Review: How We Broke by Bracken MacLeod and Paul Michael Anderson

How We Broke by Bracken MacLeod and Paul Michael Anderson
(Night Worms exclusive, Thunderstorm Books, 2020)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book cover of How We Broke by Bracken MacLeod and Paul Michael Anderson with five Polaroids revealing two fractured people

This little novella full of big revelations and emotions really got to me. I have an irrational fear of photographs—not the process of taking photos but photos themselves, with all their potential to reveal and unleash things that couldn’t have been there in reality—and this story’s Polaroids and digital photos splicing the past and present together really creeped me the hell out. The authors tapped into many other fears as well with their beautiful and haunting prose. There are shadows in the light and shadows in the dark, and there’s also a walk down a hill that truly frightened me.

But the story’s larger concerns also got to me. Two adult siblings return to the cabin in the woods they used to vacation in as children. What they find there claws open the trauma they suffered that left them broken. Will truth and revelation be their salvation after they try to reconnect, or will the past rip them to shreds? The conclusion left me in tears.

An incredible (and incredibly quick) read. I’ll be seeking out more of Bracken MacLeod and Paul Michael Anderson’s writing.

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