Book Reviews

Book Review: Sorrowed Souls

Sorrowed Souls
by
Brenda Youngerman

The threads of fate beautifully weave; The beholder often times refuses to see.

Sorrowed Souls is filled with a multitude of different types of characters. I guess that is the case for most books already. What stands out and what gave the story its depth, I could not see the connection or relationship of those characters right away. Each character had a stand alone story of their own. And, their troubles.

It is a tapestry of lives, and each of them hold key factors that answered the “why?” for me as I was reading. Looking in from my point of view, piece by piece, the puzzle was put together, connecting the characters and their issues. It was a slow but rich process.

“Gus, ever since I’ve known you, the world has been at your beck and call, and you have felt like you were alone. You put yourself on a fringe when you could’ve stepped right into the middle at any point. When the day comes that you are finally ready to jump in, then you’ll be able to move forward and get out of the rut and the ‘curse’ you feel that you’re under. It’s time to stop blaming everyone around you and start taking a personal inventory to determine what it is you need to be a better Augustus Winston Hill.”

Gus was one of my favorite characters throughout. He had a leading type of soul even as a young child. While his disadvantages may have actually given him a sort of strength, he did not see it. He seemed to relish in his weaknesses to the point he was unable to ever really find peace. I simply adored this character. He reminds me of myself and others that I know in my life. He seemed to have been born into a self hell and lived his entire life battling that. For that reason, he simply did not learn, or know how, to ‘feel’ a secure happy life.

And then there are Gus’s parents. The privileged lives lived. Wow, how often have I said “If I were a millionaire”? For a lot of the story, money was never the issue or problem. The lack of money was not exactly why people were unhappy or why there was self destruction. The author most likely wrote it that way to prove, you can have the money and still have the problems. It is something deeper.

What ever it is that makes us break inside seemed to flow like water in these pages and opened my eyes to life and just how fragile it really is.

How it made me feel.

Sorrowed Souls’ has left a lasting impression on me. I spent quite a bit of the time crying. It was horrific what the characters had to endure and how their lives were changed by cruel acts. Not once in the story did I ever feel that the characters were over reacting to their life happenings. I felt compassion that their life choices, and their pain was pretty much justified. However, sometimes I witnessed them missing their mark and they could have without a doubt avoided some or all of the pain they seemed to willingly absorb.

I cry for these people as if they are real to me, because they are real. Every day real people are suffering the way these characters suffered. The homeless are highlighted in this book with a real look at how one living on the street might have gotten there, and how they might survive. Often times in this life, it takes grand moments of fate to snap us back and to get us on track.

This is not a fantasy type story with hobbits, vampires, dragons or werewolves. This is fiction, tho close to non-fiction, with breathing, bleeding human beings.

Synopsis (book description)

The eyes are said to be the window to the soul. Have you ever looked at someone whose eyes have no light? Follow the journey out of the darkness. In the space of a moment, Bryan Tines thought he had lost everything that was important to him. Waking up in a strange place with no recollection of where he came from, or who he was; lost, hungry and dirty, his life would have been over if not for the kindness of the invisible layer of society. Gus Hill was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and alcohol coursing through his veins. Living on the outside looking in, Gus goes down a path of self-destruction and finds that the harsh words of a true friend enable him to help himself and others who feel their lives have no meaning. Through this path, Gus finds what is really important. Amy Pickens was born into a working class family-a planned and difficult birth-her mother never let her forget how much of a burden Amy’s life was to her. She became the unwanted child. Struggling with confidence issues, she accidentally finds happiness, which in one fleeting moment, appears to go awry. Brenda Youngerman writes a tale of stunning clarity and insight into the lives of average people. Beautifully written, her novel explores the human condition, the ways in which our past torture and free us, and the risks we’re willing to take to realize the illusive dream of happiness. This is Brenda Youngerman’s fourth novel and she is currently writing her fifth. She lives in Southern California.

About the Author

Brenda Youngerman (1960 – ) Was raised in Southern California and has been writing since she was a child. Her first novel, Private Scars, was published in 2006 and takes an insiders view of domestic abuse and allows the reader a vantage point on how a victim is isolated and alienated from everything they know and love. Private Scars won both the editors choice and publishers choice awards. Since the release of Private Scars Youngerman has released a novel a year bringing up what she calls, “Fiction With a Purpose,” books that take on social issues and very real world problems. She hopes that a reader puts down one of her books and asks the question, “Was that real?”

If one person is helped by reading a Youngerman novel and realizes that they are not alone in their predicament, she has achieved success in her eyes.

(previously read and reviewed December 2010)

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