Book Jacket

 

rank 5905
word count 68142
date submitted 07.09.2008
date updated 09.05.2009
genres: Literary Fiction, Chick Lit, Popula...
classification: moderate
incomplete

The Family Life of Brenda Greene

Jill Fuller

Brenda murders the priest who molested both her brother and her son. Chat show host, Liza, champions her cause. What can possibly happen next?

 

It is often said that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. In this complex story of love and revenge, we follow the story of Brenda Dillon, a teenager in 1950’s Britain who becomes one of the most notorious killers of the 1990’s. Given electric shock treatment when she was seventeen, it is hardly surprising that Brenda has forgotten what she heard. But when her own adolescent son, Terry, is molested by the same parish priest who interfered with her brother, her memories come flooding back. With disastrous results.

The case is picked up by ambitious chat show host, Liza Innes, whose own brother committed suicide after being abused for years by a parish priest. Liza plans a show about abuse that features Brenda’s story. The tide suddenly turns. The outpouring of public sympathy has the most unexpected result when Brenda is sentenced and Terry becomes the figurehead of a new campaign to encourage the victims of abuse to speak out.

It seems that Nigel’s death has been avenged. But has Brenda truly shaken off the shackles of the past? Or will history repeat itself, yet again?

 
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tags

"electric shock treatment", abuse, amazon.com, chat-show, christchurch, co-dependence, cover up, crime scene, dementia, dysfunctional, family, freedom...

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89 comments

 

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Lynne wrote 2017 days ago

Dear Brenda. Wow, I think you have a winner here. I'm going to take you off my watchlist and put you on my bookshelf. Good luck

FaithB wrote 2017 days ago

This is completely engrossing - about to commence on ch 8! I second islandexhale - a phenomenal read. Congrats on a first-rate piece of writing. Your characterisation is superb and you are on my bookshelf.
Good luck! Faith

nellfull wrote 2038 days ago

what an amazing start to what seems to be a book filled with lots of twists and turns...JUST my thing :) has me gripped already...want MOREEE!!!

islandexhale wrote 2039 days ago

Jill, I can't believe I have just sat and read every chapter you have put up. I started around 5:00 am and have just finished. What a phenomenal read! I am so impressed with your style, and your handling of such sensitive subject matter in such a compelling manner. Congratulations on such amazing work. Definitely on my bookshelf.

Splinker wrote 1441 days ago

Backed
Splinker
B.D.S.T.

Colin Normanshaw wrote 1495 days ago

You have a good story here, but for me there is too much chopping and chaging around early on. A little more information before switching narrative would help keep the reader engaged. But you tell this weel, withgreat characterisation and good dialogue. Backed. Colin

Nick Poole2 wrote 1517 days ago

ARISE, AUTHONOMY GHOST!

Ease those weary, withered limbs from your coffin. Push away the stone from the mouth of the tomb.

You have one last task to perform. One last, sacred shelf to confer.

Whether you were plugger, spammer, gusher or troll, whether you flirted or fought in the forum or beavered away in the shadows, now is the time for your resurrection.

One last time. Marshall your strength, muster the last vestiges of your power and carry out your final Authonomy act:

Back my book, MIRROR IN THE SKY.

Then, only then, you may rest easy in your Authonomy grave.

Nick Poole2 (formerly known as NickP)

Clare Hill wrote 1525 days ago

Oh my God, this is disturbing. I wouldn't personally read it as I find the subject too difficult, but it is well written and your characterisation is superb. Backed.

libertyful wrote 1561 days ago

I shelved this because I think your opening is simply astounding. You have taken a controversial issue, put it to pen and paper and come up with a novel which is enticing and well plotted. I think this is a work that really does pin down the feel of modern Britain, from the manipulation of the media to the interest in the 'ethics' and 'morals' of crime. I would have liked to have seen more addressing of the central issue raised by the book, quite simply do two wrongs equal a right? But all in all, you have made this Brenda's story, and so have formulated the book from her perspective. A bit of editorial work will do wonders for this, but I am happy to shelve at this time and hope to see more comments by other Authonomites. All the best. L.x



Thank you, Lawson! It's so long since I wrote "Brenda" (which I certainly enjoyed doing at the time) that I had almost forgotten about her! Getting this comment is a wonderful start to my morning!! Going over to have a look at your page now...

LawsonBlacklock wrote 1561 days ago

I shelved this because I think your opening is simply astounding. You have taken a controversial issue, put it to pen and paper and come up with a novel which is enticing and well plotted. I think this is a work that really does pin down the feel of modern Britain, from the manipulation of the media to the interest in the 'ethics' and 'morals' of crime. I would have liked to have seen more addressing of the central issue raised by the book, quite simply do two wrongs equal a right? But all in all, you have made this Brenda's story, and so have formulated the book from her perspective. A bit of editorial work will do wonders for this, but I am happy to shelve at this time and hope to see more comments by other Authonomites. All the best. L.x

Ayrich wrote 1643 days ago

Touchy subject handled very well. Shelved.

Batwidow wrote 1765 days ago

Hi Jill
Just had a little read of this - pretty compelling stuff! Shelved.

libertyful wrote 1803 days ago

Liberty, I see you are on Amazon. Good luck with your endeavours. As far as I can tell, having read your first two chapters you need no advice from me. Except....

Your pitch is displayed as one long blurb. Dividing it into three of four short chapters would make it more appealing, and easier to read.



.... your wish is my command!... thanks so much for that suggestion.. and for giving Brenda a read... going over to your page now...

libertyful wrote 1828 days ago

I like the first chapter. It needed a little concentration to keep pace with the changing settings but it worked.
Wishing you every success.
Backed
Rona
x


thanks so much Rona... haven't been on authonomy for months...my eyes were falling out!! I will have to get back to it. More later...

AnnabelleP wrote 1829 days ago

I was completely drawn in by this. A powerful and emotional story. Your characters are so true to life, this is a gripping read. I have no nit-picks, but then I tend to leave those to the beeter qualified ;-) Really very good and already on my shelf.
Best wishes,
Annabelle
(Would love your thoughts on Adelaide if you can ;-))

Name failed moderation wrote 1830 days ago

I like the first chapter. It needed a little concentration to keep pace with the changing settings but it worked.
Wishing you every success.
Backed
Rona
x

libertyful wrote 1982 days ago

hey ali and peter - i just can't squeeze a reading minute at present... will keep aiming for later today - thank you both soo much for your support.. jill

Ali Cooper wrote 1983 days ago

Jill I didn't realise this was you. that's the problem with user names. I've just read into the 2nd chapter and I love it. I think the opening, beginning with the tv show is so clever. very up to date and immediate. it somehow places the past, makes us realise that what happened wasn't that long ago. I remember horror stories of ect when I was a kid. I used to fear it would happen to me because I had panic attacks. this is very real and gripping. it will be interesting to see what the younger readers make of it. I want to read more when I have a bit more leisure time (I work the first half of the week. Ali.

Ali Cooper wrote 1983 days ago

Hi Jill, watchlisting this for later. Ali.

msaraann wrote 1987 days ago

Hi Jill. I'm adding this to my watchlist.

Lynne wrote 1995 days ago

Dear Brenda, Just a note to say congratulations on the birth of your first grandchild. Thank you for your comments and support. Lynne

Lynne wrote 2001 days ago

Dear Jill. Just wanted you to know that I haven't deserted you. I come back whenever I have time to read another chapter and am still enjoying the story. You are a born storyteller.

libertyful wrote 2017 days ago

Hi FaithB - Thank you so much for your enthusiastic support - greatly appreciated! Any further comments (positive or negative) would be welcome.

FaithB wrote 2017 days ago

This is completely engrossing - about to commence on ch 8! I second islandexhale - a phenomenal read. Congrats on a first-rate piece of writing. Your characterisation is superb and you are on my bookshelf.
Good luck! Faith

FaithB wrote 2017 days ago

Hello Libertyful! I was uplifted to received your comment on my patch - it's so good to find someone on the same wavelength who obviously gets the gist of what I'm trying to convey. I now intend to tuck into yours, it being another boring day in the office. Stand by for more comments and thank you very much for yours.
Very best wishes, Faith

libertyful wrote 2017 days ago

oh lynne, thanks so much for my promotion! what a difference a day makes!! I'll be back to BB by tomorrow. thanks again for your enthusiastic support.

Lynne wrote 2017 days ago

Dear Brenda. Wow, I think you have a winner here. I'm going to take you off my watchlist and put you on my bookshelf. Good luck

libertyful wrote 2017 days ago

Hi Reg/Chris - Yes, I saw that you had reached no 1 on the other site - congratulations! I hope you get a proper publishing deal now... and thanks so much for watchlisitng Brenda! When/if you ever have time, I would greatly appreciate your feedback. Thanks again for stopping by!

Reg Plate wrote 2018 days ago

Hi Jill,

Thanks for commenting on Welsh, Not. I have been struggling to keep up with comments recently, due to being on two sites simultaneously. I just finished in the No.1 slot on the other site and have been inundated with well-wishes, crits to do, and have to write several versions of a synopsis to be sent out to a Lit Agent/Editor and to Random House.

I've added FLoBG to my watchlist and will try and get around to reading ASAP.

Best Wishes, Reg/Chris

libertyful wrote 2019 days ago

Hello Lynne - Thanks so much for watchlisting Brenda and do feel free to comment as you read on. I am really appreciating some of the thoughtful feedback on this site and I am sure you will too.

Hi Scarlett - Thanks for trying 'Brenda' and I'm so glad you are still rooting for 'Dogs'... DK is the answer to your question (though i had sore eyes for a couple of days and couldn't spend much time reading on the computer... I think if you are not constantly commenting on other people's work, you just kinda stagnate... ) anyhoos - i appreciate all your support! thanks a lot and i hope you are having a great weekend!

Hello Katharine - Thanks so much for your thoughtful and constuctive comments.. I'll go back and take them all on board when i get around to a second draft .. much appreciated .. thanks again and good luck with Map Reading.. I shall be getting over there at some point during the weekend.

KR wrote 2019 days ago

Hi Jill
You have a great plot idea here and interesting characters. You write well. However, is this an early draft? I have some minor quibbles and some more major ones which came up as I was reading your first couple of chapters and hope you won't mind me mentioning them.
In the opening of chapter one I wasn't sure if I was meant to be picturing the scene as if I was in the studio or watching this on TV. It seemed a mix of both, although maybe the studio audience can see screens of what the cameras are doing (the panning in and out) too? Might be worth getting it straight in your head and reviewing to make sure you're happy.
I liked the idea of the one sided phone call dialogue, but it was a dry read when some supporting action might lift it.
Word echo of mottled in the morgue scene then the girl swinging on the door.
I think this was set in England, so the US 'diapers' was out of place to my eye.
The switch in point of view to the kids' mum in the end of the section about the brother and sister being close jarred a little. Same for the switch from Nigel to Brenda at the start of chapter two. I just thought that as each of your sections are so short, it might work better to stay in one POV through them.
There's quite a lot of 'telling' as you get the back story out of the way. It's an interesting story, but I think you could either show us more, or save it for flashback scenes later on.
I really do think this is a great story, you just need to smooth out the telling of it a little.
Good luck
K

Scarlett wrote 2019 days ago

Hi Jill,

'Brenda fell in love as she fell from grace' I could tell from the start it would be achingly sad. I struggle with anything to do with child abuse and injustice but you made the story so engaging I couldn't help being drawn in. You have a wonderful skill for storytelling, characterisation and dialogue and the story has a strong sense of time and place. Looks like I'll be finding room on my shelf for another of your books. By the way, I'm still rooting for Lay With Dogs, why isn't it higher up?

Lynne wrote 2019 days ago

Dear Jill,
Thank you for your very encouraging comments on B.B. Thought I would return the compliment and have read the first chapter of your book. I am well and truly hooked. As soon as time allows I will be back for more and in the meantime am adding you to my watchlist.

libertyful wrote 2021 days ago

woohoo, Liz - what a great start to my day! thanks so much for shelving Brenda - i just completed the first draft a day or two ago and even i was surprised by the twist in the tail! funny how sometimes these stories just seem to write themselves. if you have time to read on, any comments at all would be greatly appreciated. thanks again - jill

libertyful wrote 2021 days ago

Hi frenchbob - good morning and thankyou so much for the shelf space... Jo Carroll was the first to raise questions about this... and I thought long and hard about it. i even started a thread, having read Heather Richardson's 'Perfection' and not minded at all that actually it couldn't/wouldn't happen.. if you have time, please check http://www.authonomy.com/Forum/Posts.aspx?threadId=1478 to see some interesting views... perhaps in some future draft i will have to create a new location for the story... or else ditch the tv prog altogether - what is it they say... kill your poodles and murder your darlings..?!

frenchbob wrote 2021 days ago

Instant bookshelf! The opening scenes are riveting! But Is this taking place in the US? Where would this opening TV link/interview be allowed?

libertyful wrote 2024 days ago

Hello Kay - what a small world we all live in these days. Pls give me a ring if you are going to be in my neck of the woods (contact details on website).. Another coincidence for you: Herman Wouk stayed in a small hotel about 100 yards from my house whilst writing 'dont stop the carnival' - the hotelier character was based on my pa in law! can't wait to get to annacara - on my must do's for tomorrow! all best wishes - jill

Kaychristina wrote 2024 days ago

Hi Jill! (Libertyful), just wanted to say I've watchlisted this one - looks fascinating. In fact both your books here do, so I have a bit of catching up!

Thank you so much for your kind words and watchlisting for my "Annacara". It means a lot.

I see you live in Antigua/Barbuda - I know it well! My friend has a house there at Jolly Harbour, and how I wish I was there now! (I miss the view of Sleeping Indian Hill terribly - in fact I've named another book of mine after him! I don't know if you know it - it's the hill overlooking the harbour, shaped like an American Indian Chief in repose... I think I was meant to have that house. Hmph)!

Talk soon I hope, from Kay

libertyful wrote 2024 days ago

Hi Liam - i actually finished the first draft of brenda half an hour ago! yeah!!! i'll be interested to have your comments whenever you have time. thanks for keeping in touch!

LMJT wrote 2024 days ago

Hi Jill, I’m so sorry I haven’t looked at your book yet. But I will do so as soon as I can. The pitch is great.

Liam

libertyful wrote 2025 days ago

Hi David - welcome to authonomy - i have left a comment for you over on Nine Dragon Town and will be back. Thanks for finding 'Brenda'. There are some great books on here, and like most of us, you will probably end up with anthonomitis - a syndrome involving very sore eyes, anxiety about procrastination (with one's own work) and swollen ankles from sitting too long in the same position!! good luck with your book and look out for my comments!...

David B wrote 2025 days ago

I agree with past comments, scene in dunes very shocking and can be imagined in reader's own mind.

libertyful wrote 2029 days ago

Dear Sheilab - thank you for your time in reading and commenting on 'Brenda'. I have just put up another chunk for you!

Sheilab wrote 2029 days ago

hi Jill
thanks for replying to my query below. Loved this and backed it - you really deserve to do well with this!
Sheila

libertyful wrote 2029 days ago

Thank you for that feedback, Ianb. It's invaluable having other writers read the stories..I'll take another look!

IanB wrote 2029 days ago

The start is certainly intriguing, I’d watch the repetitions (large armchair, large screen) and try to find an alternative to “panned” which started to grate after a few times. I was a bit thrown by the dialogue after the scene shift too, I think I’d be tempted to lose that and go straight to “Brenda dropped the receiver…”

Having said all of that, the characters are strong and what could be awkward material is sensitively handled. Well done.

libertyful wrote 2030 days ago

@James E - I have changed ch 1 a bit, following on from your suggestions and reformatted the phone call. I hope it works better for you now. Thanks again for the feedback!

Eggowen wrote 2030 days ago

Hi again Jill - Still reading and enjoying. As someone else touched upon, the pace is very fast but it retains its clarity throughout. I look forward to reading more - and giving a more detailed appraisal. All the best, Martyn :-))

libertyful wrote 2031 days ago

hi islandexhale - i didn't even toy with that idea!! and there are a few more twists and turns to entertain you yet, before the final denouement....

islandexhale wrote 2031 days ago

Another great chapter. Glad to see you are exploring the resultant traumas that your two main characters have to deal with and not just made it another 'happily ever after.'

islandexhale wrote 2031 days ago

Just finished chapter 15. Interesting points from Jo Carroll but that does not detract from a riveting read.

libertyful wrote 2032 days ago

Hey Lucy - Thanks for stopping by... Hope you can squeeze enought time to read on during the week.

lucyandrob wrote 2032 days ago

I should be doing some study but I its hard to stop reading, cant wait till I have some more time to finish it, thanks again Jill, Lucy

libertyful wrote 2032 days ago

Hi James, - thanks for taking the time to read and comment on 'Brenda'... much appreciated. I will delete one of the verys and have another look at the dialogue in the tv show... but i defend the one sided telephone conversation - difficult to write it any other way - unless you think punctuation could help in some way..? if you've time to send me more thoughts as you read on, i would be really pleased.. thanks again!

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