Monday, July 24, 2017

Book Review: Complementary Colors by Adrienne Wilder

Complementary Colors
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 fa├žade 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.

Jewel's rating:

What to say about this book! Complimentary Colors is utterly heartbreaking and amazingly breathtaking. I'm wrung out from reading it, but found the destination so worth the journey.

Is Complimentary Colors a romance? I'm not sure. There are romantic elements and the ending is happy (thank FSM), so maybe it is. But even more, Complimentary Colors is a technicolor tour of the demons haunting Paris Duvoe and his journey of clawing his way out of hell. The story is told entirely from his POV and I almost feel like I have lived a little in his hell. And my heart broke into so many pieces I wasn't sure it would recover.

Paris is an artist. On the surface he comes off as a bit eccentric if you don't know him. Paris, though -- he's a mess. Mental illness, trauma, evil sister, and a life that was never his own. Under the control of his sociopath older sister, Paris struggles with life and, often, he wished for it to end just so he could finally be free. But he paints. It's the only way to keep the monster at bay. He's not allowed to speak of his hell, so he paints it. Everyone always tells him his paintings are beautiful, but they're not. Not really. They tell a violent and tragic story in the negative space. No one sees. No one but Roy Callahan.

Roy doesn't travel in the same circles as Paris, at all. He's a man of very modest means and a painful past that he is trying his best to overcome. Even with his past, though, Roy still sees beauty in the world and in Paris. He also sees what Paris really paints and the pain spilled out on each canvas. Roy wants to know Paris. Wants to help him. Wants to love him. If only Paris will let him.

“Paris. Please let me love you. Even if it’s just for a little while. Even if it’s just this moment.”

Trying to hold Paris, though, is like trying to grab a hold of air. Paris didn't see his value and didn't think he deserved anything happy. And never took precautions for his own safety. He always thought it was all his fault. That the evil came from him. The truth is far more tragic, though, and twisted. I don't even want to begin to describe it.

Complimentary Colors was heavy. So heavy. And though Paris will always live with mental illness, he does get his peace. And he gets love. I'm calling that a win, for sure.

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