Customer Reviews for

Broken

Average Rating 4.5
( 35 )
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5 Star

(27)

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(6)

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(2)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Top five book this lit professor has ever read!

I read a lot of books (A LOT!!!). I'm a literary professional at a University in Pittsburgh. Broken is a new novel by a young unknown and the only reason I bought it was because this student (though not my student), went to our college for a different major (Physical Th...
I read a lot of books (A LOT!!!). I'm a literary professional at a University in Pittsburgh. Broken is a new novel by a young unknown and the only reason I bought it was because this student (though not my student), went to our college for a different major (Physical Therapy). It's rare that someone from my college becomes published and when they do, I am proud, since I teach these students. However, when I got a hold of Matthew's records, I was displeased to find that he was never my student.

Anyway, all that said, Of the approximately 3,000 books I've read in the last twenty years, I would call this one of the top five.

No, I am not kidding. The characters in this book are completely absorbing, mesmerizing, almost impossible to believe they exist. However, Matthew writes them with such clarity, and gets so deep into their heads, and gives them such an honest and unique voice, that they become believeable.

In the book's dedication he says three things that are worth mentioning (and that's just the dedication).
1- he dedicates it to ALL the women who inspired it. This leads me to believe that the female characters in this book are based on people in the author's life. That makes the reading of it that much more interesting, trying to decide what is fact and what is fiction
2- he continues by saying, "especially to my bride Rea". I find this fascinating because he dedicated it to all the women in his life and then to his bride, especially. They must have a special bond for her to be okay with this and that makes the author, himself, more intriguing to me. Also, he calls her his bride. I've never heard a man refer to his wife as "his bride" after they are married. I find this to be romantic and it excited me to get engorged with the romance stories that unfold in the novel, as I believe Matthew to have a good understanding of romance.
3- He ends the dedication with "if we've loved and been loved, then we will die knowing that our life was important." - that is completely beautiful and 100% true. What else really matters in life?

In a nutshell, the plot is about 14 characters (the novel's narrators), who are Broken from various life tradgedies. This novel is about the healing process and how love factors into it. However, more than the plot, it was the author's writing style and the overall message, that really gripped me.

First, let me address his style.
He writes in short bursts of description. His words are almost always biting and gripping and depending on the narrator they can be shocking, poetic, humerous, or incredibly sad. His descriptions are spot on but they don't wallow too long. He quickly paints a picture and then moves on to the story. In the day and age of ADD, this is perfect.

But the best part of his writing is his dialogue. He writes dialogue maybe as well as any author I've read.

Second, I love it for the overall themes. He doesn't come right out and say what those are, which is good, because it's up to the reader to interpret, but I took these two major themes:
1- Love is the entire purpose of life.
2- Live in the present. People spend too much time wallowing in their Broken pasts instead of moving on and loving life. And many people are simply living this life only as what they view as being a necessary step towards the afterlife. And whether you are religious or not, this life is more than just a stepping stone. We only get one and if we don't live and lov

posted by 3020678 on February 18, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

liked it, didn't love it

I bought this book solely because of all the great things ive read and heard. however, when i got it, i was a little disappointed. maybe because of all the hype that was created from reviews, i dont know. i like it, but it was far from the best thing i've ever read. ...
I bought this book solely because of all the great things ive read and heard. however, when i got it, i was a little disappointed. maybe because of all the hype that was created from reviews, i dont know. i like it, but it was far from the best thing i've ever read. I'd give it a B, B-. Didn't care for the switching narration. I found it to be confusing.

posted by 3112413 on March 3, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2010

    liked it, didn't love it

    I bought this book solely because of all the great things ive read and heard. however, when i got it, i was a little disappointed. maybe because of all the hype that was created from reviews, i dont know. i like it, but it was far from the best thing i've ever read. I'd give it a B, B-. Didn't care for the switching narration. I found it to be confusing.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 6, 2010

    The Will to Live

    A book authored by J. Matthew Nespoli titled, "Broken," has also one of its fictional characters use that same word to explain the despair of the ongoing of their lives. Appendix A has the list of characters and explains each person's personality. Once I went over it, I sensed all of them ache to find the missing ingredients in their lives that are meant to uplift their moods and also hope for a better life. I had deep trouble figuring out what Nespoli was trying to communicate when he wrote this book. An answer came to me via a movie (Saw VI). People have the will to live. No matter what horrible things they have experienced, they want to feel uplifting emotions. In the real world, numerous people unfortunately didn't have enough emotional ties that helped them keep on living their lives.



    In the manner of chronological order, Broken took place between ten years (October 1996 - August 2006) in Los Angeles, California. The story was told from a first-person perspective. I haven't read many novels, and this one had sections of the book divided by different characters taking turns on the narration. It was my first time experiencing it. So, essentially the book didn't have chapters in the conventional way. Broken was further divided by different months. A table of contents was also excluded.



    I didn't really enjoyed reading Broken that much. I wasn't star-trucked by Nespoli's writing and his storytelling. I wasn't awed by the expressions he used when describing the scenes; I didn't notice the creativity of using the English language. I wish I were able to articulate further what I mean. Anyways, that's not the main reason I didn't had much fun reading it. To me, all the characters except for one were negative towards life and people. Nespoli's created the people with flaws, and having difficulty to get their life in order. The characters were at an age where they are making costly mistakes. It's not his or her fault as everyone goes through the same phase. These mistakes just happen to have gut wrenching consequences. However, with that statement, there is a debate on each person being responsible for his or her actions. I did felt like these characters should try to find a solution when they were acting without graciousness. They gave an aura that they wanted pity so they can feel better.



    My favorite person in the book is Amber. Her story was filled with danger and trust issues. I enjoyed following the situations she was in. She placed herself and her daughter, Kimberly, at risk of being victims of a crime. Amber was an amazing person who abruptly left home because of the circumstance she came to face. Her terrifying ordeal finally subsided as she persevered because she's a survivor.


    I would categorize Broken as a dramedy. In addition to having tense scenes, Nespoli was able to make me laugh at times by having his characters say humorous things. They were all done in accordance to their personality. It didn't deviate from the true nature of each individual.

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