Paint It Black Review
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Josie Tyrell is a punked out, white trash art model and student film actress living in 1980s Los Angeles. The love of her life, Michael Faraday, is a rich boy, Harvard drop-out, son of a writer father and concert pianist mother. Josie has never been happier; despite their very different upbringings, she and Michael are in love, and she loves their life together. She believes Michael does, too. Then Josie receives a call from the coronerís office; Michael is on a slab in the morgue, dead from a self-inflicted bullet. Michaelís mother blames Josieóto the point where she puts her hands around Josieís throat and tries to strangle her at Michaelís funeral.

Plunged into the depths of grief and anguish and left with only memories, a vodka-gulping, barbiturate-popping Josie tries to understand why Michael would take his own life. Her quest brings her to interact with Michaelís family. Michaelís father paints a very different picture of the young man Josie knew. Michaelís mother (whose sanity is questionable) decides that Josie can help her understand the son she thought she knew, and a strange relationship between the two ensues. The secrets and lies that Michael left behind reveal an oh-no-not-another sick Oedipal mother-son relationship and results in a destruction from which Josie must rise.

Janet Fitch is an extremely talented novelist. Her first novel, White Oleander, was a huge success. If you enjoyed White Oleander, as I did, and expect more of the same in Paint It Black, youíll be disappointed. Make no mistake: Paint It Black, aptly named, is very well written. It is harsh, emotional, and provocative. Some readers call it profound; I didnít see it that way. Others call it haunting; and that it isóbut I donít want to be haunted by it. Dark? Yes. Raw? Definitely. Depressing? Oh, yeah. You betcha.

If you like well-written yet overwhelmingly bleak, dismal contemporary fiction, then donít miss this one. But I can get my daily dose of depression from the newspaper, thanks.

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