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Beginnings, Middles and Endings
S. D. Turner, author
While growing up privileged in 1950s upstate New York, young Lippa Broadbent struggles with all that accompanies having a mentally ill parent. As her mother battles inner demons, Lippa must find a way to see a brighter future while trapped within the confines of her uncertain world. It is 1978 as Lippa approaches mid-life. Now a trial attorney in an era unaccustomed to female lawyers, she feels sullied by a recent case, resigns, withdraws to a life of domesticity among Manhattan's professional elite, and begins to write. Throughout her intertwined stories, Lippa sometimes disappears from the surface but reappears in the subtext. As she enters her third act, Lippa forms her alter ego Katie, a California art historian who returns home to care for her ailing father. Now all she has to do is unravel her family's secrets before he dies. Beginnings, Middles and Endings shares a collection of tales that follow a girl into womanhood as she courageously faces each stage of life and learns her true identity.
Plot/Idea: 6 out of 10
Originality: 7 out of 10
Prose: 9 out of 10
Character/Execution: 7 out of 10
Overall: 7.25 out of 10

Assessment:

Plot: Turner's quiet, interlinked stories focus on the life of a woman coming-of-age, discovering her identity, grappling with a parent’s mental illness, and navigating a male dominated world and profession.  While the short story structure is somewhat disjointed and readers may struggle at times to find the connection between the tales, Turner ultimately delivers a compelling and intimate character study.

Prose/Style: Turner writes in a crisp, beautifully rendered prose style that allows the minutiae of an individual’s lived experience to resonate.

Originality: The narrative structure of this work is highly distinctive. While at times individually opaque, collectively, the works form a gratifying and multidimensional narrative arc.

Character Development: Readers will gain a clear and nuanced sense of the central character through moments both significant and small. 

Date Submitted: August 08, 2019

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