Thursday, January 24, 2013

Lovely, Dark, Deep

Lovely, Dark and Deep
With a title so haunting, a cover so beautiful, and a description so vague, Lovely, Dark, and Deep by Amy McNamara was a mystery from the start. You might not know what you are getting yourself into as you start this book, but the outcome is nevertheless powerful.

Wren Wells survived the car accident, but not in one piece. Since the death of her boyfriend, Patrick, she hasn't been able to carry on with her life. The only reason she even started speaking again was to get the therapists off her back and get her mother to let her go live with father, the artist who is so wrapped up in his own creations he barely notices he has a daughter. And for Wren, being able to fold into herself and avoid all interactions is exactly what she needs. Until she meets Cal.

Cal is infectious. His kindness and caring is so sincere, Wren can't help but let him in (even if it is reluctantly at first). But Cal comes with his own demons. His recently diagnosed MS threatens his way of life and breaks the fragile soul who lost his mother to the very same disease. Apart, this pair is the most unsteady, tormented set of individuals. Together, they are lovely. They are dark. They are deep.

This is such a fluid and poetic novel. It is written beautifully, and that adds to the sincerity and gravity of the story being told. Both Cal and Wren are battling such dark demons that when they come together, you almost worry they are going to drag each other down. But they don't. They are each what the other needs: someone who listens but doesn't judge. Through their relationship, Wren is able to finally admit all the circumstances of the fateful car accident where Patrick died because focusing on Cal makes her own struggles seem less life-threatening. And Cal's illness is so painful to watch, especially after having lost his mother to the same illness. I loved the way these two were two halves who came together to make one whole individual, healing and ready to live lie again.

It was interesting how the supporting characters around them dealt with their struggles, especially Wren's parents and her friends from before the accident. It is interesting how they blame Wren and need her to push past the pain, but don't know how to help her do it. In fact, when she really sinks into a dark place, the only way they can think of helping is doing things that make it even worse for her at times. I imagined how real this was when people don't know how to help a person they love so dearly as that person slowly falls apart in front of their very eyes. This is a beautiful and haunting book, and if you want to talk to McNamara about it, she will be at Oblong next Sunday! I hope to get out there, and I am looking forward to finding the perfect student to pass this book onto. Its haunting beauty and poetic story are perfect for those deep, sensitive students!

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