Book Review: The Last Bridge by Teri Coyne

lastbridge Title: The Last Bridge
Author: Teri Coyne
Genre: Modern lit
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
First line: Two days after my father had a massive stroke my mother shot herself in the head.

The Last Bridge is Teri Coyne’s first novel. I was thrilled to read a novel that grabbed me from the first sentence and wouldn’t let me go until I turned the last page, with tears streaming down my face. When I read the author’s note and discovered that the book is the author’s first novel, I was astounded.

Alex “Cat” Rucker is going home to Wilton – the last place on earth she wants to be. She has been running from Wilton for the last ten years, and only her mother’s suicide would draw her home. When she arrives, she is greeted by her mother’s suicide note, which simply reads,

“Cat,
He isn’t who you think he is.
Mom xxxooo”

Who does she mean? Which he? Her father, who is in a coma in the hospital? Her brother, Jared? Her past love, Addison?

Cat is in no condition to deal with her mother’s funeral or business arrangments, let alone search out the meaning of this mysterious note. She has spent the last ten years drinking her way to the bottom of endless bottles, numbing the pain she feels over her abusive childhood. Is there even a point in trying to move past the pain? Is it even possible?

Teri Coyne has written in Cat a brittle character, one so full of rage and self-pity and self-condemnation, that it would normally be impossible to relate with her. But as Ms. Coyne unravels Cat’s story, alternating each chapter set in the present with a chapter set in the past, slowly revealing the extent of the abuse Cat suffered at the hands of her monstrous father, you begin to understand the very real reasons why Cat has become the person she is.

This book is not an easy read. The horrific things that humans are capable of doing to each other – even to their own children – never fail to break my heart. I couldn’t stop reading, though, because I wanted to believe that it wasn’t too late for Cat, that there was still a way for her to find a measure of healing and sanity.

Even as Cat’s journey demonstrates that there is always hope, Ms. Coyne doesn’t sugar-coat the reality of the path victims of abuse must walk in order to live as functional adults. As I closed the book, it was with a sense of hope for Cat’s future and the future of her family.

5 out of 5 stars

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15 Responses to Book Review: The Last Bridge by Teri Coyne

  1. Wow, this book sounds great! Thanks for the review!

  2. Kathy says:

    You are fast! I got this last week from LT Early Reviewers. After your review, I can’t wait to read it.

  3. CarrieK
    Twitter: booksandmovies
    says:

    Joy – it was!

    OR – you’re welcome – thanks for stopping by. :)

    Kathy – It’s a quick read -only 225 pages.

  4. Deanna says:

    This does sound like a good book. The first sentence does leave me wanting to know more. The quote from her mom has me thinking…what?
    I am going to put this on my TBR list.
    Thanks for review.

  5. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread
    says:

    Yowza. So I think this probably lives up to my expectations based on the blurb. I think I’ve read about every monstrosity, so I could probably handle it. I am very proud of the fact it is the author’s first novel. Good for her! I must read this!

  6. CarrieK
    Twitter: booksandmovies
    says:

    Deanna – great first sentence, isn’t it?

    Sandy – yep, it definitely lived up to mine!

  7. Ladytink_534 says:

    Wow, what an opening!

  8. CarrieK
    Twitter: booksandmovies
    says:

    Ladytink – I love great opening lines!

  9. Wow, on second thought, I’m not sure I could deal with this book. How graphically is the abuse described?

  10. CarrieK
    Twitter: booksandmovies
    says:

    Avis – it isn’t graphically described. My mom is very squeamish about stuff like that, and she read it and thought it was very good.

  11. OK, sold! This one’s going on my list too! Thank you, Carrie!

  12. Pingback: Recent Arrivals: The Last Bridge by Teri Coyne - Today, I Read…

  13. KKPeterson says:

    i just finished reading this book and im absolutly in love with it. I usualy have a hard time making time to read books but this one i couldnt put down for two seconds i was addicted and HAD to know what was going to happen.

  14. Glenda Ferguson says:

    Terrific book. The mix of humor in the face of the serious subject matter is amazing. I was not surprised at all when I read that the Coyne had worked as a comedian.

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