Saturday, June 17, 2017

Book Review: Unbroken by Larry Benjamin

My parents, unable to change me, had instead, silenced me. When they'd stilled my hands, they'd taken my words, made me lower my voice to a whisper. Later, I remained silent in defense, refusing to acknowledge the hateful words: Brainiac. Sissy. Antiman. Faggot.

Lincoln de Chabert's life is pretty unremarkable until he comes home from kindergarten and announces he will marry his best friend, Orlando, when he grows up.

His parents spring into immediate action, determined to fix him, igniting an epic battle of wills as Lincoln is determined to remain himself, and marry whom he chooses, at all costs.

Jewel's rating:

​When I first started reading this book, I really had no idea what to expect. I read a couple reviews a couple months ago, but didn't remember much beyond 'yeah, I want to read this book', so I just marked it in my head as 'to-read-soon' until a couple friends asked me if I wanted to join their buddy read. I gladly said yes!

From looking at the blurb, it did look like it had the potential to make me cry, and it did a couple times, but I really loved this story. I loved the journey through time. I loved that Lincoln always stayed true to himself. I loved the way the story was told. It felt honest. It felt genuine in a way that fiction rarely feels ​to me ​and it touched me in a way that few stories do. And I loved the ending, even though it made me cry again.

Unbroken is the story of Lincoln de Chabert. His life. His love. His experience. And it is told in his words.

We are taken through his life in snapshots from 1964, when Lincoln is five years old and declares that he will one day marry his best friend, Orlando and moves through his life until 2004. Each chapter sets the scene and gives perspective with a paragraph about the current events as well as the costs of gas and bread. It reads like a memoir, and I enjoyed it immensely.

Not everything is happy in this story​, just as I suspected​. But as I said, it is the story of Lincoln's life, and life is never entirely happy. Lincoln knew from a young age that he was gay and it wasn't something that he could hide. He was always different. Always singled out. ​

​And Unbroken is more than just the story of Lincoln's life; it's also a love story and shows us his love for Jose Calderon, that boy he first met when he was 12 years old.​ The boy who always made him feel protected, who always made him feel like he wasn't broken after all.

"I had found my place in the world. Now I needed to find my voice, to raise it to be heard above the cacophony of conformity. I needed to shout: I am remade. I am unbroken. I needed to find my voice and use it to speak of my love for Jose and what he meant to me. I needed to tell our story—my story."

Would I recommend Unbroken? Unequivocally. It's beautifully written and poignant and is one of the best books I've read this year. I will definitely be checking out more of this author's work.

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Happy reading!

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