Scar Jewelry, the story of a family with secrets, unfolds in the style of a mystery.
What do we really know about our parents or the ways they shape us? For twins Deirdre and Langston, 20, the answer is: not enough. Their father died before they were born and now, when a car crash puts their mother in a coma, the siblings suddenly realize they don't even know whom to notify. They’ve never questioned how little they know about their mother. Like many offspring, they assume there's not much to know.
It’s been a rough year for narrator Deirdre, who has stalled out after personal setbacks she won't discuss - not even with Langston - and who fears she is just like their mother, a woodwork dweller. Langston never faces such worries. Her twin in name only, his style and talents have launched him across the continent into a top university and flourishing social life - all of which he will compromise as they unravel their mother’s past.
As Deirdre and Langston question friends and acquaintances, snoop, and hack emails, a portrait emerges that barely resembles the mother they know. For starters, they discover that their father died four years *after* their birth. Why manufacture such a lie? Proliferating questions and unsettling answers await them before they finally learn why. As they come to understand choices their mother made that swerved their life paths as well as hers, they must ultimately reconsider their mother, their memories, and themselves.
Set in the present and in the early days of punk, this work of literary fiction has elements of mystery, psychology, family drama, and rites of passage across two generations, in a setting that vividly evokes southern California, then and now.
Concert stage, dark except for a deep blue spotlight. Singer drops to one knee and his narration evolves from murmur to rant. "This is the story of a man who got what he wanted but he lost what he had. He got what he wanted but he lost what he had. He got –"
It goes on forever. It's mesmerizing. Uncomfortable. Confessional.
Pretty sure this memory is from the time I saw James Brown, decades ago, but the lost identity of the singer isn't the point.
I've spent my life gazing across some fence or other, admiring greener grass over yonder. I've acted on so many impulses to jump the fence. No complaints, but it has sure taken me a long time to appreciate where I'm standing right now. And nowadays that blue spotlight chant fills my head whenever I contemplate a new jump.
Sometimes I jump back.
I was a low–budget television producer until I wrote a psychological thriller, Was It A Rat I Saw, which Bantam–Doubleday–Dell published in hardcover in 1992. Soon after that I became the mother of twins, jumped into graduate school, and became a disaster scientist. I dabbled in academia, government research, and consulting.
I stopped writing fiction for nearly two decades, until I noticed how much I missed it. I resumed writing novels with the literary fiction Scar Jewelry about a family with secrets that start in the era of Los Angeles punk and persist for decades; then began the speculative detective quartet FRAMES, with Nica of Los Angeles and Nica of the New Yorks. Also in progress is a 9-novella, young adult paranormal horror romance, DDsE.
Funny. Back in the day, I had a single book idea at a time. Now I'm flooded with them, can't keep up with them, though I write just about every day.
I live in southern California. I had to leave for five years to confirm this is where I belong. I live with multiple cats, comfortably close to my twins and granddaughter. Like my life paths, my friends and family are all over the damn place. I like to visit them, spend time at the ocean, explore cities, and go out to hear live music.
This novel has a Spotify playlist: follow scperryz or go to http://open.spotify.com/user/scperryz/playlist/5515fvDrOfhpwBqYye4atP.
A few excerpts from reader reviews:
The story was deep, yet lighthearted; it made me smile and it made me think (and it made me really wish that I had been around for the music - those shows sounded awesome!).
Scar Jewelry is a great read. I was genuinely sorry to reach the last page, the mark of a good story.
Deirdre and Langston especially, were fleshed out to the extent you could easily believe them to be real people.
... just the kind of book I like, fast-paced and realistic, with credible, fully developed characters.
A real page turner to see what each new twist or turn will hold. Makes one wonder how well do we know our parents/loved ones?
It is rare for a novel to stand out as a true original, but this one does. The quest for identity is not a new theme, but the way Perry handles it in this book is different than anything I have read before.
Those who have spent time in Southern California will enjoy the poignant sense of place that comes through as the backdrop (and bedrock) for the main character's journey of discovery.
Loved this book. It certainly was an emotional read. Definitely was a page-turner.