19 July 2014

Complementary Colors by Adrienne Wilder

 My sister Julia manipulated my life into a prison to keep me silent about our dirty family secret. Her greed made me a slave and circumstance left me with no way to escape.

Trapped, the only way I could silence the nightmares driving me to insanity was to wrap them in color, hold them with shadow, and stitch them to negative space with line.

But no matter how bright the pigments, no one could see my confession.

Except for Roy Callahan.

I thought he was just another nameless one-night stand in a long line of many.
But I was wrong. Roy could see past the façade of my life and through the veil color over the canvas. He could see what the world couldn’t.

And with him I’d find the courage to tell the truth about the boy.

The boy who kissed me.
The boy who loved me.
The boy whose name I couldn’t remember.

I wish there was a way I could give this book more than five stars.  The rare quality and emotional power the author put on these pages will astound you. She gave a voice to many who struggle to speak about mental illness and abuse.  She gave love a language of its own in this book.  I could go on about how I felt the author had her finger on the pulse of what is wrong in this world and showed it to us in the lives of Roy and Paris. She demonstrated how the pain could be overcome with the love, acceptance and trust among each other.  I finished this book this morning and now as I write this review the one thing that stayed with me is the feeling of inclusion.  She gave me, personally, a few hours of not only intense reading and emotional turmoil, but a feeling of acceptance and understanding. 
Paris is an artist who sees the world in colors.  Haunted by his past and blocks of memories that he can’t piece together he uses sex to fill a void in life.  His sister uses him to fund her luxuries and life.  Giving him drugs that will enhance his painting abilities and keep him under her control, she uses violence to get what she wants.  His other sister takes care of his personal needs such as food, laundry and gives him honest love but even she is controlled by the older sister. 
One night at a showing he came across Roy and they had an instant attraction.  Roy has a haunted past of his own that caused him to leave his home in Arkansas and settle on a new life.  He will be the first person to show Paris not only genuine love but protection.  Paris struggles to accept Roy’s action as love, his heart says it is, but the demons in his head refuse to allow that concept.  During some passion filled moments and some heart wrecking days, we watched Roy’s unconditional acceptance and love towards Paris grow, even when he doesn’t even know what Paris has done this time or why he does it.  His constant reassurance to him is “As long as you are ok, nothing else matters.” That is what this story is about to me.  One of my favorite quotes from this book is
            “I’m a thousand pieces of broken colored glass.  You throw something like that away.  Doing anything else is a waste of time. It won’t matter.”
How many times have we all felt like that, we are to broken to save, we are thrown away by society, friends or family?  I believe this is what the author was trying to show us with this story; everyone deserves to be saved, loved and protected. 
While we go on with the story Paris finally learns what is missing from his past and things blow up.   It was intense at the end, so intense I could barely read through the tears.  I have never wanted two people to be free and happy like I did with Paris and Roy.  She gives us a well written story that keeps your interest so intently you lose track of time while reading.  She created such a brilliant scene; you could visualize the colors as Paris describes what he is seeing.  You can feel the emotions that others talk about when seeing his art work.  I was wrapped up in Paris’s disgust for his paintings because of what they represent to him, money for his sister and the truth that only Roy can see.  Paris used his paintings as a cry for help that everyone ignored because they didn’t stop and take time to listen or see. Everyone had their own agenda and Paris was just a tool for them.  Once again another message I feel this author is trying to teach us.  It is time to stop giving things a quick look and start seeing what lies deep inside. It is also time to stop pretending to just hear the words of others and begin listening to what they are trying to say, even if it takes them a few times to find the words, still continue to listen. 
I would so recommend this book to everyone, even though once again she used the love between two men to get her message across, it was a brilliant story.  I am so blown away by this author and her work, please make sure you check into her books and read them.  I can promise if you go in with an open mind you will walk out with a change of heart and perception on life and others.  
Georgia bred and born, Adrienne Wilder spent most of her childhood exploring fantastical worlds hidden in her own back yard among tall grass, and shadowed kudzu tunnels. When she was not dragon hunting, she spent most of her time, reading, writing, drawing, and digging holes.
Currently Adrienne lives in Dahlonega, GA where she shares her home with a variety of dogs and one cat. She still spends most of her time, reading, writing, drawing, and digging holes. Although now she calls the reading "research," the drawing "artwork", the writing "books," and the holes "ponds" and "gardens".
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