Wow. This is perhaps one of the best books about identity and race that I’ve ever read. Ginny is half Haitian, half Welsh and lives in a small, isolated village where the overwhelming majority of the population is white. She experiences a steady stream of racism and feels trapped in a grey area between black and white. As a mixed woman I found myself relating to Ginny on a deeply personal level, having gone through the very same struggles in my youth.
“I don’t know where I belong, so I’m free. No one’s got a hold on me.”
The first half of the book is admittedly slow, it took a while for me to really get into it. The writing was good, exceptionally so, but the plot felt lost. I realized why this was once the story really got rolling: the plot seemed lost because Ginny herself feels lost as she searched for her place in the world. To cope Ginny creates her own world through art, but even in the world of painting she finds herself dealing with questions of race.
The second most important aspect of the story deals with familial relationships. The struggles between husband and wife, the bond between parent and child, the companionship between siblings, and the blurry line between friends and lovers. The relationships in this small town are complicated, the people are complex and incredibly flawed. The characters are constantly challenged to face their mistakes, to learn to forgive themselves and to forgive others, and to begin rebuilding the broken bridges between family. This book is an absolute treasure.
Title: The Broken Bridge
Author: Philip Pullman
Publisher: Open Road Media
Publication Date: 1990
The Broken Bridge is the tale of Ginny, a sixteen-year-old half-Haitian girl living with her father in a small seaside village in Wales. She’s becoming a brilliant artist, just like her mother, who died when Ginny was a baby. Despite the isolation she sometimes feels, her life is turning out OK. Then her social worker cracks open her files and her world falls apart.
Ginny’s father has kept a devastating secret from her all her life. In fact, everything she thought she knew about her family and her identity is a lie. And now, to find out who she really is, Ginny must relive the dark tragedies in her past.