Hopelessness dims this poignant tale of a young woman’s tumultuous, modern American life.
Vera Violet, as she’s called by her boyfriend, Jimmy James Blood, lives a life of misery. In this depressing narrative darkened by doom, she knows only poverty, drugs, murder and incest. The sense of despair weighs heavily; perhaps too heavily for some readers. But those who persevere will be rewarded with an eloquent description of today’s desensitized, emotionally detached youth. Drugs and absent parents are mostly to blame, according to Anne, although unexplored causes, like technology and culture on a larger scale, could also play a part. Frequent drug use mirrors James Fogle’s sobering autobiography, Drugstore Cowboy, a term Anne frequently references in her debut. From the gloom of Washington state, where the timber industry rules, to the rotting bowels of St. Louis, Vera sees despondency in the clouds and pain in the stars while she sinks into the helpless feeling that her future holds nothing more than agony. Nonetheless, she lives on to take solace in the small things: her oxblood boots, which serve as her special connection to Jimmy James, the love of her life; and cherished memories of Colin, her troubled brother. Anne’s powerful storytelling startles readers with its unapologetic bleakness. Her crafting, although gray and humorless, candidly frames the drifting characters in a snapshot of life outside the confines of comfort.
An intense, lyrical portrait of America's vulnerable underbelly.