Chelsea Farmer, the young college student turned prostitute in Alec Cizak’s “Down on the Street”, opens Cizak’s “Breaking Glass” having given up sex and booze for opiates. Though Cizak’s latest is a continuation of his earlier book in timeline and character, it’s as different from the first as the parallel universes that Farmer dwells on. If you liked “Down on the Street” be prepared to love “Breaking Glass”.
Farmer brings us into a world of getting high, committing crimes, and surviving life with her junkie friends. When not high, Farmer and her cohorts crave more drugs and then fuel their habit with a series of home invasions and burglaries which are getting increasingly violent.
Cizak has us drift in and out Farmer’s past, the horrors and hope, as she struggles with her place in the present and wonders if she might have a future. Even in the darkness of “Breaking Glass”, Farmer is an intense and impressive female protagonist. It’s her courage and purpose which propels us through the book.
Cizak’s “Breaking Glass” is filled with unvarnished abominations that are as accurate as they are uncomfortable. Just as you turn away from a squeamish scene in your TV stories, you will look away from these pages with the knowledge that appalling things like this are really going on today.
Not only is this book a record of this nation’s opioid crisis, but “Breaking Glass” is a testament to the strength of all women. Cizak’s writing does not allow the reader to be a mere spectator to actions surrounding Farmer in the book, instead, we are there to bear witness to her life.