announce the lucky winner (at least two that I know of right now). The person who leaves the most comments throughout the month will receive their choice of any one of the books spotlighted. That's from me. Other prizes are being offered by the individual authors.
Today I'd like to welcome Karen Malena, a new author to my little neck of the internet, with her story Son of Mine.
Karen this story certainly must have hit home for you, and been very difficult to write about. Is there a purpose behind the story? A message you hope to get across?
Imagine the pain of insecurity, worthlessness, feeling like a failure. Imagine having hopes and dreams and seeing them dashed before your eyes. Knowing your father disapproves of you and everything you do. Seeing him favor the brother you love, as he instigates sibling rivalry between you both.
These are the issues that plague twenty year old Aaron DeAngelis. As a young boy, Aaron seeks love and approval from his verbally abusive father.
Unable to express his feelings, and coping with a stuttering problem since early childhood, Aaron learns to speak the language of rage in his high school years.
A downward spiral, an out of control encounter, and a night of wild partying leads Aaron to contemplate suicide.
A series of events unfold when he awakes in a hospital room. Lives are intertwined that set him on a path of approval, love, and his heart's desire.
But will he ever find the approval of his own father?
And here's a little peek...
I awoke to searing pain in every part of my body. Wet, ground glass and gritty cement pressed into my cheek. My head felt about to explode as my temples throbbed to the pounding of my heart. My eyes were closed and I wasn’t sure I wanted to open them. I couldn’t remember much then, only a sense of falling.
Slowly, I opened my eyes. My palms were scraped raw. I rolled to one side, got my knees up under myself and pushed. The world spun a bit crazily as I tried to focus on my surroundings. It was nighttime. Deep woods surrounded me, very dark and silent.
I hurt badly as I began to stagger around. I began brushing tiny points of glass from my clothes. I was shaking now, my teeth chattering from the chill. A spasm of pain overtook me as I doubled over and vomited.
I had crashed my bike and was all alone in the middle of nowhere. The shaking became almost violent. My motorcycle was laying a few feet away, a twisted heap. A few pieces lay scattered as I limped toward it. How was I even walking around? I couldn’t believe the damage. I must have rounded a bend too quickly. “Aaron, you are pretty lucky,” I said out loud, scaring myself. Nothing felt broken on quick inventory. What was I doing out here in the first place?
Then it came flooding back. The sickening realization of what I had done tonight. I pounded drink after drink earlier, a pretty tough guy. I lowered myself to this level of stupidity. I swore I would never do that. I was so much better than my father. What possessed me?
Right before I collapsed, I remembered the last words he said to me when I left their house earlier.
“You’re a loser, Aaron. You don’t have one tenth of the guts your brother has.”
The heaviness of the words lay on me like a suffocating blanket.
I knew then he didn’t love me. I sickened him. My father, my old man. This is what he really felt about me.Review:
Son of Mine came as a bit of a surprise. It’s so short, that there’s very little room for that indecisive feeling when you start a story. But I was indecisive – and then the story pulled me in.
Ms. Malena has written a story that tugs on the heartstrings, lets you see what families do to each other, the power that parents really have on the molding of a child. She takes a magnifier to the soul of a wounded spirit and lets you watch him bleed – then shows you the transformation as he comes to life in the Lord, the proverbial rising of the phoenix.
The characters are few, but each one counts heavily in who Aaron is, as well as who he becomes.
What a wonderful story! The author had me smiling and chuckling at times, but the deepest measure of how good a story is – she brought me to tears.
Very well done!
A Little Bit About Karen Malena:
Coming from an old-fashioned Italian family in Southwestern Pennsylvania, I learned passion and love, anger and forgiveness. Faith in God has sustained me through many ups and downs. This roller coaster of life has given me the imagination to put pen to paper.
This story is dedicated to my son, Matt, who has struggled with his own issues of low self-worth and overcame them.
For more about Karen you can find her at: http://karenmalena.