Friday, June 12, 2015

CONCRETE ANGEL by Patricia Abbott

Patricia Abbott’s Concrete Angel is excellent psychological noir.

I found the book painful to read. Eve Moran is one of the most chilling characters I’ve run across lately. But I also found myself rooting for her young, enmeshed daughter Christine.

Concrete Angel begins with a murder. Eve murders a man after a one-night stand. He caught her stealing from his billfold.

Then Eve uses her daughter to help concoct an alibi.

Eve steals compulsively using different schemes to do so. Along the way, she enmeshes her daughter, making Christine feel guilty and dependent. (The book is psychologically right on.)

After a divorce, much promiscuity, two affairs (both with increasingly slimy men), and a second child, Eve gets in too deep.

The issue in the book is whether Christine can break free. Anyone who knows about enmeshing mothers (or other enmeshing people) and their codependent victims knows how seldom that happens.

As I read this book, I thought of at least three things--

1. We need allies to break free. Those allies can be children, friends, relatives, lovers, or sometimes strangers. Isolation and guilt are the two things that make it most possible for evil people to rope us in.

2. Sometimes we need a greater purpose to break free. Evil people know how to make us feel small. Working toward a life-giving goal can sometimes set us free.

3. You can keep too many things. When my parents died, we found tax returns and financial records back to when they were first married in the 1930s. I hope my wife and I will be more prudent about what we keep and what we shred.

As I said earlier, I found this book painful to read but excellent.
PS Patricia Abbott is a blogging friend. I was rooting for her to do well in her first novel. As you can tell, I thought she did.

Also, this book introduced me to Martina McBride’s “Concrete Angel,” a moving song about an abused child.


pattinase (abbott) said...

Thanks, Joe. You are very kind. And that's where the title came from. Originally it was titled EVE'S DAUGHTER but the publisher thought it was too vague. Thanks so much for reading it so quickly.

Joe Barone said...

Patti, You are welcome. I thought it was a wonderful book. I got to wondering about the title, so I Goggled it and found the song.