Armor of Glass
Armor of Glass begins and ends on a train. The main character, Brick, boards the DART for a lengthy commute. As he settles in, he journeys back and forth across the ups and downs of his life up to that point. He remembers in vivid details a troubled childhood he turns around through sheer will and dedication, a tumultuous affair with a high ranking officer, and a failing marriage and home life. The officer plays a recurring role as Brick’s life veers away and crashes back into hers repeatedly, before their respective spouses vindictively spark a tinderbox leading to military and legal drama.
Based on a true story, Spears presumably draws heavily from real life drama, and blends it into a literary foray into a man battling inner demons and struggling with a lifetime of painful memories. Cameo—the officer—and Brick’s relationship plays a central role in the novel. All events whirl around their torrid affair, with many crashing and burning because of it, including several failed marriages. Brick remains steadfast in holding tightly to his only truly balanced relationship.
Armor of Glass shines thanks to the superb prose. Brick’s voice is clear and well-defined, with a determined masculine voice. That voice lends a uniqueness to this erratic love story. Besides Brick, the other characters are equally realized. Many of which, chiefly Brick’s wife, Selma, are so vividly captured she becomes a character one loves to hate. The narrative rocks back and forth between Brick’s DART ride and his memories, and as the story progresses, it becomes clear why he’s driven to commute this way.
Armor of Glass is part memoir and part literary fiction, but is at its core, a character study of a lover, a Marine, a husband, a father, and a man in modern times. At times tough to read, others eliciting an exasperated chuckle, Armor of Glass follows a flawed man at war with his memories searching for peace.
R. M. A. Spears