A False Sense of Well Being
Jeanne Braselton
book reviews:
· general fiction
· chick lit/romance
· sci-fi/fantasy
· graphic novels
· nonfiction
· audio books

Click here for the curledup.com RSS Feed

· author interviews
· children's books @
· DVD reviews @

win books
buy online


for authors
& publishers

for reviewers

click here to learn more

Buy *A False Sense of Well Being* online

A False Sense of Well Being

Jeanne Braselton
368 pages
October 2002
rated 2 of 5 possible stars

previous review next review

Thirty-eight year old Jessie Maddox is leading a comfortably elite life in Glenville, Georgia, with a steady, respectable, but thoroughly boring husband, Turner, who’s a small-town banker going about his life quietly and diligently, never fully understanding what is going on with his wife. The only fly in the ointment is that she herself is not happy in this somewhat envious lifestyle. She’d thrilling fantasies about a married and affluent lifestyle completely different from the one she grew up with, but to her bad luck, they never fully materialize. She keeps longing for that elusive "something more" but doesn’t quite know what that is or how to find it. A string of miscarriages has left her with little optimism, and her predictable married life has left her dispirited. She fantasizes, in various creative ways, on a very macabre subject, viz her husband’s demise. Is this a full-blown mid-life crisis, or is it symptomatic of something more serious?

At the Glenville Wellness Center where she works, Jessie meets and is simultaneously appalled and awed by a woman named Wendy who calmly murdered her husband of many years. Her neighbor Donna, who’s happy planning and having affairs, is unconcerned about her husband or children. Desperate for a break, Jessie heads back to her parents' home. There readers meet her mother, a zealous Christian who attends a Church where they speak in tongues and enthusiastically puts crudely printed inspirational tracts under the windshield wipers of parked cars; her father, a quiet man who runs a Stop and Shoppe convenience store; her sister, Ellen who loves to hate matrimony and others – a typical dysfunctional and discontented family, in short. Home, for Jessie, is a paradox - a place she both loves and hates, and she’s not found her niche in either her parents' home or her married life.

A False Sense of Well-Being is Jeanne Braselton’s debut effort, a Southern fiction characterized by black humor. It’s a testament to marriages everywhere, in which people generally enter into with great expectations that never fully materialize and disintegrate into strained truces. Told from an almost entirely feminine point of view, the book naturally has many women in it in addition to the central character of Jessie, and it prominently brings to light the various ways in which each of these women cope with the tedium that their marriage has turned into. Jessie, who’s unable to accept that her own marriage is going the drain, turns from woman to woman seeking answers to the numerous doubts that plague her. But instead of finding answers, she is only left more confused. The book ends ambiguously; nothing is settled at the end, leaving readers to their own interpretation. Small town life and suburbia come to life in Braselton’s capable and descriptive words. The story is no doubt very original and creative, but the nonstop oscillating progression of the story may leave its readers a bit seasick and dazed. Interesting but not very alluring.

[Editor's note: Author Jeanne Braselton was found dead in her Rome residence in early April 2003. Braselton's novel A False Sense of Well Being, about a woman who can't stop envisioning her husband's death, was well-received, earning her the title of 2002 Georgia Author of the Year. According to her agent and friends, she had signed a two-book, six-figure deal with Ballantine, and was three chapters short of completing that second novel. The death, an apparent suicide, is under investigation. According to a friend, Braselton left a note citing her husband's death in 2002 as the reason for her suicide, and indicated that she wanted the novel to be completed.]

© 2003 by Rashmi Srinivas for Curled Up With a Good Book.

buy *A False Sense of Well Being* online
click here for more info
Click here to learn more about this month's sponsor!

fiction · sf/f · comic books · nonfiction · audio
newsletter · free book contest · buy books online
review index · links · · authors & publishers

site by ELBO Computing Resources, Inc.