Review of TEMPER CA–Heartbreaking & Healing

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Heartbreaking & Healing: a tale of love & loss in a small California town

Joy rolls into Temper CA, back to the town she both loves and hates and doesn’t understand, for her grandfather Isaac’s funeral. This universal tale of angst and confusion revolves around the relationship Joy had with her mother and father, hippies of the 70s who lived in one house with their friends and did the usual of the period—slept together, drank, built their shared house, took acid, and brought their child up to live free and discover life with little guidance.
The complications that arise are microscopic and macroscopic, from dealing with the secrets and truths of her upbringing as a child and why she went back and forth to live with her grandparents, to the larger issues of economic disparity and race.
Award-winning author Paul Skenazy draws us into Joy’s story with language that alternately soothes and upsets. The short chapters create suspense and tension as Joy pieces her life together, finding truths that keep her from being at peace with herself and her girlfriend Angie. As many of us who came from small towns can relate, Temper, CA introduced Joy to a family she thought she knew, but didn’t. My heart hurt for her when she realized she’d created her own past, and she wished things had been different not only for herself but for those she loved, and even those she thought she hated.
A brilliant novel, deserving of all accolades and our reading pleasure.
Paul Skenazy’s website: