Paint it Black by Janet Fitch......so intense you can't put it down and you feel saddened when it's finished.

  I don't know how many people have read this book by Janet Fitch - 'Paint it Black'.  It was a book I myself stumbled upon and ended up ordering it from the Books-a-Million in my area.  I had found Janet Fitch's novel 'White Oleander' several years ago in a local Wal-mart.  Stunning is the first word that comes to mind.  The characters, plot, and emotions made the entire book come to life.  Later on as a few years went by, I actually ended up seeing the movie  'White Oleander' on Lifetime.  Though not bad, the movie did not do the book or author any justice at all.  While on my facebook account, I like to look up quotes that have stuck in my mind and use them as a status update.  It was while doing this, searching through some quotes from 'White Oleander' that I ran across beautifully written quotes from another of Fitch's books called 'Paint it Black'.  The wording of the quotes themselves were enough to have me intrigued.  Since I couldn't find this book in a store, I ordered it and anxiously awaited for it to come in my mail. Seemed like Christmas morning the day it arrived!

I knew the quotes were good from the book as I had read some of them, but I was still skeptical because of the bond I formed with the characters in 'White Oleander'.  As soon as I opened it,  I had not made it through the first paragraph on page 1, and I was hooked.  So many emotions of anger, love, pain, hurt, grief, regret, and confusion wrapped into ever sentence, Janet Fitch is remarkably talented.  As you read through the book and realize Josie's boyfriend had chosen to end his life, for me Josie took on a character I could relate with.  As Michael's mother Meredith blames Josie and expresses such anger and hate for the young girl, to me she became the alone victim of fate.  

This novel has so many unexpected twist and turns throughout it, that you almost don't know which one to hurt for.  At times, I would see a mother portrayed that held everything from a talented gift of music, to fame and wealth, yet her only happiness came from her son when his father and her divorced, so you can see how the bond was quickly formed.   Then there are moments, I hurt for Josie and understand her desire to confrotn his mother once in for all or live in fear of the woman who had threatened to kill her in front of several witnesses at the funeral.  There were very many times, I found myself angry with Michael.  Janet has a way of capturing L.A. just as it was during the punk times and how Michael saw something in Josie that made him want to leave his wealth behind and live a life with her based on his own lies.  As I read it, I came to the conclusion that Josie was pulling all the weight worrying about bills and working while Michael slipped further into his depression.  As he pulled further away from Josie and was pulled back into his mother's lifestyle, Josie felt resentment toward him and Meredith.  At times while I was reading it was hard not to feel all of their pain, then at some points feel angry toward each of the characters, even the deceased Michael. Josie and Meredith begin a love/hate relationship because each of them held a piece of Michael that the other didn't know about.  As they begin to share with one another it almost seems their grief formed a bond between them and then trust would be broken again. It ends with Josie having to make one of the hugest decisions of her life and once made, it does end there leaving a lot of different questions that run through someone's mind.  I think that's the style I love in Janet Fitch's novels.  You almost think all will end well and as should be but that doesn't last, so lives are carried on but apart. So it isn't the happy ever after so many people long for.

I highly recommend this novel as well as 'White Oleander' to anyone that has not had the oppurtunity to read them.  Both novels are facinating and hold such deep dark truths that people experience everyday.  I found the author took emotions that we all feel, especially in a time of mourning when nothing makes sense to us, and wrote those emotions down in a way the reader can feel them and remember that pain.  I think it also makes people stop and think about how times were different in this era, how everyone can act out of character when grieving, and sometimes they are consumed in that grief and lose themselves along the way.   Both novels receive 5 stars from me and I have spent many years reading books, running out, and rereading the same ones over again. 

 

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