- File Size: 1789 KB
- Print Length: 362 pages
- Publisher: Adrienne Wilder (June 19, 2014)
- Publication Date: June 19, 2014
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00L4OF2SQ
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #151,990 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Complementary Colors Kindle Edition
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Her characters are so engaging, so richly drawn and so deep, that they are virtually alive to me. My heart reaches out to them, as Ms. Wilder's writing reaches out to me. And it's not her dialogue, or descriptions, or even her plots. It's the intangibles. Everything she writes works as a story, as a character study, and as a metaphor. This book deals with sex abuse, murder, art and trauma. She deals with these powerful topics through the thoughts and actions of her characters, never preaching or even explaining. Paris is an artist, and so much of what you know of him comes from the colors he sees and describes so vividly. Ms. Wilder understands, deeply, how an artist experiences his or her inspiration and compulsion. Although Paris is hugely successful, he hates the art he creates, because he does it under duress to benefit his creepy, violent, greedy sister, Julia. She abuses him and she whores him out to clients to seal the sale of his paintings to the rich and overpriveleged.
But some little glimmer of a flame still lives in Paris' soul, expressed when he creates his remarkable paintings of the lost boy he loved when he was only ten - paintings that are not for sale, that are not for public consumpition, but which his monster sister puts on display on national TV and then sells right out from under him.
Paris is damaged. He witnessed a terrible crime when he was very young - a murder within his family, and it haunts his every moment. It informs his art and ends up with him institutionalized. His salvation is Roy, a beautiful, working-class guy who offers him the one thing he has never experienced in his checkered and tragic life - love.
Most of the book is dedicated to their growing affection, and the secret that is just crying out to be spoken. There's no question that Paris is mentally ill, but with good reason, as you find out as the book moves to its inevitable and exciting conclusion.
The sex is hot because it is not exploitative. It is part of his growth from a man forced to use sex as currency, to a man who finally learns to treasure it as an act of love. It's quite beautiful to see the pure sensual and esthetic enjoyment he gets from eating his first-ever hot dog (a chili dog, actually), and sledding down a hill on a cardboard box. After all, those things are so normal. He's incredibly wealthy from the sale of his paintings (though his sister steals most of it), but the finest champagne and designer clothing does not compare to an hour in a soul food cafe in a depressed area of town.
There are many parallels to be drawn, between the traumatic coming-out experiences of so many young gay kids, their isolation from their parents, their loneliness and hopelessness. Like the adolescent who becomes convinced that God, his parents, his friends and his world tell him he's worthless because of who he is, Paris is convinced that in his mental state, his secrets, his lies and the constant abuse of his sister, he would be better off dead. Thankfully, the love of Roy and that spark that gives him "three dimensions" keep him going.
I can't say enough about how well-written this book is. In it, Ms. Wilder penned one of my all-time favorite lines:
"We'd slipped beyond the real world and hovered where darkness and light made love to create the colors of the universe."
The entire book, while sometimes difficult, is as beautiful as that evocative and poetic sentence.
No matter what you do, don't miss this book - it's one of the best I've read in years.
That's just in the first few pages. You read the excerpt on amazon, you think you're ready. You're not. I was careful where I stopped reading each day, so I could sleep. I could finish it because this is a Romance, but holy crap the end. And the clever last chapter.
I have a couple of criticisms, neither important:
The sex got kind of boring, this happens in many erotic romances. Only the feelings and the funny bits were great - but that's a plus. They remained and got more personal.
The other is how Paris thinks of the colors he sees. They're very plain from a painter's view, unless he always chose visually and never read the names on the tubes - possible, but not shown well enough for me to notice. No umber, cadmium, cobalt, ivory black, titanium, ochre.
If you're ready for intense, read this one.
Not so Complementary Colors -- a title that not only refers to the paintings that main character Paris creates, but also to the relationship he finds with Roy.
After all, Complementery means (according to Google): combining in such a way as to enhance or emphasize the qualities of each other or another.
Roy is one person who can see into the abstract and haunting works that Paris creates; he is also one person Paris decides to trust and get to know -- even though both things go against everything Paris is used to. Even though Paris thinks he's damaged, ugly, and hurts everyone he lets in.
I'm only 40% of the way into this book, and it's one of the few that's has such a powerful effect on me. Wilder drags you -- rather forcefully -- deep into a world she has created that is not all hot sexy, studly men, and happy endings around every corner. It's a world full of people who deal with the realities of life. The abuse, the hurt, the pain, the not-so-good things that happen. People who end up stronger because of it.
Extremely powerful. Engaging. Full of characters I'm glad I've been allowed to get to know. And a world I'm eager to continue reading about. Now it's time to shut down the computer, make another cup of coffee, and finish reading.
This book kept me up well into the night. A truly unique read - and a difficult one in that it heavily involves abuse, both emotional and physical. Heartbreaking, infuriating, yet also full of rightness and love. I wanted to jump into the pages and throttle the sister, and help Roy and Paris to the good place and peace they arrive at together.