This 2018 novel by blogger (“This Is My Truth Now”) and author (Watching Glass Shatter), is a wonderful read. It begins with a “teaser” opening. One is approaching the two story cabin on the cover and sees two bodies, a man and a woman, who have just crashed through a window, lying on the ground. All we know from the police who have arrived is that one is dead, the other severely hurt.
Then the story alternates between Amalia (beginning in August of 1984) and Brianna (beginning in June of 2004), chapter by chapter. Amalia, submissive daughter to an abusive mother, Janet, and a 60 year old, quiet man, Peter, lives a life of shame and physical abuse. She and her parents live in Brant, Mississippi. Her brother, Greg and his best friend are about to come home from college to Brant for the summer. Amalia begins to realize that Greg’s friend is a tease, and ashamedly enough, he awakens feelings in her she has never experienced before.
Brianna, who lives in New York with her single mom also struggles with feelings. She is about to go to prom with her boyfriend, Doug, and knows that Doug has “expectations” for prom night, but she also has feelings for her best friend, Shannelle, who prefers women to men. Her story is one where she explores her sexuality, not coming to any conclusions until the very end.
There are many twists and turns in Father Figure, as well as many reveals and unravellings of family mysteries and connections. Both girls make the decision to go to college, both attempting to escape from something only to discover their own connections and pasts are intertwined. It is a good novel that spools out, clear and easy to follow as laid out by the author, but warning: DO NOT try to figure out the connections or who was lying on the ground at the beginning/end of the story. YOU WILL BE WRONG, until Cudney decides to tie up all ends and reveal all. It is a darned good read.