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Imagined Love Paperback – August 31, 2012
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About the Author
Diamond Drake, the author of For the Love of Jade, is known for her emotionally gripping tales. Born and raised in Gary, IN, she currently resides in Stockton, CA with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs. Learn more at www.diamonddrakebooks.com
Top customer reviews
Imagined Love chronicles the life of a young Jade from her childhood to her maturing into a young lady that is constantly battling wars of love and allegiance. When life is so unpredictable because everyone is so callous and conniving, can Jade finally relax and trust in anyone? Realistic scenarios lay the element of intrigue within the storyline although at times it drags but the characters' reel you in. There weren't any over the top exciting moments, but the storyline remained consistent as you were lulled into a quiet calm to the very end. I will follow the storyline and read the continuation. 3.68
The novel starts out focused on Willa Caldwell, Jade's mother, and details her experiences of physical and psychological abuse at the hands of Miles, Jade's father. In this first part, Jade herself is a bit player, with only a few lines and very little to suggest that she's the actual focus of the story. When Jade's adolescent struggles begin, Willa largely disappears from the narrative, infrequently mentioned and rarely a party to the occurrences and conversations that make up the bulk of the action. But Willa is never far from the reader's mind, though; knowledge of her tribulations and failures creates constant tension as the reader wonders if Jade will repeat her mother's mistakes.
Throughout the story, a cast of colorful supporting characters helps Jade along her way. Frequently, though, these characters are more obstacles than allies. In Willa's part of the novel, we meet Cicely, a single mother subsisting in public housing with her children whose fathers are...not there. Cicely is a liar and a user, and her relationship with Willa is repeated in the relationship between Jade and CIcely's daughter, Katrina. Katrina is a liar, a user and a backstabber. Alonzo, Cicely's favorite son, is a liar, a user, a player and a rapist. Only Landon, Cicely's other son, proves to be a supportive and positive presence in Jade's life, and this relationship gives Jade the strength she needs to fight the demons she inherited from Willa.
Reading "Imagined Love," it is tempting to classify it as somehow anti-man, a perception driven by the train of losers that Jade rides for most of the book. While only Alonzo is outright coercive, the others resort to whining and promising to get what they want from her--and most of them only want one thing. But despite all these zeroes, Drake provides enough balance in characters like Landon to show that Jade's problem isn't men as a species--it's the type of men she ends up getting involved with. "Imagined Love" is not a work that sets out to hate on men or to categorize all of them as insensitive, or childish. Male readers are called upon, though, to reflect upon their own behavior and how that may have affected other people.
I can't go deeper into the subject matter without spoiling the novel, and this is one that is worth reading. It touches on so many subjects that it would take hours of book club discussions to explore all its implications. Especially noteworthy is Drake's portrayal of how interpersonal dynamics at play with a mother can be inherited by a daughter. Noteworthy also is her demonstration of how the withholding of love and acceptance--which Willa and MIles each do in their own ways--can affect a child's life choices. Even a child as smart and capable as Jade. Drake seems to possess a sensitivity to and understanding of the fragility of young personalities--not just juvenile personalities, but those of young adults as well.
Perhaps the greatest issue raised in Drake's debut novel, though, concerns the forces at work not only on Jade, but on young people out in society as a whole. Despite her health, beauty and professional success, Jade seems to focus on what she doesn't have--a man in her life PERMANENTLY. She worries about getting married, getting engaged, and at times you want to jump in there and ask her if she's interested in marrying this particular guy or if she's really just after the status of being a married person--and the emotional peace she seems to think will come with that. The novel certainly chronicles how an overly intense focus on being in a committed relationship for its own sake can lead to bad choices with potentially devastating consequences. Whether or not Jade suffers those consequences, though, is something you'll have to read the book to find out.
My main criticisms are simple and may have more to do with the genre--with which I'm unfamiliar--than the abilities of the author. The story is told in third-person narration but isn't restricted to Jade's own vantage point, and so it often jumps into the minds and perceptions of another character within the same scene. A lot of authors do it, but I never got used to it in this one. I also felt like a lot of screen time at some points went to the impressions and perceptions of characters who later turned out to be unimportant or only marginally important. For me, this tended to blur the focus and pull attention away from the main event: Jade's development and struggle. Hence the withholding of the fifth star.
Other than that, though, the production quality was first-rate and the dialogue was so effortless and real, it sometimes felt like these people were in my living room. If you're in the market for something heavy and thought-provoking, this one's worth a look.
Most recent customer reviews
This writer has a tremendously engaging voice.Read more
First off I have to say I was given this book by the author as part of a R2R group.Read more