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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Aberrations by Penelope Przekop


Title: Aberrations
Author: Penelope Przekop
Copyright: 2008
Pages: 336
ISBN: 9781934572030
Publisher: Emerald Book Company
Author Website:
Format: Paperback
Rating: 5/5 stars

From Amazon:
Twenty-one-year-old narcoleptic Angel Duet knows her father harbors secrets. He loves and protects her, but his suspicious refusal to discuss her mother's death drives Angel to worship an image created from the little history she does have: her father's sketchy stories and her mother's treasured photography, studies of clouds that have hung in the their foyer for more than twenty years.

When her father's girlfriend moves in, the photographs come down, and Angel's search for truth becomes an obsession. As she struggles to uncover the past and gain control over the narcolepsy that often fogs her world, Angel descends into a dizzying realm of drugs, adultery, and confused desire that further obscures reality.

As Angel begins to expose a history she could never have imagined, she discovers her entire life has been anchored around lies. Accepting the truth, once found, is the key to understanding herself, her family, and her life. To truly awaken, Angel must realize that sometimes the gifts we receive are not what we want--and only in time do we see their worth.

At first glance,
Aberrations is the story of a young woman who learns to live with her narcolepsy, and who struggles immensely to understand how her mom died when she was born and to discover who her mother really was. But the debut novel of Penelope Przekop moves insightfully into a whole other dimension, showing the reader how each of us lives a life of aberration, that we each have some kind of stigma or conflict or handicap to overcome. We also discover that having the strength to first seek out the truth and then to live with it can be quite challenging.

A marvelous and unique coming of age story, Penelope Przekop's Aberrations is the story of Angel Duet as she discovers the who she is and how she can find the missing pieces of herself. It is a book about discovering who you are to yourself, and not what others want you to be, about accepting all the bits that make you who you are and about finding unconditional love, even if it isn't necessarily where you thought it would come from.

Angel Duet, 21, suffers from narcolepsy and has strengthened herself over the years by closing herself off emotionally from others, living a solitary existence with her father and the memories of her deceased mother. The only real contact she has emotionally with anyone else is Mac, the married doctor whom she is having an affair with. Through new friends that she makes at her summer job, Tim and Kimmy, Angel begins to see the rut that her life is in (as are the others). Each discovers that they hold a secret that they believe sets them apart from everyone else around them; Angel's narcolepsy, Tim is gay and Kimmy is a virgin. After Tim convinces Angel to come out one night with him to the local gay bar, she meets his cousin, Scarlette, and more confusion sets into Angel's life, as there is an attraction to Scarlette, but is it sexual or simply the comforting idea that in Scarlette, Angel can find her idea of mother?

The book is ultimately about unconditional love, and the want and need of everyone to find that. I believe it's a fairly universal need. Generally, that idea is found in the idea of mother and that is what Angel feels she is missing in her life. She searches for it everywhere; through confrontation with her father over the true nature of her mother's death, through sex, both with Mac and with Scarlette, through artificial means while using Ecstasy. When Angel finally finds her idea of mother, it isn't necessarily where she thought it would come from, but it ultimately was the perfect way for her to find it.

Each character has a slight aberration that sets them apart from what they consider, or what society considers, normal; but are the characteristics that make you unique an aberration, or just part of who you are, to be accepted and nurtured, both by yourself and others? Through Tim's newness of discovering friends that he can share his homosexuality with, through Kimmy's emotional growth, through Angel's discovery of mother, each character grows and discovers it isn't always necessarily the best thing to be the person that other's want you to be or to hide behind your secrets; ultimately the unconditional love that each of us is searching needs to come from within.

To be honest, I couldn't put this book down. I thought I'd get it read in a couple of readings, but after I started, the story moved so well and the writing was so beautiful, I didn't want to stop. The prose is lyrical and flowing and the story moves without shoving it's way through. The characters are real, with real problems and real emotion. The only drawback I had was the "southern-accent spelling." It kept distracting me as I kept trying to read in a southern accent as opposed to simply reading the story. But realistically, it could simply be me. Aberrations is a beautiful story, and I look forward to what gems Penelope Przekop will be giving us in the future.

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