Blue: a novel ~ by Lou Aronica (reviewed by Shellie)
A tear inducing novel about family love and the methods we create when coping with a life threatening illness - in ourselves, and in those we love most.
About: Set presently in the US, our key characters are Chris and his 14 year old daughter – Becky. From the very beginning it is clear that Chris adores Becky in a way that is perhaps beyond the norm, even to the point of ignoring his own needs and development. This is in part due to a difficult illness Becky has been afflicted with as a small child. Within this extremely constrained and nightmarish situation, and as a means to cope with medical treatments, the two contrive an elaborate and fantastical world together. This is their story, of their parallel and perhaps symbolic world, and what happens when the fine line between reality and fantasy becomes blurred during life altering events.
Thoughts: A realistic story that also possesses a fantastical thread with elements of both science fiction and fantasy, Blue has an ecological theme which I particularly liked. I would even say it is on the verge of magical realism. I think that because of its connection to “real life” and its setting in the “real world”, this makes the book an opportunity for non-fantasy readers to adventure into the speculative.
One thing that I particularly liked is that it feels like the author has a good grasp on and around human nature. For example, he has an understanding about what it is like to be a good parent, and what it can feel like for a person to be extremely ill. With examples of both within the pages, I want to share one quote which summarizes the feelings of a parent:
One of the first things Chris learned as a father was that being one allowed you access to previously unavailable resources. The ability to function coherently at two in the morning when a baby needed soothing, a bottle needed heating, and a diaper needed changing at the same time. The ability to navigate through a little kid’s tantrum without either screaming or running away. The ability to perform the same bit of slapstick several dozen times in a row because it made your child laugh. The ability to bear up when your preteen chose a sleepover at a friend’s instead of the plans you made with her a week before.
I really enjoyed this read, but I do have to say that I had a slight confusion while reading. I kept going back and forth as to who the book’s intended audience were -tween/young adult, or adult. I felt like I wanted to recommend it to parents to read to their children with its child friendly fantastical elements and language development. However with some very adult mentions, like the Karma Sutra, this could be precarious. In the end I would recommend this book to adult readers only.
In summary Blue is an accessible page turner which includes an intriguing and creative concept. I liked that all the interwoven and layered threads constructed through the story followed through and that all my questions about this “other world” were addressed. My favorite part of the book is it’s heartbreaking yet affirming ending. Although I choked back tears unsuccessfully through the last 15 pages getting the pages all soggy and damp, this sweet novel is also redemptive, which is such a wonderful combination. I give this novel 4 stars.
For more information on the book and about the author please see our Preview for Blue.
Stay tuned for a special giveaway/contest where Lou Aronica has offered to edit a short story or synopsis for a winner here on Layers of Thought.
Thanks for reading!