Just before eleven p.m. on ordinary summer night in Washington, D.C., Tucker Jones picks up the phone, expecting to hear that his teenage daughter, Kat, is back from the movies. But the caller is another parent, a man who tells Tucker that Kat was actually at a party-and makes a shocking allegation about what happened to her there.
“I have never liked to find myself on the side of the censors, the moralists and sanctimonious prigs, the prurient and righteous crusaders who wear their outrage as a badge of honor and virtue.” (pg. 55)
In a blind rage, Tucker races to the party to find Kat already departed, but his full-boil interrogation of the boys still present spills over into a confrontation — and ends with one of the boys crashing into a glass tabletop. In a second, his rages turns to remorse, and he soon finds himself under arrest. Tucker could easily lose his home and business, but he is most concerned about losing his daughter.
I’m not a big fan of books who toot their own horns but when is says, “Breaking Her Fall sweeps irresistibly forward to its wrenching, and redemptive conclusion,” it’s the truth. If there was one book I’ve liked to date this year over all the others, it’s this one.
A lot of books I’ve read over the post three months have dealt with a mother’s relationship with their child and it was a nice change to read a book about a father and his relationship with his daughter.
“Every now and then,. a father would make a joke-a bad joke, a nervous joke-about chastity belts or tower rooms where he girls could be locked up, but I suppose we all regard ourselves as too enlightened or too highly evolved to admit how frightening it was to watch our daughters come of age, to develop hips and breasts and turn into young women at a time when the juggernaut of popular culture seemed to bear down on them with the relentless message that they could fulfill themselves a dopey sex kittens with glitter on their eyelids and rings in their belly buttons.” (pg. 95)
Goodwin’s novel is one of those books that I couldn’t put down. But the book isn’t also just about Tucker and Kat trying to fix the damage from July 13th. It’s about their neighbor Lily and her struggles with her teenage daughter, and Kat’s best friend, Abby. It’s about Tucker and his inability to love. It’s about life.
- Goodwin, Stephen. Breaking Her Fall. New York: Harvest Books, 2004. 432 pgs. ISBN: 9780156029698. Source: Library.