Randy Susan Meyers, a Jamaica Plain resident, delves into her personal experience for her third novel, “Accidents of Marriage,” in which she explores the realm of an abusive marriage and how it affects a family. The book, which is set in JP, will be released Sept. 2.
“This novel carries pieces from the work I did with batterers; from being a bartender in Mission Hill; from friends and family; and from the worst pieces of my own life,” Meyers said in an email to the Gazette.
Meyers previously worked as assistant director of a JP battering intervention program.
She said that many marriages are “marred by giving in to rage” where the husband or wife—sometimes both—emotionally explode with the other spouse biting their tongue. Meyers said that “in too many cases, this paradigm becomes the norm, and families become hostages of temper.”
“I’ve been in relationships like this, at times staying much too long,” she said. “After I began working with batterers, I began to question my own choices and face my own truths. All of this went into my inspiration mix [for the book].”
The novel’s characters include Madeline, her husband Ben and their three children. Ben, a handsome public prosecutor, is prone to fits of rage, while Madeline wavers between “tiptoeing around him and asserting herself for the sake of their three children,” said Meyers. She said that the family lives in a house in JP and that neighborhood readers will recognize such landmarks as the Jamaicaway and J.P. Licks.
A rainy drive to work finally breaks the proverbial camel’s back and sends Madeline to the hospital in dire circumstances, according to Meyers. The novel traces how the situation arises and the affect it has on the family.
Meyers said she hopes firstly that readers find the book to be a “great” page-turner, but also that her “obsessions and passions” came across.
“What am I ardent about? Folks feeling safe in their homes and children not bearing the sins of their parents,” she said. “I also think we need to examine our obsessions—recognizing how an obsessive love might in fact point to a bad end. We all go through beginnings of glitter, but it’s the guy who brings you chicken soup that will nourish you through a lifetime.”
Meyers said she loves exploring how people do or don’t face the truth and that every person has the capacity to change their circumstances.
“Ultimately, the bravery of facing the worst in our lives is the only way to take the path to a better place,” she said.
Meyers’ previous novels include “The Murderer’s Daughters,” published in 2008, and “The Comfort of Lies,” published last year. “Accidents of Marriage” is published by Atria Books.
For more information, visit randysusanmeyers.com.