Langley author’s latest offering a cautionary tale
Fast cars, the recklessness of youth and alcohol. It can be a deadly combination.
And even those lucky enough to survive a serious crash can find their lives Broken into Pieces.
That is both the premise and the title of Langley author Eleanor Ryan’s new novel.
Told in the first person from the perspective of a mother whose son survived a terrible wreck only to be left with spinal cord and brain injuries, the story is not Ryan’s — exactly.
But it’s not far from the author’s own experience.
Broken into Pieces is a fictionalized version of events from Ryan’s life, told with the blessing of her son ‘Ron’ who suffered serious, irreversible injuries in a car crash.
“If by telling my story, one kid is saved from making the same stupid mistakes I did, then it will be worth it,” Ron told his mother.
His story is basically this: A teenage boy has a drink or two, climbs into his sports car late at night during a winter storm and crashes, injuring his spinal cord and brain.
The aftermath of the accident is a downward spiral into drug addiction, from which he must recover.
For Ryan, the point of telling the story in a novelized form was that she wanted to underscore the universality of the issue.
“This could be anybody, anywhere. Where it happened, who it happened to doesn’t matter,” she said.
“That it still happens matters.
“I see young people out there, screaming around in their cars like my son used to do.”
Ryan will launch and sign copies of her book at the City of Langley library on Saturday, Oct. 20. Former Langley City fire chief and author Jim McGregor will provide opening remarks.
As an emergency first responder, McGregor has seen first hand, many times, the aftermath of bad choices.
Ryan’s book, he noted, picks up where his and his colleagues’ involvement leaves off — with the rest of a life that will never be the same as it was.
After the relief of learning your child has survived, said Ryan, “your first instinct is ‘OK, fix him.’
“But the person you knew never comes home again.”
There is a particular segment of the population she hopes to reach — risk-taking youths.
“I’d like to get this into secondary schools,” said the author.
“I wanted it to be readable so people would pick it up — parents and kids.”
Ryan will be joined by fellow Langley Writers Guild author Cora Goodyear, who will be releasing her own book, titled From Prison to Freedom.