Broken by Daniel Clay

Broken UK cover image

‘Skunk, Skunk. Wake Up, beautiful darling.’

Archie, my father, holds my hands as he says this. I sense his words rather than hear them.

I also sense his life.


Finally, he will sleep and dream that the harsh ringing sound by his bedside is the Royal Hampshire County Hospital phoning to say I am dead. …

Daniel Clay began his book with intriguing paragraphs. Those were the words in Skunk’s mind. From the beginning, we knew that something bad had happened to the little girl named Skunk Cunningham. Skunk took us to the day where it all started. The day when Bob Oswald beat Rick Buckley and turned him into a broken man.

Broken is a story of three family intertwined living close to each other. The Cunningham is basically the most normal out of the three. Archie Cunningham is a single father with two children, Skunk and Jed. His helper named Cerys dated Mike, Skunk’s teacher. The Oswald is the worst out of three. Bob Oswald has 5 daughters, Saraya, Saskia, Susan, Sunrise and Sunset. The Oswald is a trouble maker, the kind of family that everyone in the neighborhood despised the most. The Buckley is actually a normal family too…that is until Bob Oswald beat Rick Buckley…the Buckley is never the same again afterward.

It’s quite difficult to review or summarize Broken as the story is more like what happen in daily life with a bit of twist. One thing leads to another and they intertwine in a way that finally comes to the final end of the story.

Bob Oswald found birth control pills in Susan’s room and even though Bob is not the best father in the world, he disliked the idea that his daughters were easy lay. He forced Susan to tell him who she had been sleeping with. In panic, Susan told him that it was Rick Buckley (she said that because she overheard Saskia mocking the size of Rick’s private area). Without thinking straight, Bob Oswald hit Rick and reported him as a rapist. The police soon found out that Susan was still a virgin…but the damage had been done.

From then on, Daniel took us to daily life of the Cunningham, the Oswald and The Buckley. They all have problems of their own but something always connects the three of them.

That’s all I can say about the story…more than that will result in spoiler. Although people said that Broken is a modern day To Kill a Mocking Bird, but I think Broken has a much darker story than Mockingbird.

What I don’t like about the book is the Oswald…when reading it, I kept thinking is such family really exist?  Reading about the Oswald annoyed me so much, especially when they started defaming people for their own benefit. I was so pissed off at one point that I stopped reading the book and read something else. When my anger had calmed down, I picked the book again. Book and Movie contains defamation always resulted in me wanting to stop reading or watching it. Fortunately, all the bad stuffs the Oswald did connected to a very satisfying ending.

My favorite part of the book is definitely about Broken Buckley (it’s how Skunk and Jed called Rick Buckley). Every detail of his life is interesting to read. I really want to know what will happen to a broken soul like him…plus, the fact that I love horror and thriller stories can also be the cause why Broken Buckley’s life is the most interesting part of the book for me.  I also like the way Daniel mixed the story of three families in one long paragraph, somehow it gave the sense of what happened with the three of them at that certain time.

Overall, even though Broken has parts I wanted to quit reading, but I am glad I continue reading it as it has a very satisfying ending. Skunk’s last words are very touching and I love every single words in that last pages. The last pages of the book are the best part of the book, in my opinion.

I would like to once again express my gratitude to Daniel Clay for being so incredibly nice to send me his book all the way from England. I hope you will have more books published in the future.

Broken (From Daniel)

You can read my Interview regarding the transformation of the book into movie here (click on the image)

I look forward to see the movie which was said to be released on March (not sure when the DVD will be out). I really want to see how Broken Buckley being represented in the movie (played by Robert Emms). Although Rory Kinnear who played Bob Oswald won BIFA for his role but the one I really want to see is my dear Cillian Murphy as Mike the school teacher 😉

Book Details:

Title: Broken
Author: Daniel Clay
Language: English
Pages: 304 pages
Rating: 3,5 books


  1. It could be argued that any modern day version of To Kill a Mockingbird would be darker just because we are living in darker times. I think in a lot of ways the ills of society are more apparent now than they were when To Kill a Mockingbird was written.

    1. I also think the same as you. Maybe at that time, it was as dark as now but not as apparent as now…with all the media covering the crime every single minutes.

  2. Your postings are so impressive Miss. Novia
    and the attention to detail is second to none 🙂
    I remember your post about Daniel Clay and
    yes it was very kind of him to send you a copy
    of his book. Signed and with a nice inscription
    too 🙂 Have a lovely Thursday 🙂 xx

    1. Thank you so much Gray 🙂
      Yes, he is one of the kindest people I met through the net. I am blessed to have met wonderful people through the net, and that included you Gray 🙂

  3. Just a correction: Rory Kinnear plays Bob Oswald, the savage bully who beats Rick “Broken” Buckley. Broken is played by Robert Emms. And the major difference between “Broken” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” is that “Broken” has no moral core. “Mockingbird” is all about standing up for what’s right, no matter the risks. “Broken” seems to be about taking incessant, pointless heaps of abuse while hoping that somehow things will get better, but making no effort whatsoever to stand up for yourself or to take action on your own behalf. Atticus Finch might sympathize with Archie Cunningham’s weakness and fear, but he would be ashamed of Archie nonetheless.

    1. hi Blip … thank you so much for the correction, I will fix it soon 🙂

      About your opinion, maybe it’s because that’s how people are today. They seem so ignorant with what happened around them. At least that’s what I see in many people around me.

  4. Daniel was very nice to send you a signed copy of his book.

    The book must be pretty powerful to have made you feel like that. Sometimes difficult books are important to read, to see or experience things that are outside our normal realm.

    1. Yes…he is super nice 🙂

      I don’t know why but I really don’t like reading about defamation…but Daniel manages to create another story I am intrigued with. In short, the book made me want to stop and want to continue at the same time.

    1. Thank you Steph 🙂
      I always try to write review as honest as possible.
      Look forward to know what you think about Broken when you finally read it 🙂

  5. I’d love to read this. It’s lovely of him to send you a copy. I’d really like to know what annyoed you about that famila and whether I think some people like that exist. And the comparison to To Kill a Mockingbird…

    1. I think you might like it as you often read daily life kind of stories.
      Well, let’s just say that family is really annoying and thank God I have never met such family near my house.

  6. Hi Novia (and everyone who has been kind enough to leave comments),

    Thanks very much for reading Broken and for taking the time to post this review. It’s always really nice to see a thoughtful review – positive or negative, being honest – but especially nice to find out what you thought after all the e-mails we’ve swapped. If anyone else here decides to check out the novel – thank you very much and I really hope you get something out of reading it. And Blip – I think it’s a fair comment about the novel not having a moral core as that’s how I often feel about myself and the world around me (though sometimes I surprise myself and the world surprises me too…)

    Best wishes,

    Daniel Clay

    1. Hi Daniel 🙂

      It has been wonderful time swapping emails with you. I really like the way you mix three families like that it gives me mix emotions.

      Thank you for giving me the chance to read your book, the book is now one of my fav collections .

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