A poignant, breathtaking debut, "Halfborn Woman is the story of Arlen, a painfully observant girl who comes of age in early '70s Tampa, Florida. When Arlen's charming rogue of a father walks out on the family, everything changes, and her mother, Olivia, a woman whose passion and insecurity make her difficult in the best of times, now rides a terrifying slide between depression and rage.
Arlen is left to play handmaiden and cheerleader to a woman who, feeling brutally rejected, now rejects her. Only in tthe aftermath of one of her mother's increasingly frequent beatings can Arlen find something like the love she's been denied, finally cradled in Livvi's apologetic arms. Nor can she find any real support in the new life her father has created for himself and the irredeemably banal trophy wife he's picked up. And, trying desperately to make her way between these two worlds, Arlen finds herself ever more lost.
Unable to accept the true affection of her first boyfriend, Shems, she experiments instead with the fascination she is able to engender in a middle-aged neighbor. But nowhere is she able to replace the love she feels her mother denies her. And as her life at home moves almost inevitably into deepending cycles of abuse, Arlen soon begins to test her own limits-and those of the life that now traps her.
With language that is as surefooted as it is evocative, Woodbrown has written a book that will captivate every reader who knows the pain and promise of young womanhood, as well as every reader who wants to remember it.
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HALFBORN WOMANUser Review - Jane Doe - Kirkus
A cheerless and schematic coming-of-age novel, Florida-set, limns a thin tale of unsuitable mothers, weak fathers, and, of course, horribly messed-up daughters. Rushed to a hospital after attempting ... Read full review