Presenting The Marriage of Kelli Anne & Gerri Denemer
I went into this book with high expectations; the author had approached me for a review with the description of a dark thriller about emotional instability and its impact on a failing marriage. As someone who graduated with a bachelor’s in psychology, I was immediately intrigued and felt bad that it’d taken me so long to answer this author’s review request. My apologies to all The Rebel Christian readers! I take WAY too long to get through queries but I’m working on it, I promise!
Since I was personally intrigued, not just for the sake of a review, I got to sit down and have a serious one-on-one with this piece and I’ve got to say; this is probably one of the most unique books I have ever come across. I’ll admit, the beginning was a little confusing. I felt like I kind of struggled to figure out what was going on and where the story was going, but once I got into the flow of the story—about 15 pages in—I was hooked. Alleva’s style of writing is complex and layered with a dark gravity that just weighs you down as you push through this emotional book. I mean every word of that last sentence as a compliment, by the way.
If you aren’t familiar with dark fiction or psychological thrillers, I would not recommend this book for you. In fact, I think it takes a certain amount of maturity and experience with psychological thrillers to fully appreciate this novel. Readers are given a front row seat to what happens when your dreams and your life crumbles like sand pouring between your fingers—right in front of you. Gerri feels like his life is falling apart but things take a turn for the worst when his wife encourages him to take a job far below his pay grade. His pride and ego put up quite a fight but its his inner-demons that take the spotlight in this thriller. Watch as a man deteriorates from the inside out, forcing readers to question the severity of illnesses such as depression and anxiety, and the impact it can have on the ones who suffer with them as well as those who live with these victims.
When it comes to mental and emotional instability, there’s usually a religious undertone to it for the simple fact that many people suffering from “hearing voices” usually claim to hear from God or the devil. So, I think having various religious elements in this book works really well without having to limit the book to a religious genre. I think its petty that some readers would complain about having religion in a book, (maybe just read something else if it bothers you so much?) especially when it is a legitimate and pivotal part of the story—not just something the author threw in because they suddenly wanted to include their faith 72 pages into the book. If you aren’t mature enough to recognize the role that religion can play in mental illness, whether positive or negative, then I’d suggest grabbing one of those generic YA thrillers floating around with a best-seller’s sticker slapped onto the front. You might be able to handle that.
Religion aside, Alleva pushes the limit in this book; darkness, voices, eerie discomfort, even suicide plays a role here, darkly lurking over the protagonist’s shoulder. The truth and the painful sadness of mental illness is laid bare before readers and the slow-going onset of it is what draws you in. I loved that we watched this character progressively become something that he wasn’t before; it added to that dark element that anyone can change. We all have the potential to fall to the dark place Gerri found himself in, its just a matter of our willpower, our support system, and—in many cases—our faith in Christ Jesus.
I really enjoyed this book and give my highest praise for the message and the excellent writing presented here. I wish other readers had the ability to see its greatness, beyond that, I hope that someone is able to learn from this book and perhaps help others who might be hurting.
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*