“The last time a written story affected me as deeply as this was the time I sat up half the night reading The Crucible. Riveting doesn’t even come near to describing Willful Avoidance. J T Twissel has done something magical here. She has taken a nightmare from her life and invested it with a literary virtuosity that is quite simply dazzling. The protagonist is Maya Bethany, victim in an immoral maze constructed by a soulless state that takes no account of personal feelings or circumstances. If Kafka were still around he would just love writing about this. Except that somehow I don’t think he would make me laugh out loud the way J T Twissel does. But after the laughter has faded the memory remains of a driven woman standing against a stupid law and its legal lackeys. This is a beautiful piece of work.”
Colm Herron, Author of The Wake and What Jeremiah Did Next and the Fabricator.
“There is blood on the page here. J.T. Twissel has reached deep inside of herself to get this out. Broken down women, slimy men, jealousy, crime, debt, Kafkaesque bureaucratic webs, taxes, and dying children…what’s not to like? This is a story from down the road, where the houses are so big you can’t see them from the curb. You know, the neighbors behind the walls and deep in the trees. They drive shiny off-road vehicles and their garbage cans are imported and flying socially in a helicopter is no big deal. Who are they? J.T. Twissel has an inside look at one of those families, one of those women, and the world she lives in until her husband gets caught and everything falls apart. I like the way Ms. Twissel writes. She is funny and earthy and things are usually desperate for her characters.
Duke Miller, author of Living and Dying with Dogs and Handbook for the Hopeless.
“I truly enjoyed reading “Willful Avoidance”. Knowing it was written from a true experience, I was amazed at the length of time and diligence needed to prove one’s innocence. I loved JT Twissel’s sense of humor and experienced several ‘laugh out loud’ moments throughout the book. Good read!”
“Willful Avoidance is a tax term referring to the “refusal” of a spouse to obtain information s/he needs to know before signing income tax returns, asserting that s/he deliberately avoided knowing of any tax evasion or illegal financial acts on the part of the spouse. We learn that there is no innocence until proven guilty with the IRS, which makes this a scary book. Scary because it is based on a true story of a shady, (once) wealthy husband who leaves his wife in debt and liable for hundreds of thousands of dollars when the IRS comes after her. (Do we really have to read all that legalese and fine print to stay out of trouble?)
First Maya must find a way to support herself and her children although she has no work history. How she manages is interesting reading in itself. She is determined to prove her innocence, but this requires intelligence, persistence and patience to fight the IRS and then the California Tax Board. The story is told with an opportune sense of humor that is almost comic relief. JT Twissel is a fine writer and story-teller.”
“Every person who has ever signed a tax return, mortgage loan papers or any other legal document, without knowing in detail what they are signing, should read this book. Willful avoidance is the legal term for someone who fails to take steps to understand what they agree to. It happens all the time. Buyers who rely on dealers. Families who rely on lawyers. Widows who rely on trustees. Wives who rely on husbands.
The protagonist, Maya, was taken in by a lying, cheating spouse, and ended up liable for hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax liabilities, and no money. This is the story of her fight with the IRS to prove her innocence. It is gripping. Twissel could have ended it at the conclusion of her IRS battle, but still well worth the read. Funny, too. Maya’s self-deprecating approach to life is endearing, and honest. Based on a true story, a cautionary tale for us all.”