A Scattered Life is the story of three women whose lives revolve around their children, but in very different ways. Skyla, the protagonist, disliked her own childhood, which began to falter after her mother died of a brain aneurism when she was very young and her father had trouble keeping a job and carted her from one home to another all over the country. Wanting something else entirely for a child of her own, Skyla marries Thomas (who so dislikes change that he can’t even stand the disposal of old dishtowels!) and she hopes that his stability will be good for Nora, the little girl that they subsequently have. Skyla’s new neighbor Roxanne, who has five “obnoxious, dirty boys just like their father” (which is a a quote from their father, Ted, himself!) had always wanted to have at least a dozen children and is happy and fulfilled with being a mother 24 hours a day. Audrey, Thomas’s mother, is surprised at having no occupation at all when two of her boys finally leave home and the other spends all of his time with his father, because until then she’d felt that motherhood was her most important obligation.
A Scattered Life is about ordinary, often mundane lives that are significant only because they have meaning to their respective owners. When Nora goes to kindergarden Skyla yearns for a job and falls into one that becomes a strange adventure, something that Roxanne would never want to do and something that Audrey regards with disapproval. Skya’s job helps her remember her former art school days and to redefine herself once more.
Skyla and Thomas are otherwise (besides their love and attraction towards each other) different as night and day. Skyla’s earliest memory of Thomas is “linked to the smell of beer and the taste of blood” as he rescued her from a bartending accident, but she never envisioned, because of him, a life of endless routine.
The life tragedy of one of these women and the interactions between all three of them, cast together by fate, is the strength of A Scattered Life. Easy to read and visualize and filled with the kinds of observations and details that women appreciate, women will see portraits of parts of themselves and older women they’ve encountered within these pages. Our daily lives are indeed important, even if they seem common, and we don’t honor them enough, regretting that they’re gone only later, as Skyla, Roxanne and Audrey find out. A warm and inviting novel, I highly recommend it!
After failing at traditional publishing attempts, Karen McQuestion self-published four books of hers on Kindle that became very popular and A Scattered Life is the first Kindle book that has been optioned for a film!
A Scattered Life, a novel by Karen McQuestion, published by AmazonEncore and on sale August 10, 2010, 266 pages.
by Christina Zawadiwsky
Christina Zawadiwsky is Ukrainian-American, born in New York City, has a degree in Fine Arts, and is a poet, artist, journalist and TV producer. She has received a National Endowment for the Arts Award, two Wisconsin Arts Boards Awards, a Co-Ordinating Council of Literary Magazines Writers Award, and an Art Futures Award, among other honors. She was the originator and producer of Where The Waters Meet, a local TV series created to facilitate the voices of artists of all genres in the media, for which she won two national and twenty local awards, including a Commitment to Community Television Award. She is also a contributing editor to the annual Pushcart Prize Anthology, the recipient of an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Wisconsin Library Association, and has published four books of poetry. She currently reviews movies for www.movieroomreviews.com, music for www.musicroomreviews.com, and books for www.bookroomreviews.com.