THE SHATTERED DOOR by BRANDON WITT
Reviewed by Gitte
I think I can safely say that this story is one which has touched me and affected me more than many before it. Every so often, and I mean often, I had to stop reading and try and process and digest what I’d just read. Call me naïve, hell, call me ignorant, but I have never in my thirty-eight years of life come across anything remotely close to what I just read. I grew up in five different countries, lived in more small villages, towns and cities than is typical growing up, yet I have never come across such hatred or even personally known of its existence. Yet exist it does, sadly. It breaks my heart.
However, this story is not just a story of prejudice and hate, it’s a story of family and friendships, of support and guidance, of love and hope. What I have to mention is that there is obviously a heavy theme of religion which isn’t for everyone. It actually isn’t something I myself enjoy in books, however, this story is about so much more and if you’re like me, you will fall in love with the characters and the battle of staying true to who you are to achieve contentment and happiness in life.
What our hero Brooklyn has to go through as a gay Christian whose vocation in life (not job may I add) is helping kids in youth groups, is truly appalling. Not only has he had a traumatic childhood, it literally continues into his adulthood. This guy is still finding his place in life whilst his sexuality, his beliefs, his past and his present makes him question himself tremendously. His growth and his strength in this story is immense as he finds love and purpose. His wanting to be accepted for who he is; well it’s heart-breaking. How many times can you be labelled something horrible, be negatively judged by the society within which you live, be treated atrociously before it breaks you? Before you feel there’s no choice but to give in or give up?
‘What if I just stayed in bed? What if I simply never left my house again? What if I just quit breathing and drifted away?’ ~ Brooke
Yes, I go to church, yes I’m a believer, no my Christianity by definition if there is such a thing, does not play a major part in how I treat other people or how I perceive and view the world. What plays a part is my own sense of what’s right and what’s wrong. The fundamentals and yard sticks, if you will, are there in society and who initially put them there, where it all began, what its role is and how you and I follow. Well, that’s an ongoing discussion in life and has no place in this review. But love does. Because love does not discriminate, love does not judge, love is the fundamental, the yardstick, the guide. Love is not wrong. Love conquers fear of the unknown and brings on hope. With a majority, you’ll always find a minority and vice versa, they walk hand in hand. The difficult but important thing is to not judge by who is the loudest but by what you feel in your heart when you truly examine it.
Brooke meets Jed at what I suppose is a crucial moment in his life. He’s finding his feet on his own and coming to terms with who he is out of hiding; away from home. He’s also standing at a crossroad due to the health of his Mum back home.
“You’re the man I’ve longed for and prayed for.” – Jed
There’s one emotional scene in the rain where a question is asked and the poignancy of this story, through the words said, plays out between Jed and Brooke. This scene right here is the crux of it and I cried with happy tears.
Jed was fantastic for Brooke, he was the light to the dark, the certainty to the uncertainty. He brought humour, support, love, strength and a balanced voice to the journey.
“Goodnight, Brooke. Someday, I want to dance in an elevator with you.” – Jed
Reading The shattered Door I couldn’t help question everything. I’m a maudlin thinker anyway and get caught up in my own thoughts so much so that the world disappears, I can be a moody bitch at times yet this story made me into a raging mad woman. I hated humanity in this story. I hated what this small collection of people thought was right to do in the name of religion. I hated certain characters, one in particular who broke the mold for nomination of world’s worst Mum.
“You are worthless, you dumb little fuck.” ~ Rose
I can safely say hate here and I own that hate, because it’s an emotion, what I consequently do with that emotion is the important thing. What I did was, I cried at the injustice, at the depravity, at the violence, at the hatred through verbal abuse. I raged at the prejudice, at the fear of the unknown which can turn ugly, at the wrongness, but I did this all in the sanctuary of my own living room, best place really for your very own ‘soap box’.
We all have a beginning and we all have an end, what we choose to do in the middle is all us; it’s on us!
Now, I’m not perfect, I too can sometimes judge to easily and later regret that fact, I know this, and I own it. But I do not understand, and I never will, how hatred can be aimed at love, what is more beautiful? Love can be all encompassing and comes with many faces and in many guises and through many actions. It should be celebrated, not sullied by fear and labels.
So, after my crying and the raging, I rejoiced in the love and the hope that came out of the hate and the darkness. I celebrated the strength and the bravery and the unwavering faith of our characters. I was absolutely exhausted by the end I have to tell you!
What an incredibly well written emotional story, as if you haven’t already guessed HA! It really is quite a journey our Brooke goes on, one which I strongly encourage everyone to read. It’ll hurt, it’ll make you question, yet it will also bring home the importance of respect, decency, the good that exists and the importance of faith, whatever that might be, and importantly it brings home hope. It will also make you smile through tears and chuckle a few times too at the sarcasm and irony. It was passionate, intense, beautiful and poignant.
‘How wonderful it would be to not care what others thought.’