When tragedy strikes during a child’s infancy and childhood, how much should that child’s parent reveal to the child and when? The main character of this novel is Angel, the only daughter of an attorney and a budding art photographer. When Angel’s mother dies while she is an infant, her father chooses to reveal very little about the death. Aberrations tells the story of what can happen to a young woman’s life when the full truth isn’t shared with her, even if things are held back because they seem to be for her own good.
All Angel has of her mother was a series of pictures of clouds whose formations resembled earthly shapes. In addition to hole left in her that can only be filled by “mother,” Angel is also dealing with a rare neurological disorder, narcolepsy. To an extent, Angel has allowed her disease to be an excuse for keeping the status quo. She’s content to live with her father and have an affair with a married doctor.
Angel’s life is turned upside down when Carla, her father’s girlfriend, moves in with them and takes over by redecorating the house. When Carla takes down all of her mother’s cloud pictures Angel is sent over the edge. This upheaval at home is what encourages her to spend more time with her co-workers, Tim and Kimmy. Their friendship, held on to only begrudgingly at first, helps her to open up with others about her life and her disease. When Tim encourages Kimmy and Angle to come with him to the Blue Flower, the local gay dance club, and try Ecstasy, both of their lives begin to change. When Kimmy becomes the unintentional victim of a hate crime, Angel has to figure out who she wants to be and open her eyes to who she really can trust.
When I was offered the opportunity to read Aberrations, I wasn’t sure. Although I find narcolepsy interesting because it isn’t something that you read about very often, I was unsure of what this novel would be like or whether I would like it. Angel sounded like a misguided young woman who flitted from one sexual relationship to the other regardless of the consequences. It’s not that I have to have protagonists to have it all together (where would the need for a novel be?), but this was a little out of my usual reading choices. In fact, the very first part of the novel started somewhat slow for me. After about 40 pages, however, I was hooked. In the end, I’m so very thankful that I decided to take a chance.
Aberrations, Penelope Przekop’s first novel, was a delight to read and fascinating until the end. It was a pleasure to watch Angel mature, despite the fact that some of what she learns about her parents and herself is quite devastating. While preparing to write this review, I went back over the definition of the word “aberration” provided at the beginning of the book. Next to that was a newspaper article. While reading the book initially, I had forgotten all about it. Finding it again with what I know now gave me much to think about. I know that this is a novel that I will be reading again. Most of all, I’m looking forward to watching Przekop’s career progress.
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