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The Last Bridge

por Teri Coyne

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25495103,632 (3.75)61
BONUS: This edition contains a The Last Bridge For ten years, Alexandra ??Cat? Rucker has been on the run from her past. But a sudden call from an old neighbor forces Cat to return to her Ohio hometown??and to the family she never intended to see again. Cat??s mother is dead, and she??s left a disturbing and confusing suicide note that reads: Cat, He isn??t who you think he is. Mom xxxooo Seeking to unravel the mystery of her mother??s death, Cat must confront her past to discover who ??he? might be: Her tyrannical father, now in a coma after suffering a stroke? Her brother, Jared, named after her mother??s true love (who is also her father??s best friend)? Or Addison Watkins, Cat??s first and only love? Taut, gripping, and edgy, The Last Bridge is an intense tale of family secrets, dar… (mais)
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Alex fled her abusive home years ago. Now she nurses her pain with bourbon and denial. She returns home after her father's hospitalization and her mother's suicide. Her mother has left a note for Alex: "He's not who you think he is."

Who is she referring to? There are plenty of men to choose from. Is it her father, who has sexually and physically abused her? Her brother? Her former lover, who has suddenly reappeared? Alex doesn’t want to deal with any of this. She avoids her brother and sister and numbs herself once more with alcohol.

Coyne interweaves the past and present, showing what has happened that lead up to her flight and what is happening as the children bury their mother, clean up the farmhouse and deal with their mutual feeling that they are more strangers than siblings. The two storylines finally connect and point toward an uplifting and hopeful resolution.

The book is dark and not for the faint of heart. At times, it’s hard to like Alex, who seems her own enemy, though not worse than her father or the alcohol she numbs herself with. But as the novel progresses, I understood her and developed sympathy for her. I wanted her to throw out the bottle, get help and find out the truth about the question that has tormented her for years.

There were several bewildering elements of the novel.
First, the family tree itself is bewildering. I kept trying to figure out if Addison could possibly be Alex's mother's child, given the complexity of the parents' relationships, and which Jared was which. I had difficulty understanding why the mother's-illegitimate-son plotline was even in the story. It made the already confusing web of family relationships a little more confusing and I didn't think that it added much, if anything, to the novel.

Second, two trivial things that the editor really should have picked up on. Having three characters whose names start with the same letter is confusing: Alex the narrator, Alex her son, and Addison the possible father of her child. At the very least, why not have other characters call Alex the narrator by her nickname, Cat? And two Jareds? Please, this is too confusing!

The dual timeline was a great idea: we get to see what happens after the mother's suicide and what lead up to the fateful night that forced Alex to leave home. But at points I had difficulty figuring out whether the events were happening in the past or present. It would have made sense to add chapter headers telling when the events in the chapters happened; Jodi Picoult did this in The Pact and Nineteen Minutes, and it added clarity to the timelines. A simple "then" and "now" indicator would have helped. I'm not sure why an editor didn't suggest this, unless the reader is meant to be slightly confused because Alex herself confuses the past and present, with all the abuse and fear and addiction rolling together.

Third, the ending is abrupt. I was relieved that Alex got treatment and became a healthier person. I just wish there had been more development at this point. (I'll add, though, that I really liked seeing a nun portrayed in a positive light; not only does she nurse her through the difficulties of alcohol poisoning and detox, she also gives a Bible to her, saying this helped her after a similar experience. It's not often in literature that religion helps rather than harms, so that was refreshing.)


Having said all that, you might think that I disliked the book. Au contraire. I read—no, devoured—it in one afternoon, mesmerized by Coyne's story. I didn't want to put it down. That doesn't happen very often for me. I wanted to know what happened to Alex and I wanted to know what her mother's suicide note meant. He isn't who you think he is.

But it wasn't just the fast-paced plot that made me keep reading. While I read, I thought of all the truth contained in this story, how realistic the family dynamics are in these circumstances, how I know of other families that have lived this story.

It's a heartbreaking look at how abuse destroys a family. No one here can trust another family member. No one besides her brother even bothers to protect Alex, and even he can't protect her from the worst. Everyone else turns a blind eye: her mother and sister, one caught up in her abusive, co-dependent relationship and the other self-centered and spoiled, pretend not to see the obvious; teachers ignore the bruises and cuts of the children; Addison apparently doesn't realize that Alex is being abused or is too immature to act responsibly and get her help.

It's the syndrome that I've seen in news stories about battered women, abused children or victims murdered by a loved one. "I heard a rumor that he beat her, but it wasn't my business. . . . I guess I should have realized when she had that black eye. . . . I didn't know what to do. . . . So I did nothing."

If there's one thing to take away from the book, it's that we all know an Alex. Maybe we're even Alex ourselves. For the latter, Coyne offers hope. For the rest of us, Coyne kicks us hard, letting us know in no uncertain terms to wake up and see the Alex's all around us. And don't just see. Do something.
( )
  MeredithRankin | Jun 7, 2019 |
A young woman returns home for the first time in 10 years when her mother commits suicide. The novel alternates chapters that tell the history of physical and sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her father.

This was a difficult and emotional read, which for me means the author succeeded in establishing empathy with Alex. The story carried me along and there were no spots where the story dragged. The secondary characters very well drawn, sympathetic but with enough flaws to make them realistic. The only problem I had with the book was the note the mother left for Alex, "He isn't who you think he is." The meaning of the note is never fully resolved, and it ended up feeling like a cheap hook to me. The novel was good enough it didn't need it. ( )
  dorie.craig | Jun 22, 2017 |
This was really good. It was emotional and intense, with twists galore. ( )
  Tabatha014 | Sep 16, 2016 |
I have been looking forward to reading this book since Julie's review a few months back. As always, I'm not quite sure where to begin. To me The Last Bridgeis a mystery more than anything else that reads a lot like a memoir. It is told by Cat, an alcoholic trying to forget her past, as she tries to decipher what her mother's cryptic suicide note means.

This book was a hard one to read, not in prose but in subject matter. It deals with physical and sexual abuse by a parent. Ms. Coyne did a fantastic job of writing this story from the abused's point of view. Cat was truly amazing to know. She started out as a wary teenage, constantly hiding from her abusive father. She experiences love in the form of a slightly older family friend who comes to stay with her family. Her only protector is her older brother Jared. Her sister, for all intents and purposes, is pretty useless to her. Although her mother tries to do what she can to help her, I couldn't help but feel that as long as it was Cat getting the abuse and not her, she was totally fine with that.

And then it happens, that one thing that Cat can't hide from. That one thing that completely destroys her life. And gone is the teenager and in her place is a scared woman whose only way of coping with her past is to drown it in a bottle of booze.

This novel is incredible on all accounts. I loved the memoir feel to it. After I was finished reading it, I wanted to go online and google Cat. I wanted to know what she was up to, if she was able to change her life for the long haul. I wanted to know if she kept in touch with Jared, if she found her happy ending with Addison. I lost count of how many times I told myself she wasn't real, that she was just a character made up by a woman with an incredible gift. And what a gift Ms. Coyne has. She writes in a way that you can't take you eyes off the page. You want to know what happens next.

I definitely recommend this novel to anyone who has the courage to look inside the broken. Who is not afraid of the truth, no matter how startling it may be. I usually include a quote from the novel in my review. There are many to choose from in this book, but I think the one the author herself picks says it best...

What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open. - Muriel Rekeyser.

And what a truth it is. ( )
  ForSix | Dec 8, 2010 |
Wow. That's all that came to mind when I finished this book. I'm still shaking my head thinking about it. Brutal. This story was incredibly brutal. Heartbreaking. Tragic. Desperate. Sad. Redeeming. Uplifting.I picked this book up over a month ago, read the first chapter and put it down. I didn't pick it up again until last Saturday. Not because the storyline didn't grab me, but rather life got in the way. Once I picked it back up, I couldn't put it down. I just had to know what happened next. Most times I regretted finding out.I was shocked at how few pages there were. So much happened that it seemed like there should have been more. The author covered a lot of ground with a few words. Many times, I had to close my eyes to try and block out the images that formed in my mind. I didn't want to see it but I couldn't help it. The author burned this story into my brain.I've read a lot of good books. Some I would even consider great. Very few garner five star ratings from me, but this one did. If you only read one book the rest of the year, make it this one. ( )
  ldrumm16 | Dec 3, 2010 |
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"What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open." - Muriel Rukeyser
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for my father
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Two days after my father had a massive stroke my mother shot herself in the head.
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BONUS: This edition contains a The Last Bridge For ten years, Alexandra ??Cat? Rucker has been on the run from her past. But a sudden call from an old neighbor forces Cat to return to her Ohio hometown??and to the family she never intended to see again. Cat??s mother is dead, and she??s left a disturbing and confusing suicide note that reads: Cat, He isn??t who you think he is. Mom xxxooo Seeking to unravel the mystery of her mother??s death, Cat must confront her past to discover who ??he? might be: Her tyrannical father, now in a coma after suffering a stroke? Her brother, Jared, named after her mother??s true love (who is also her father??s best friend)? Or Addison Watkins, Cat??s first and only love? Taut, gripping, and edgy, The Last Bridge is an intense tale of family secrets, dar

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Teri Coyne's book The Last Bridge was available from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

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Teri Coyne é um Autor LibraryThing, um autor que lista a sua biblioteca pessoal no LibraryThing.

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Teri Coyne conversou com membros do LibraryThing de Aug 10, 2009 a Aug 21, 2009. Leia a conversa.

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