Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Lighter Shade of Gray, by Devon Pearse

For years, Devon watched her mother sink further and further into the mire of mental illness, and developed a fear that she would someday meet the same fate.  This fear let her to push away her one great love, the man for whom she fought so hard throughout her youth.  Now, ten years later, her best friend Cass is facing crisis.  Suspected to be involved with the murder of her sister's abusive boyfriend, Cass drags Devon into the tangled web of half truths and secrets.  But, it turns out, Devon has a few secrets of her own.  Can Devon reconcile her friendship, come to terms with her lost love, and deal with her mother's alternate reality?  And how do all these fractured parts of Devon's life make up the bigger picture?

I was cautioned by the publisher to heed each word that was written in this story, because each word was chose with purpose and meaning.  At 470 pages, this semi-autobiographical novel is a beast, yet the publisher was right, each and every word had an impact.  Because the book is semi-autobiographical, we learn quite a bit about the author's life, and are left to wonder what is fact and what is fiction (a process I with which I was fascinated).  Hemingway is mentioned as a particular literary favorite of Devon's, and I think he has a tremendous impact on her writing style.  That same lavish, deliberate use of words to create detail, and really paint a picture for the reader.

While the story does have a lot of major and minor plot points, they somehow make perfect sense to me.  Perhaps it is that blend of fact and fiction that makes it so.  We are dealing with mental illness, abuse, gang violence, murder, lost love, fractured relationships of all kinds; it is a lot to handle.  My favorite subplot was Devon dealing with the young girl Libby, who is hospitalized with Devon's mother.  Devon allows her identity to become somewhat enmeshed with Libby's, and it lends an incredibly poignant quality to the story.  I was pleased with the way that subplot was resolved in the end.

While this novel does contain qualities of a murder mystery, as well as a romance, it is so much more than that.  In many ways, it is a ghost story, with Devon haunted by the ghosts of love scorned, and memories past.  I think it will really appeal to fans of dramatic literature.  Do not let the 470 pages daunt you; for me, they seemed to fly past.  I just cannot say enough about how beautifully this book is written.  I hope many readers find this when searching for that other, lesser quality book, about shades of grey.

I received a review copy courtesy of TLC Book Tours.


  


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