Sampler: Broken Pieces by Martha Perez
June 15, 2021
The heart-wrenching story of child neglect, abuse, and the resilience to overcome childhood experiences that shape and mold us all.
Shattering, Captivating, and Emotional; written in First Person POV in the voice of a child. The words latch on to your brain and never let go. Some people would say that a child is incapable of writing with such depth, clarity, thinking, and philosophical musings that are akin to an adult.
But it’s a child’s naivety, a sobering voice that’s grown in the midst of struggle, humility along with plainness of speech, and unpretentious honesty that can send chills through one’s body. This is a heart-wrenching story of child neglect, abuse, and the resilience to overcome childhood experiences that shape and mold us all.
The book tells the story of Abigail Marie Pena, more often known simply as Abby, as she struggles to overcome a traumatic and violent childhood as she moves forward in life.
From a broken home, dysfunctional family, and physical and emotional abuse, as she becomes an adult, Abby finds herself in a bad marriage with two sons. It seems like she’ll never escape from the cycle of violence and degradation she’s been stuck in for as long as she can remember.
But with the strength of will and determination, she makes a place in the world for herself. All that’s missing is a man to share it with–and then two come along, bring with them ghosts from her past and forcing her to make a decision on which all her future happiness depends.
Broken Pieces will appeal to readers who enjoy the reality of everyday life without sugar coating. Written in a gritty, straightforward style that nevertheless recognizes the potential for love and compassion to illuminate our lives.
In the midst of change, we often discover wings we never knew we had–this is a novel that will live with you for a long time after you read it.
Sampler: Broken Pieces
It all started on a stormy winter day. It was a Saturday afternoon in October 1966, when Dad picked us up from Grandma’s house in Highland Park, California. Dad’s apartment was just South on Figueroa St. which wasn’t too far by car.
Dad smiled at Megan and me when he arrived; we didn’t have a care in the world–we both were just really happy to see him. He said that he missed both of us so very much, that we both looked pretty and asked if we were wearing new dresses?
Megan smiled and said, “Yes, Daddy.” She got a big huge squeeze from him. She loved Dad so much—don’t get me wrong, I love him too. “Grandma made our dresses, Daddy.”
“How about you, Abby? You look beautiful, just like your mother. Do you like your dress?”
I simply nodded, having always been the quiet one. Anyway, I didn’t even remember what my mother looked like.
Grandma had gone all out with our dresses. Megan’s was red velvet with white lace trimming. Mine was green velvet with white lace trim. Our hair was softly curled down to the length of our shoulder, with a silver barrette keeping them in place. We truly looked like dolls.
Dad held both our hands. “Ready to meet your new mommy?”
Megan pulled her hand away from him in anger. “She’s not our Mom! She will never be my Mom, ever, never, ever. Why are you doing this, Daddy? I don’t want to meet her.” She started sobbing.
“You really have to stop acting like that! Megan, you are scaring Abby! Go get your jacket, both of you”— now Dad was yelling at us–“And stop crying like a baby. Maria is nice and is waiting to meet you both.” He said thanks to Grandma for taking care of us.
She smiled, “You better take care of those girls, son.”
Dad hugged her and said his goodbye.
We walked to his car, and he opened the door for us. No one said a word. The gloom of the heavy rain fitted everyone’s mood. Dad had never yelled at us or spanked us before. He always said he loved us more than life itself. So why was he doing this to us? We couldn’t understand. Why? Things were changing and not for the good.
Megan just stared out the window at the pouring rain and never said a word throughout the whole drive back home. I just played with my fingers, not comprehending but knowing that something was wrong. I was just playing with my fingers–I was a nervous little girl.
Finally, we got to the apartment and Dad opened the car door for us. Megan took my hand and whispered in my ear, “It will be fine, Abby. She will never be our mother.”
I smiled at her, trusting her and feeling much better, because, Megan was truly like my Mom, friend, and big sister all rolled in one. Looking back, that must have been rough for her, since she had been so young herself. We could only wish for the best when it came to our Dad.
Dad lived in the bottom apartment, way in the back, so we had to pass all the four apartments in the front. It was still raining hard, so we ran as fast as we could so that we wouldn’t get wet. And there she was, standing with the door open, with a fake smile. Dad smiled back and told her something in Spanish.
Megan had a look of disgust on her face and she whispered to me, “OMG, she doesn’t even speak English! I can’t believe this! Can you believe that, Abby? She doesn’t speak English! It can’t get any worse than this, could it?”
Well, that’s what we thought. We were so wrong.
Dad pulled us both closer to meet his new wife. Megan frowned and then smirked. Maria had short brown hair, huge brown eyes, and a big black mole on her right cheek. Kind of on the heavy side, she wore a black pencil skirt and a white blouse. She had slippers on, so we guessed we were staying in for the evening. Megan continued to look her up and down.
Our Dad was a handsome man. He had hazel eyes, thin and tall, with a nice tan; he had full lips that often turned into a wry smile and jet black hair that was always trimmed short. He wore nice suits. Don’t know what he saw in her. She was not pretty at all. Megan was not warming up to her… not one bit. And maybe it was because Maria’s smile did not make us feel welcome. If looks could kill, she would be dead from Megan’s stare. I noticed that Maria never looked at Megan; her eyes were only on me. I kept my eyes down because to tell you the truth, she was kind of scary. And she kept staring at me.
Dad said, “This is Megan Lisa Pena, the oldest.”
Maria replied, “Migin,” and nodded her head.”
Megan got so angry. “My Name is Megan, not Migin.” Dad glared at her, then looks at both of us with a frown. “She doesn’t speak English,” Megan says to Dad. “It’s not my fault! You always told me to correct people if they’re saying it wrong, so I’m correcting her.”
Dad did not look happy, but he took my hand and introduced me next. “Maria, this is Abigail Marie Pena.”
Shyly looking up at her, I whispered to Dad, “Tell her to call me Abby.”
Maria nodded again and said, “Abe.”
Megan laughed so loud it made Dad more upset, but he continued, “Abby looks just like her mother.”
Maria looked at me and frowned.
We didn’t know how to talk to her. We didn’t know how to speak Spanish.
Finally, with the introductions over, Maria told Dad that she made dinner.
Megan whispered, “Guess we’re not going out to dinner. We have to eat her food.” She rolled her eyes.
Maria pointed to the table and we followed with heavy steps.
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