Scar Jewelry

Rated 5.00/5 based on 7 reviews
What do we really know about our parents or the ways they shape us? For twins Deirdre and Langston, 20, the answer is: not enough. With their father long dead, and their mother now in a coma, they realize they don't even know whom to notify. In fact, they understand almost nothing about their mother. They delve into her life and uncover secrets that revise the past and transform the future. More

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Words: 87,710
Language: English
ISBN: 9781301256938
About Sue Perry

... Concert stage, dark except for a deep blue spotlight. Singer drops to one knee and his narration evolves from murmur to rant. "This is the story of a man who got what he wanted but he lost what he had. He got what he wanted but he lost what he had. He got –" ...

It goes on forever. It's mesmerizing. Uncomfortable. Confessional.

Pretty sure this memory is from the time I saw James Brown, decades ago, but the lost identity of the singer isn't the point.

I've spent my life gazing across some fence or other, admiring greener grass over yonder. I've acted on so many impulses to jump the fence. No complaints, but it has sure taken me a long time to appreciate where I'm standing right now. And nowadays that blue spotlight chant fills my head whenever I contemplate a new jump.

Sometimes I jump back.

I was a low–budget television producer until I wrote a psychological thriller, "Was It A Rat I Saw", which Bantam–Doubleday–Dell published in hardcover in 1992. Soon after that I became the mother of twins, jumped into graduate school, and became a disaster scientist. I dabbled in academia, government research, and consulting.

I stopped writing fiction for nearly two decades, until I noticed how much I missed it. I resumed writing novels with the literary fiction "Scar Jewelry" about a family with secrets that started in the era of Los Angeles punk and persist for decades; then began the speculative detective quartet FRAMES, with "Nica of Los Angeles" and "Nica of the New Yorks". Also in progress is a nine novella series, the young adult paranormal horror romance, "DDsE".

Funny. Back in the day, I had a single book idea at a time. Now I'm flooded with them, can't keep up with them, though I write just about every day.

I live in southern California. I had to leave for five years to confirm this is where I belong. I live with multiple cats, comfortably close to my twins and granddaughter. Like my life paths, my friends and family are all over the damn place. I like to visit them, spend time at the ocean, explore cities, and go out to hear live music.

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Reviews

Review by: Fiona McShane on June 20, 2016 :
This story took me a long time to get around to. My own mother died around the time I received the book and, honestly, I was afraid it would be a little close to home. In the end I decided: so what if it is close to home? Sometimes that’s the point of fiction – to make us feel things, even if those feelings are uncomfortable.

Deirdre is the first-person narrator here, and she’s a bit of a ‘woodwork-dweller.’ After an internship that went all kinds of wrong, she’s working a job that means nothing to her and is not exactly moving forward with her life. Langston, her twin, is chatty, friendly and going for exactly what he wants at college on the East coast. When their mother winds up in a coma after a car accident (or a car on-purpose, they’re not quite sure) they have very different attitudes about how to approach things. They need to track down their mother’s friends, in case the worst happens. But with a mother as private as Heather, they have no idea if she even has any friends, let alone how to find them.

It becomes a bit of an obsession for Deirdre – going through her mother’s computer and emails. Langston – even though he has exams coming up – gets on board with the scheme, and together they begin to unravel their mother’s secrets. But my, what a web. Nothing is straightforward – the friends they eventually get in contact with seem to be holding things back. The mother they begin to discover – with her love of music and her frenzied writings – is not easy to reconcile with the mother they knew. And some of this new information is uncomfortable to say the least.

This book is genre-lized as lit-fic in the descriptions, so I wasn’t surprised to find that Heather’s secrets were not of the body-under-the-floorboards variety. Instead, they’re the kind of secrets that too many of us keep – secrets kept to protect the ones we love, and secrets kept because we’re bat-poop scared that if they knew, they wouldn’t love us anymore. Heather definitely had some former-existence moments that would have (and, in my opinion, should have)caused most of us to feel deeply ashamed. The author went to controversial places there, and it was brave of her to create a character like Heather. There were points during the twins’ discovery when I really wished there were bodies under the floorboards because, honestly, Heather’s past decisions do not make her a likeable character, no matter how ashamed she may have felt in the aftermath.

Overall, I have to give this book a five. The storyline made me feel – sometimes uncomfortable, sure – but nevertheless, it made me feel. The descriptions of the beaches and parks in California were stunning. The writing had such rhythm to it, so I’m guessing that Sue Perry is just as much of a music lover as some of her characters. As for the characters themselves, I enjoyed meeting the off-beat former friends of Heather and I left the book with the hope that Deirdre was finally about to leave the woodwork and start living her life.

*I received a gift copy of this book from the author. My review is unbiased and honest.*
(reviewed 7 months after purchase)

Review by: Rokinrev on March 15, 2015 :
This book is a far cry from the other Sue Perry book I have read( Frames 1: Nica). Its much more personal and focuses on choices we make that change the course of our history.

Deidra and Langston, twins, Children of Heather and Nick, scarred by the loss of so many things. Reflecting their parents to no one but themselves.

We enter the story, already in progress. Heather is in a coma due to a one car accident. Deidra is withdrawn into herself after the world has traumatised her. Langston, on full scholarship has literally gone as far from "home" as he can. Heather has chosen to not be forthcoming to any of them, acting as a martyr and taking on all the responsibility for whatever happens. There has been some question as to the "accidental nature" of the crash. This becomes a pivot point in the story as Diedra and Langston begin to restring their mother's life from the detris in her computer, and a few boxes brought together as they begin to reconstruct that which they had known, or not.

They learn their fairly staid, protective mother was a rocker chick that wrote music reviews, pontificated current angry angst in columns written decades before. That the stories of parents can be easily coated with forgetfullness that may come back and bite you later on. Mom chose to remove her and her past, and even at some levels her present from her growing children who are now young adults being forced to find the pieces of their own story in the scattered debris "Heater" has left behind.

This is a powerful story. Be forwarned. Its gonna stick with you for a long time
(reviewed 10 days after purchase)

Review by: Tina Neal on March 17, 2013 :
Scar Jewelry is a great read. I was genuinely sorry to reach the last page, the mark of a good story. The book explores familiar tangled themes of love and familial bond, betrayal, loss, and reconciliation. This is a fresh and engaging tale of people all too human: it could have been (and probably was) the family next door. The author’s voice is authentic and unforced, evocative but refreshingly spare. The story grabbed me for the duration. Those who have spent time in Southern California will enjoy the poignant sense of place that comes through as the backdrop (and bedrock) for the main character’s journey of discovery. The finale is a clever, untidy surprise that unfolds with a satisfying rush. Highly recommended and I hope to read more from Sue Perry!
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)

Review by: Tina Neal on March 17, 2013 : (no rating)
Scar Jewelry is a great read. I was genuinely sorry to reach the last page, the mark of a good story. The book explores familiar tangled themes of love and familial bond, betrayal, loss, and reconciliation. This is a fresh and engaging tale of people all too human: it could have been (and probably was) the family next door. The author’s voice is authentic and unforced, evocative but refreshingly spare. The story grabbed me for the duration. Those who have spent time in Southern California will enjoy the poignant sense of place that comes through as the backdrop (and bedrock) for the main character’s journey of discovery. The finale is a clever, untidy surprise that unfolds with a satisfying rush. Highly recommended and I hope to read more from Sue Perry!
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)

Review by: Bill C on Jan. 22, 2013 :
A few things I liked about this book:
* Quick and easy connection with its characters. As they developed through the story, the connections grew even more solid. This was good.
* Mysterious elements. Details and revelations unfold naturally, believably, and sufficiently.
* Balanced visualizations. Written scenes need varying amounts or levels of detailing, yes? While a hospital room can be generic, a main character's home, work, and other important environments need more thorough treatment. Well done here.
* Good, steady story/plot advancement vs. wallowing or meandering: definitely the former.

Things I didn't like:
* Ending left me wanting more.

Actually that's probably a good thing too.

Bottom line: highly recommend.
(reviewed 73 days after purchase)

Review by: RhiR on Jan. 16, 2013 :
"Scar Jewelry" is just the kind of book I like- fast paced and realistic, with credible, fully developed characters. I thought that the premise of having a loved one unexpectedly become incapacitated was a perfect way to creatively explore the question of how well any of us knows anyone else. The story was deep, yet lighthearted; it made me smile and it made me think (and it made me really wish that I had been around for the music- those shows sounded awesome!). I recommend it highly!
(reviewed 70 days after purchase)

Review by: Margaret Kerr on Jan. 14, 2013 : (no rating)
I really enjoyed the first half of this book. It is full of intrigue and has you asking yourself questions about your role as a parent or your role as a child. How well do we know our family and how well do we want to know them? However, I struggled to finish and was very disappointed in the ending. Is there a book 2 to tell us what happens next?
(reviewed 26 days after purchase)

Review by: Kimberly Scott on Dec. 26, 2012 :
In Scar Jewelry by Sue Perry, twins Deirdre and Langston who are very different in their personalities, set about to learn more about their mother who is in a coma. Their mother has done such a good job of covering up her past that they have no idea who she truly is or was . The way Heater/Heather has handled changing and hiding her identity is different in this book from anything I have ever read before. At first no-one wants to answer their questions, but eventually they do receive help from some of the Mother's life-long friends. Each new answer seems to lead to even more questions. With each twin having their own ideas about what they find and how it should be handled. With the twins even finding secrets about themselves. A real page turner to see what each new twist or turn will hold. Makes one wonder how well do we know our parents/loved ones?

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
(reviewed 8 days after purchase)

Review by: Kimberly Scott on Dec. 26, 2012 :
In Scar Jewelry by Sue Perry, twins Deirdre and Langston who are very different in their personalities, set about to learn more about their mother who is in a coma. Their mother has done such a good job of covering up her past that they have no idea who she truly is or was . The way Heater/Heather has handled changing and hiding her identity is different in this book from anything I have ever read before. At first no-one wants to answer their questions, but eventually they do receive help from some of the Mother's life-long friends. Each new answer seems to lead to even more questions. With each twin having their own ideas about what they find and how it should be handled. With the twins even finding secrets about themselves. A real page turner to see what each new twist or turn will hold. Makes one wonder how well do we know our parents/loved ones?

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
(reviewed 8 days after purchase)

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