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,
He isn’t who you think he is.
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