Harrison Winters lives his life according to a very specific set of rules. He has followed them since childhood and doing so allows him to maintain control of his depression. But it hasn’t allowed him to be happy. When Harrison meets Jeremy Hayden, he finds a man who radiates light and joy, everything Harrison has lived without. Meeting Jeremy is the best thing that’s ever happened to Harrison, but he isn’t foolish enough to think it will last.
Jeremy is, for the first time in six years, living for himself. After escaping an emotionally draining and smothering relationship, Jeremy has no interest in saddling himself with someone else’s baggage. Harrison is sweet and hot and fantastic in bed, but Jeremy sees a darkness in him as well, one he isn’t sure he wants to deal with. And when that darkness is finally brought to light, Jeremy and Harrison have to decide if the pain they face is worth enduring for a chance at love.
All the Broken Things is the fifth book in the Finding Forever series. The other four books in this series appear to be either m/f or m/m/f, and All the Broken Things read easily as a stand alone. This book sympathetically tackles the nature of depression and care giving in a realistic and believable manner. But you’re going to need to some tissues, so consider yourself warned. The depth of Harrison’s pain is palpable and often strong enough to leave the reader desperate to help him. So it’s easy to sense Jeremy feeling the same way. One of the big things this book does well is break down the difference between being there to support someone with depression and actually becoming part of the problem. Jeremy’s previous relationship was exhausting; he was his lover’s caregiver and, in many ways, his enabler without even realizing it. In Harrison, he finds a man that doesn’t need saving. Harrison intimately understands his depression and the effects it has upon him. As a result, Harrison welcomes Jeremy’s offer to help and rejects the idea that he should be “fixed.” This allows their relationship to evolve in a more balanced way and loving way.
I said you needed tissues and you will, but All the Broken Things isn’t all doom and gloom. The author has done well showing depression (or at least Harrison’s variant of it) as a series of good days and bad days. Harrison is able to experience happiness when he is with Jeremy and these moments aren’t invalidated because of his depression. I appreciated that Harrison was portrayed as someone who was actually living with depression, rather than as someone who simply existed in the midst of his disease. He lives and works and is far more complex character than we usually see get when mental illness is explored.
All the Broken Pieces was poignant exploration of love and pain and all the bits in between. Jeremy and Harrison are a wonderfully connected couple and their journey is handled with deft care. I think anyone who has battled depression or stood beside someone who has will find All the Broken Pieces deeply relatable.