Life With One Eye Open by Pepper Carlson

Life With One Eye Open

An Angel Guided Tale
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A fictionalized memoir of an abusive childhood and troubled early adulthood.

From the afterlife, an unborn twin narrates Carlson’s (The Butterfly Papers Vol. 1, 2013) novel, recounting the living twin’s life, which is fraught with difficulty. The unusual narrative includes no character names, instead using various nicknames to identify each character. The protagonist is known as “my Doppelganger Twin,” her mother is “Young Girl,” and her father is “The Street Kid.” Though never born, the narrator has always been with her twin, and with the help of archangels, she has looked out for and protected her. In the twin’s earliest years, when she is ignored by her mother, she repeatedly witnesses the physical abuse her mother suffered at the hands of her inebriated father. Later on, the twin is shipped off to California to live with her aunt, a schizophrenic singer who might be the girl’s real mother. The twin is raped by a serial rapist when she and her friend accept a ride from the stranger. Not long after this, she moves to Las Vegas to live with the father she hasn’t seen in years. Though he at first seems to have changed for the better, he soon begins to touch her inappropriately and then violently beats her, as he did her mother all those years ago. Through her late teens and young adulthood, the twin finds herself again and again getting into toxic, abusive relationships. Only later does she gain some understanding of her past mistakes and her own self-worth. All along, she has the protection of the archangels and a fondness for poetry that seems to be bound with her angelic guardians. The book’s brevity, combined with the narrator’s somewhat distant tone, results in a narrative that’s short on depth. However, the selections of poetry that close each chapter offer a more personal tone. Readers may find inspiration in this story, though, it should be noted, the bulk of the book focuses on negative experiences, with the positive changes touched on only briefly at the end.

A sobering, strange story that finds light in the misery.

Pub Date: July 1st, 2014
Page count: 77pp
Publisher: Tate Publishing
Program: Kirkus Indie
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