Center of Gravity by Laura McNeill

Center of Gravity by Laura McNeill

I guess it’s fitting that this book is my 1000th review here on Goodreads. It’s a personal one so if you don’t like that kind of thing don’t read my review. I’m not attention whoring on it. This review is for me. I thought I had no triggers when reading, this book proved to me that I’m wrong.

Ava is married to Mitchell Carson. We see that he is a bit controlling over her when the book begins. She has a new baby (Sam) and has recently adopted Jack who is from a previous marriage of Mitchell’s. She knows that Mitchell doesn’t care as much for the new baby since he really wasn’t ready for a new child but she pushes onward. Even after Mitchell sends in her resignation to her job as a school guidance counselor.
They end up getting in a big argument over the fact that Ava can’t seem to do anything right. She doesn’t manage the couple of hundred dollars a month that he gives her for groceries, gas and other household duties, she spends too much time with the boys, so many things that she just doesn’t measure up with. She in a fit of anger asks if they need time apart.
Mitchell reacts to this by moving out. He gets even more aggressive towards Ava. Then he calls and wants the boys for a few hours. Ava agrees and then when the boys aren’t returned she calls him. He is not giving the boys back. He files for divorce and total custody.

Then a whole new side of Mitchell starts to emerge. He calls every lawyer in the area so that Ava can’t use them. Except for the one new guy Graham who has some demons of his own.
Mitchell is a big wig at the college so he has lots of pull. The judge automatically sides with him and his lawyer (who happens to be the judge’s buddy) Ava is excluded from her boys.

It escalates even more when Mitchell starts telling people including Jack that his mom is having an affair and that she is a drunk. He even does things to set her up to make her look even more unstable.

Ava at first will come off as weak to some readers. I however, have been in her position so I felt for this character the entire story. She does not bad mouth her soon to be ex-husband. She just wants her boys to have a stable happy life.

There are multiple viewpoints that the story is told from Ava, Mitchell (you get inside the monster of this man-even to the fact that he believes his behavior is completely fine), Graham (her attorney), The psychiatrist that the court appointed to help decide on custody arrangements and eight year old Jack. Jack’s point of view did read much older than his years but in cases of divorce and child custody children age faster than normal so it didn’t take away from the book for me. His thoughts revolve around his younger brother Sam and how to save the world and fix everything as one of his heroes. The superheroes found in his comic books.

Whenever I’d get mad or upset, she’d give me a stick of gum instead of a lecture. Like, to say, instead of freaking out, wait five minutes, think about things. Whatever’s wrong might not seem so bad then.

Now if you follow my reviews you know I can read just about anything. Serial killers? Piece of cake. Gory horror, doesn’t even give me pause.
This book? It gutted me. I had to actually stop reading so many times because tears blurred my vision. Last night my husband asked me why I was punishing myself by reading this book.

I wanted someone even if it was a book character to get their happily ever after even if it was fictional.

It’s been over two years since I’ve spoken or been able to see my daughter. It’s been the hardest years of my entire life. My ex-husband also painted a tainted picture of me. Did I have a clue? Not at all.
Don’t think it can’t happen to you.
We had been divorced for over ten years. We had attended extensive parenting classes that told us to never talk badly about the other parent that it would come back to bite you in the end.
I never did. I can honestly sit here and type this with a completely clear conscience of that. He on the other hand. Every time one of my children and I would have an argument and he found out about it he would make sure they knew he was the “cooler” parent and that they could move in with him at anytime.
Two years ago my daughter got mad because I freaked out about something that she was doing. I thought that we had worked everything out. Little did I know that he was picking her up at school and working to gain custody of her.
We went to court several times and I was painted horribly. I had always been very close with her and I admit that I was so crushed during that time period that I wasn’t completely thinking straight. That’s what this woman in this book went through also.
You never imagine that you can be manipulated by the courts and a lawyer that is friendly with the judges. Guess again people.

My story is long and drawn out and I’m not going into particulars. I do think that parental alienation should be a crime. I think the courts should investigate further when these cases come up. Not just for the parent with the most money or connections. Love can’t be bought.

Anyways. This book. I hope to everything that this author is not writing from experience. She does an amazing job of it if she’s not. She writes like she knows this pain. She gets five stars from me. Not because I liked the book-Like I said it was painful for me and I had nightmares last night. But BECAUSE SOMEONE NEEDS TO KNOW THEY AREN’T THE ONLY ONE GOING THROUGH SOMETHING LIKE THIS.

Source: I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for review.


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