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Walking on Broken Glass
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Walking on Broken Glass

3.7 101
by Christa Allan

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Leah Thornton’s life, like her Southern Living home, has great curb appeal. But a paralyzing encounter with a can of frozen apple juice in the supermarket shatters the façade, forcing her to admit that all is not as it appears. When her best friend gets in Leah’s face about her refusal to deal with her life, Leah is forced to make an agonizing


Leah Thornton’s life, like her Southern Living home, has great curb appeal. But a paralyzing encounter with a can of frozen apple juice in the supermarket shatters the façade, forcing her to admit that all is not as it appears. When her best friend gets in Leah’s face about her refusal to deal with her life, Leah is forced to make an agonizing decision. Can she sacrifice what she wants to get what she needs? Joy, sadness, and pain converge, testing Leah’s commitment to her marriage, her motherhood, and her faith.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When a narrator opens her tale by declaring, “I lost my sanity buying frozen apple juice,” the reader knows she’s in for a witty ride. The narrator is Leah Thornton, a 27-year-old Southerner, English teacher, and middle-stage alcoholic. She’s got her reasons: her only child died of SIDS and her sexual relationship with her husband, Carl, is so troubled their marriage is devolving into a standoff between hostility and frigidity. Leah is steered into rehab by her BFF Molly, which kicks off transformation through growing honesty, self-awareness, and large doses of wry humor. Allan draws many strong, quirky minor characters: Leah’s rehab roomie, Theresa, one of a rehab unit’s worth of addicts of all manner of substances; Leah’s wry obstetrician, Dr. Nolan. A few supporting characters—Carl’s wealthy parents—feel more caricatured than characterized, and the largely unsympathetic portrait of Carl makes the reader wonder why the marriage is worth saving at all. A few major developments toward the book’s end cry out for greater resolution. But Leah is fascinating, complicated, and above all funny. This nonformulaic look at the spiritual redemption of a life is a bright start; debut novelist Allan is one to watch. (Feb.)

Product Details

Abingdon Press
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)

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Read an Excerpt

Walking on Broken Glass

By Christa Allan

Abingdon Press

Copyright © 2010 The United Methodist Publishing House
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4267-0227-3

Chapter One

Cruising the sparkling aisles of Catalano's Supermarket, I lost my sanity buying frozen apple juice.

Okay, so maybe it started several aisles before the refrigerated cases. Somewhere between the canned vegetables and cleaning supplies. I needed to kill the taste of that soy milk in my iced vanilla latte. Darn my friend Molly, the dairy Nazi. I blamed her for my detour to the liquor aisle. Decisions. Decisions. Decisions. What to pour in my Starbucks cup? Amaretto? Kahlua? Vodka? And the winner was ... Amaretto. Perfect for an afternoon grocery event.

Ramping up the coffee seemed like a reasonable idea at the time. I'd left the end-of-the-year faculty party and thought I'd be a considerate wife and pick up dinner for Carl on the way home. He told me before he left for work that morning that he'd meet me at the party. Probably he had one too many meetings, which, since I'd probably had one too many beers, made us just about even. Don't know if we matched spin cycles in our brains, though. That was the point of the coffee. A rinse cycle of sorts.

I'd just avoided a game of bumper carts with the oncoming traffic in the organic food aisle when I remembered that I needed juice. On the way to the freezer section, I maneuvered a difficult curve around the quilted toilet tissue display. My coffee sloshed in the cup in tempo with my stomach. I braked too swiftly by the refrigerator case, and a wave of latte splotched my linen shorts and newly pedicured toes. Ick.

Rows of orange juice. Apple juice was on the third shelf down. I reached in and, like a one-armed robot, I selected and returned can after can of juice, perplexed by the dilemma of cost versus quality. Okay, this one's four cents an ounce cheaper than this one. But this one's ...

My face would have reflected my growing agitation, but the stale icy air swirling out of the freezer numbed it. I held the door open with one hand, tried to sip my coffee with the other, and wondered how long it would take before full body paralysis set in. I stared at apple juice cans. They stared back. Something shifted, and my body broke free from a part of itself, and there I was—or there we were. I watched me watch the cans. The rational me separated from the wing-nut me, who still pondered the perplexities of juice costs. Rational me said, "Let's get her out of here before she topples head first into the freezer case and completely humiliates herself."

I abandoned my cart, a lone testament to my struggle and defeat, near the freezer cases and walked away. If I could fill my brain with alcohol like I filled my car with gas, it wouldn't have to run on empty. It wouldn't leave me high and dry in the middle of a grocery store aisle.

No, not dry this time. High. My brain is either high or dry, and it doesn't seem to function well either way.

So that was my epiphany for sobriety.

Apple juice.


Excerpted from Walking on Broken Glass by Christa Allan Copyright © 2010 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Christa Allan is a true Southern woman who knows any cook worth her gumbo always starts with a roux and that one never wears white after Labor Day. Christa weaves stories of unscripted grace with threads of hope, humor, and heart. The mother of five and grandmother of three, Christa just retired after more than twenty years as a high school English teacher. She and her husband, Ken, live in Abita Springs, Louisiana, where they play golf, dodge hurricanes, and enjoy retirement. Visit Christa online at ChristaAllan.com.

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Walking on Broken Glass 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 99 reviews.
LLH1982 More than 1 year ago
From the first sentence until the very last, Walking on Broken Glass captivated me. With each turn of the page, I felt more closeness to and love for Leah Thornton than I have for any character in recent years. Leah speaks with wit and charm, even in situations where both would seemingly escape her. Though she might face struggles the average person has, luckily, not had to face, Leah is such an authentic character that I truly believe every reader will be able to relate to her story. As I finished the novel, I had that bittersweet feeling every person gets after reading a great book: the satisfaction of having read a fantastic story, coupled with the sadness of turning the last page on the lives you've gotten to know and friends you've made along the way. I feel lucky to have found the new author Christa Allan, and I cannot wait to see what's in store next for her new fans. I'm hoping she might be contemplating a sequel to Walking on Broken Glass!
KSchiffman More than 1 year ago
When I opened this book to read, "If I had known children break on the inside and the cracks don't surface until years later, I would have been more careful with my words." I was instantly captured. I continued to read, soaking in Christa's words shared through Leah, stopping to read them aloud to my husband. And then calling my friends to read them aloud again. It was Leah's journal entries throughout the book that often jarred me out of my comfort zone, calling for my empathy as this character blossomed into more. It is rare you read a book with a healthy tension of modernity, wit and authenticity. Three ingredients that, for me, make a novel worth reading and revisiting. In Walking on Broken Glass, Christa Allan weaves a story that not only connects deeply with the reader on an emotional level but on a spiritual level as well. This is a novel that goes much deeper than your average book. It breaks the mold, pushes some boundaries, sings the song of redemption and begs for a sequel. Christa Allan is a writer to watch. If I were you, I'd clear a space on your favorite bookshelf for more of her work. I already have.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book . A few twists. And sudden ending. Not the ending i thought it would have.
nananinetimes More than 1 year ago
Leah is a complicated character. English teacher, southerner, wife, mother who lost her child, alcoholic, questioning and unbelieving Christian. As Leah struggles to find herself she takes many paths. Rehab provides the space she needs, but when the task of looking at herself honestly begins to surmount all, will Leah be able to continue? Will she learn to trust the God she blames for taking her baby?? Told with humor, humaness, and love, this story will grab your attention and hold it until the last page. You will laugh, cry, and at times get angry during this story, but the lesson learned is that life is not meant to be easy. It takes trials and tribulations to make us who we are.
iteachKA More than 1 year ago
It took me a while to get into this book. Once I did, it was pretty good. At times, it was a little too preachy for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I highly recommend this book...outstanding! Great messages without being too preachy, but good, solid fiction at its best. Believable characters who, even when I didn't like them, had redeeming qualities and stories of their own.
EmilyCO More than 1 year ago
In a world full of "feel good" ideas and broken hearts, this book offers hope in the world of recovery. Pain from several areas including sexual abuse, lack of affection, and loss of a child resonate with so many people who feel hopeless in our world. This book gives a glimmer of light to restore the mind, the body, the spirit, and the marriage. It is a good dose of medicine for the sadness our world is covered in. Bravo.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Was not an easy read only because of the subject of alcoholism and abuse. Wasn't so intense that it became depressive. After reading the reviews about the ending, I wasn't sure I wanted to finish. But I'm glad I did. It was an ending that left room for hope. I don't think the ending left me hanging. An entire lifetime doesn't have to be covered in one book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
And that husband was a monster.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is of perfect length. It talks about a serious problem like addiction to alcohol but with a natural and funny touch.
wife-and-mom More than 1 year ago
I loved this book until the end. I needed more info, so about 3 more chapters would tell the rest of the story. The whole story kept me interested, I even stayed up until 2 am to finish because I was so involved in the story, but at 2 am I was very disappointed in the ending.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Better than I expectedvthis one to be.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you've ever been addicted to anything, or grieved in your life, this book will resonate in your soul.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reviews-By-Ann More than 1 year ago
With brilliant prose, Allan transports the reader into the world of alcoholism and sexual abuse with heart and intelligent wit that cause the reader to fall in love with Leah Thornton. Allan humanizes and stirs sympathy for Leah's abusive husband. We believe in the end, the gritty battlefield of their marriage can be salvaged. And we're left with a residue of hope for our own battles and compassion for fellow strugglers.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't know if I confused this book with another when I began reading it but this book was not what I expected at all. And I think maybe that's why it wasn't as enjoyable for me. Looking back after reading it, it was a pretty good story and I didn't dislike the book, just was expecting a whole different story line when I began reading it.
SGRAL More than 1 year ago
Great read but wished it would have ended differently! I hate to enjoy a book until the end. Moved a little too fast at times and too slow at other times! Would certainly read another by this author!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good read, but especially for someone going through rehab or thinking about their drinking problem. Very honest.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
RetiredSup More than 1 year ago
This book was a great read with a fantastic story line. It was uplifting as well as a sad tale of real life.
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