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Synopsis:

Logan Pyle’s life is falling apart. It has been just four months since his father, Gus, died after an agonizing four-year illness. Bennie, Logan’s stepmother, has moved out of the family home, but Logan remains with his wife, Julie, and their four-year-old son, Owen. The home is filled with memories, but the Pyles are making few new ones these days. Julie, an attorney, is a workaholic, consumed with a big case she is litigating with Gus’s partner. Logan is a stay-at-home dad, but also owns a sporting goods shop on land left to him by Gus. Bob, Logan’s best friend, oversees the store’s daily operations, but business is very slow, inventory is piling up, and Logan is resisting an attractive offer to sell the land.

As for little Owen, he seems to have regressed in the days since Gus’s death. He insists he is baby and strives to prove it by sucking his thumb, demanding to be carried, and asking to drink from a bottle. Owen lacks the athletic prowess Logan enjoyed, and that frustrates Logan, as well. He watches Owen struggle with his swimming lessons and wonders why the sport does not come as easily to his son as it did to him.

Logan snaps under the weight of all the stressors in his life. Will he be able to salvage the life he has built with Julie and Owen?

Review:

Author
In the hands of a talented author, the story of ordinary people reacting to extraordinary circumstances can be both fascinating and illuminating. is just such a story.

With Logan Pyle, author Emily Jeanne Miller introduces readers to a quintessential “everyman” with whom they can readily identify. Logan is somewhat hapless, but endearing in his owned flawed way. He was working on his doctoral thesis when he returned home for a visit and met Julie, the hotshot new lawyer working in his father’s firm. Their attraction to each other was instantaneous and reckless. Before long, Logan found himself back at home in Montana, his doctorate on hold, marrying Julie and creating a life with her and the brand new little human being they unintentionally created, Owen.

The fledgling little family never had a opportunity to settle into a comfortable routine before Gus’s final illness was diagnosed. The grueling responsibilities of caring for Gus, helpless to stop his physical decline, further complicated Logan’s complicated relationship with his stepmother, Bennie, a woman just five years his senior whom Gus married when Logan was just seventeen years old. And in the few short months since Gus’s death, Logan has found himself coping with financial pressures, as well as his feelings about the manner in which Gus distributed his assets and the offer he has received for the land Gus left him.

In Brand New Human Being the focus is squarely on Logan, his struggles, and his relationships with four people most important to him: Julie, Owen, Bennie, and, of course, Gus, who looms large in Logan’s consciousness and decision-making even in death. Gus is portrayed as a force of nature — the kind of man who commanded an audience just by walking into a room — from whom Logan sought and needed approval. Gus was not without his faults — his failure to appreciate the awkward relationship between Logan and Bennie perhaps chief among them. But he loved his son unconditionally and was indisputably Logan’s compass. Miller deftly employs a classic literary conundrum — a young man grieving the death of and adrift without the strong guiding hand of a beloved father — to maximum advantage.

Miller’s female characters are equally compelling, although readers get to know Bennie better than Julie. And that is appropriate given that it is Logan’s complicated feelings about Bennie that have, to some degree, overshadowed and informed his tenuous marital relationship. The most heart-tugging of all is little Owen, who is perceptive, observant, and so vulnerable. Logan, like Gus, loves his son and only wants the best for him, but like any first-time parent, just isn’t sure that he is doing a good job with the boy. He sees every flaw in Owen as both a reflection and rejection of himself, and finds it difficult to simply let Owen be Owen.

Because Miller has expertly set the stage, when Logan’s meltdown occurs it is both believable and heart-wrenching. His behavior is both predictable and somewhat surprising, but reads like an authentic reaction to one stress too many, and at that point the book’s pace quickens appropriately. The obvious questions about the Pyle family’s future propel the action forward as Logan makes a serious of bad decisions, culminating in a catastrophic event.

Brand New Human Being is a beautifully crafted tale about growing up and allowing grief to provide perspective on both one’s past and future. It is the story of a young man who learns how to be a family man and appreciate all that entails. By the end of the book, Logan Pyle is a brand new human being and readers will feel a bit brand new themselves for having experienced his journey with him.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one copy of Brand New Human Being free of charge from the author in conjunction with TLC Book Tours review and virtual book tour program. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own. This disclosure complies with 16 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

12 Comments

  1. Dealing with illness and the aftermath. Of death the estate. Emotions.

  2. Teresa Lukey

    🙄 I like that Logan is a stay-at-home dad. My husband was laid off 3 months before our first child was born and he was able to stay home with him for the first 18 months. I really see what a wonderful ting this was for him and our son and would like to know what Logan thinks he’s doing wrong with his son.

  3. I love reading stories from a male pov. Men react differently than women in most situations and it’s nice to read from their perspective for a change. 😉 I also enjoy books that evoke strong emotions, and this one certainly sounds like it does just that!

  4. Anita Yancey

    I like that Logan can still be a stay at home dad, while owning a sporting goods shop. Sounds like an interesting book. Thanks for having this giveaway.

  5. The aspect of Logan’s personality that I find the most striking is captured by the reviewer who states: “He sees every flaw in Owen as both a reflection and rejection of himself…” Isn’t that one of the most rewarding and at the same time difficult jobs of being a parent for all of us. No matter how unique Logan’s situation he still shares common ground with parents everywhere.

  6. Sue Hull

    I’d have to say when Logan has his meltdown because it seems he moved to fast as far as marriage and having a child goes.Then his dad dies and Logan loses it. I can’t wait to read this book.Thanks for the giveaway!

  7. the death of his father. I haven’t experienced it (thank God) but many of my friends have.

  8. The stay-at-home dad part sounds interesting since there aren’t a lot of these types of characters in books.

  9. Live events make him make life choices. Something that happens to most of us.

  10. The relationship with his Stepmother sounds interesting.

  11. Pingback: Emily Jeanne Miller, author of Brand New Human Being, on tour June/July 2012 | TLC Book Tours

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