Christensen, Mark A.
CreateSpace (188 pp.)
$16.00 paperback, $16.00 e-book
March 5, 2012
In his debut novel, Christensen imagines a new parent’s struggle to prevent his abusive childhood from negatively affecting his own parenting.
This compelling work should be praised most for Christensen’s structural choice. Told via flashbacks, the novel presents each episode as a stop in the narrator’s various childhood neighborhoods. Every destination opens the door to the past,
Illuminating the darkness of verbal and physical abuse, which at the time was an accepted aspect of his childhood. As an adult, main character Keith Herman understands that the relationships he endured with his mother, stepfather and
Grandfather was more than momentary injustices—they have lifelong implications for him. The setup serves as a metaphorical and literal vehicle for Keith to revisit and deconstruct the traumas of his past. In doing so, he hopes to
Understand himself what he’s been through so he can end the cycle of abuse. Christensen is explicit in his description
of the abuse Keith endured, often uncomfortably so. By choosing a first-person narration, the author steeps the reader in each violent act suffered by the main character. The inherent tension of this type of conflict makes for a compelling read;
While it is evident the narrative was composed
with care, it is a well-constructed cautionary tale of the problems facing families trapped in generational patterns of abuse.
Kirkus Indie, Kirkus Media LLC, 6411 Burleson Rd., Austin, TX 78744
"Just go to a book store and walk to the shelves. Try to find Mark Christensen at its right location. Not a chance."
Robert Newham, Chicago Tribune, about Lemon Garden
RD: But didn't you say you needed a reason to write?
CB: That is true, but you should be careful to talk about it. It wouldn't even be possible to define it. (Laughs.) I hope I am never able to do that, because if I knew from the start exactly what my motivation is, I could just stop right there and then, go work in my yard, and be happy.
NYT: Mark Christensen, is seems no matter what you try your hand at is a success. We in New York read your books, shake our head, and would rather return back to our parties, but there
is this small part in us that continues to bother us in a wonderful way, just like an olive that has fallen into a cocktail it does not belong in. We are upset all night long. And so finally we start
reflecting. This basically describes the Christensen effect...
CB: Thanks. I would call that calculated truth.
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