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By: Joyce Scarbrough
Reviewed by: Delores Jordan
L & L Dreamspell, 2009
$15.95, Paper

Joyce Scarbrough is the author of three books, True Blue Forever, Different Roads, and now this best of the three, Symmetry. One can see her skill as an author in the manner that she puts the reader into each scene and shows the dynamics of a marriage going sour but with both people truly loving each other.

Jess, her protagonist, is highly intelligent but confused as to what she really wants in life. Her husband is a sports writer and she is a copy editor for a small paper. The story opens when Jess calls Lee’s motel room and another woman answers the phone. Thus starts the trouble between the two.

Scarbrough peppers the story with Lee’s mispronunciation and misuse of words and Jess’s sarcastic correction of him. For example: “He set down his glass and leaned forward, ‘Well, they didn’t bite on the two-for-one deal I pitched, but since you said you didn’t want to work for them anyway, I didn’t sweat that. Plus, they told me they liked the hummus I demonstrated by asking.’ She bit her lip to keep from laughing, ‘I’m sure it was your hubris they liked, Lee, but go on.’”

In the midst of this humorous tale is a message to over three million people who suffer from the disease trichotillomania, the hair pulling disease. Both Jess and Joyce suffer from this malady, but neither in a major way. They pull their hair to keep it symmetrical, but neither do it enough for bald spots. Jess goes online and befriends a young girl named Cara that has it so bad that her dad calls her crazy.

Just as Jess convinces Cara that she is not crazy, Scarbrough convinces the reader that this illness is caused by a chemical imbalance and is treatable. It is not considered a mental illness but a physical affliction.

The bulk of the story is Lee’s trying to convince Jess that he’s innocent of infidelity and that he loves her very much. Each time he tries to prove his love, he once again proves to Jess that he thinks everything is about him and fails to recognize what Jess really needs in order to take him back.

Scarbrough does a great job of taking the reader from a point of disliking the antagonist to feeling sorry for him almost to the point of wondering what is going on with Jess.

I highly recommend reading this book. Readers will enjoy the sarcastic Jess, the bumbling hunk Lee, the overbearing mom Marjorie, the poetic male friend Noah and, last, the smarty-mouthed Jaycee. This book will have readers both laughing and thinking as it presents some daunting questions to answer. Jan 2010

Delores Jordan is the author of In and Out of Madness, written under the nom de plume N. L. Snowden.

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