Out of Balance hits the deck running from the very first paragraph to the last. What at first appears to be a larger than life story quickly adjusts its vision and the reader soon comes to the important fact that “Out of Balance” is primarily about the sad and tragic lives of the children and spouses who are the innocent victims of sexual and physical abuse in the home.
Although the scenario of this fictional book is northern California in the foothills of Lake Tahoe and bedroom communities outside of Sacramento, it reminds us that these same problems exist throughout America everywhere. What Arkin brings to light in this intelligent and sensitively written book are the horrors found in the archaic and fundamentally inadequate judicial system that exists today in these small counties that are sprinkled through the foothills and into the woods along the great American River.
Although a beautiful area, much lies beneath the red dirt of the northern California towns in Arkin’s exciting and informative book about domestic abuse. At times it is a beautiful journey through the old gold mining villages where many of the original descendants still live and serve their small communities. At other times the author takes us into the history of the area clearly pointing out what it was and still is today. It is obvious that author Arkin, who in fact lived there for twenty five years and worked as an Independent State Hearing Officer as well as Special Education Hearing Officer in Sacramento, has a deep affection for the area and this is the impetus of his writing. But make no mistake about it; Michael Arkin wants things changed, just as the protagonist in the book, Matt Lucas and his partner- journalist, Linda Lawson do, all the while risking their own lives attempting to uncover a malignancy that is growing by leaps and bounds.
In the author’s words:
“I have come to believe that judges need to be selected on the basis of not only their legal experience but also their ability to understand life experience.” Pge 337 – postscript
By the time that I finished this book which often kept me up reading far too late into the night, I felt outraged by the stupidity and callous decisions handed down to the families that were simply looking for some hope and resolution in their lives.
Arkin has a candid style of writing that reaches out and grabs the reader in an intelligent style and descriptive manner. The book is an important one that touches all of the bases of destruction and sadness of those victims and cases depicted in “Out of Balance” yet its moments of personal reflection_ when the protagonist, Matt Lucas let’s down his guard and reveals his compassion and deep understanding of humanity at its best and worst makes this one of the most compelling books that I have read in a very long time
Thumbs up to Author Michael Arkin for his book “Out of Balance.”