Judith Kendall’s socially conscious novel Overtime addresses many current issues, positing them in a 1960s setting, a time when the classic structure of the American family began its decline. Divorce rates were on the rise, and divorce itself gained acceptance; the dissolution of marriage became commonplace, as did the blended family and the single-parent family.
Child abduction by the non-custodial parent has occasionally been another issue of concern for single mothers and fathers. Kendall chronicles the tale of one unfit mother, Jody, whose drug use and promiscuous lifestyle alienated her from her family. Feeling neglected, Jody seeks “me” time away from her family. As a result, she experiences alienation and isolation. Continued drug abuse, specifically LSD, cause her to envision a way out: she’ll reclaim her children and become fit and whole once again. Jody then abducts her son, Andrew, who has lost his connection with his mother and cries to go home. It is then that Jody realizes a profound disappointment in her LSD fantasy; and reality sets in. She counters this disappointment with a new plan. She will go get her daughter, Melissa, and complete her drug-induced vision of wholeness. Just as her behavior is spiraling out of control, so too does the car she is driving, resulting in a crash that would prove fatal for her, and leave Andrew injured. Andrew finally calls to her, and Jody experiences one last vision of “glorious, explosive light, an all encompassing warmth, and finally, darkness.”
Kendall’s tragic tale represents love gone awry, and although Jody’s husband, John Hampton, is reunited with his son, it is not without severe emotional damage to the child. There are more than 350,000 family abductions each year in the United States alone; “This crime is widely misunderstood by those not directly affected by the crime, including some law enforcement and government officials, who are under the misconception that children are inherently safe when they are with an abducting parent. Nothing could be farther from the truth.” As with Andrew, 16% of parental child abductions result in serious mental harm. In 8% of cases, the child experiences physical harm, and 1% experience sexual abuse.
Overtime represents a story that is shared by 1,000 American families each day. In this novel, Judith Kendall addresses many relevant social issues, layer-by-layer, exposing the truth behind drug abusing parents. This is a must read for anyone who is interested in concerns involving drug abuse, family, or other social issues from the 1960s to the present day.
Find out more about Overtime by visiting www.judithkendall.com