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Broken For You by Stephanie Kallos

Broken For You (2004)

by Stephanie Kallos

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,341508,668 (3.75)58



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This novel is interestingly enough about many characters that are “broken”. Particularly there is the sick and elderly Margaret Hughes who has conversations with her vast antique china collection. Then there is the young and lost Wanda Schultz who has spent many years surviving, first with relatives and then on her own, after her parents abandoned her. These two both have secrets and worries that they share with no one. When Margaret decides to offer a room for rent in her large mansion, Wanda answers the ad. The unlikely pair begins forming a friendship that frees both of them, and in doing so; the two find an unusual way to make broken for you truly a relevant title for the book.

I sympathized with the characters and was very happy when they found one anther. And I enjoyed how the theme came together. However, it was very easy to predict how everything might fall into place to bring the book and the reader to a satisfying conclusion. In spite of that, I would recommend the book as an above average read.
( )
  Rdglady | Nov 20, 2018 |
Much better than Sing Then Home, but it just did not hold me. Started off really well, great characters, mild hints to draw you in, but then it relied way too much on coincidence, or the "It's A Small World" theory. Fine for a beach or travel book, maybe that is why my library copy was full of SAND!!! ( )
  Rdra1962 | Aug 1, 2018 |
Really enjoyed this book. The more I read it, the more it drew me in. ( )
  CarmenMilligan | Jan 18, 2016 |
Margaret Hughes, a 75-year-old long-time divorcee, has just been told by her doctor that she has a brain tumor and should immediately begin treatments to prolong her life. Instead Margaret decides to fill her enormous Seattle mansion with a 'family' consisting of quirky strangers each one stranger than the next. The first boarder is Wanda, a young woman from Chicago who was uncerimoniously dumped by her jazz-loving boyfriend after he told her he needed 'space' which she took to mean that she should divest herself of all of her wordly goods so that she could move in with him without cluttering his apartment with her things. (What????) Wanda then proceeds to stalk him to Seattle where she actually impersonates a police detective visiting music stores that sell rare jazz albums looking for her ex. Margaret and Wanda are joined by Gus, an 80-year-old hotel valet who strikes up a romance with Margaret, Susan, a nurse, Bruce, a caterer, and Troy, a handsome young man who falls for Wanda and can seemingly do any kind of repair, restoration, or construction ever needed.

Every room in Margaret's home is filled with valuable china and porcelain figurines, dinnerware, tea sets, vases, etc. Margaret has conversed with her collection for years but now that she has family what better way to treat her treasures than to start breaking them. (What????) Wanda turns out to be an accomplished mosaicist so all of those broken pieces are put to good use, the whole quirky household pitches in to help and they become fabulously famous. The only saving grace of this book for me was the secret of where Margaret's collection came from originally and that was a truly interesting section of the story.

Meanwhile, Wanda's long-lost father M.J., who left Wanda when she was a child to search for his kooky wife who had abandoned them both, is also living in Seattle working in a bowling alley and has befriended a nice Jewish lady and her 3-legged deaf cat. M.J. has not bothered to contact his daughter in the 20 some odd years since he left but their paths cross several times in Seattle without either of them realizing it. The inevitable reunion can't be too far away.

I'm not sure what to think about this book except that I really didn't like it. I enjoy quirky characters but this group is beyond strange and some of them, Wanda especially, weren't even likeable. The history of the figurines was touching but I had a problem with the continued breakage after the characters knew the truth.
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  Ellen_R | Jan 15, 2016 |
Sappy, weepy, too convenient ending. Yuck! ( )
  BooksOn23rd | Nov 25, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kallos, Stephanieprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fields, AnnaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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They're so much more than objects. They're living things, crafted and used by people like us. They reach out to us and through them we forge a link with the past. ---Guendolen Plestcheeff, decorative arts collector (1892--1994)
...He took bread; and when He had given thanks, He brake it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, Take, eat, this is my body, which is given for you. ---From the Prayer of Consecration, Holy Communion
For my children, Noah Gregory Johns and Samuel Liam Johns
First words
While the woman sleeps and dreams of all that breaks, come into this house of many rooms.
"Slow down, boychick' she was always saying. 'Cooking is not to rush. It's a prayer. A gift of love. It's a family. It's standing in the company of your ancestors and feeling their hands, helping you.' " Bruce started weaving the strands into braids. "When you're Jewish, everything that matters happens in the kitchen."
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802142109, Paperback)

National best seller and Today show Book Club selection, Broken for You is the story of two women in self-imposed exile whose lives are transformed when their paths intersect. Stephanie Kallos's debut novel is a work of infinite charm, wit and heart. It is also a glorious homage to the beauty of broken things. When we meet septuagenarian Margaret Hughes, she is living alone in a mansion in Seattle with only a massive collection of valuable antiques for company. Enter Wanda Schultz, a young woman with a broken heart who has come west to search for her wayward boyfriend. Both women are guarding dark secrets and have spent many years building up protective armor against the outside world. As their tentative friendship evolves, the armor begins to fall away and Margaret opens her house to the younger woman. This launches a series of unanticipated events, leading Margaret to discover a way to redeem her cursed past, and Wanda to learn the true purpose of her cross-country journey. Both funny and heartbreaking, Broken for You is a testament to the saving graces of surrogate families and shows how far the tiniest repair jobs can go in righting the world's wrongs.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:06 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Margaret Hughes, a septuagenarian living in Seattle, takes in a series of boarders who help her cope with her illness, and whose lives become unexpectedly connected to each other

» see all 3 descriptions

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