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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Puzzle Pieces is a psychological work of literary fiction penned by author C. J. Mac. The action of the piece focuses on Ann Caldwell, who begins the tale as a suicidal woman certain that death is the only way out. When that way is blocked by Ann being institutionalized and treated in a psychiatric unit, her journey back through her own psyche can truly begin. Stuck amongst suffers of all kinds of mental aberrations, traumas and painful experiences, Ann begins to unlock the secrets and trials of her own past, and discover how they led her to this moment. Amongst all this, questions of what it really means to be ‘normal’ are asked, and the human condition is explored from this uniquely brilliant angle.
I found this story akin to One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, but with all the Hollywood humor stripped away and the real, raw experiences of true people kept in. Author C. J. Mac does a particularly marvellous job expressing the reality of these characters despite some of their strange ways of thinking and the unusual life experiences which they have been through, making us as readers deeply connected to Ann and the friends she makes along her journey. The connection of title to plot is very clever, because it makes us view humans as incomplete and individually unique, even though we all look similar from a distance. Overall, Puzzle Pieces is a well-considered and well-written book that will absorb its readers and teach them something new about life.