Sparkling water fanatic. Lover of random crap. Goodreads member curious to see if the grass really is greener on the other side.
I love when book characters or experiences take me back in time to moments which make me smile, and I'm not just talking about the shopping cart ride scene in this book.. The male lead of Painted Faces could have easily been one of a few past male friends (If you've never had a male friend who thinks it's peachy to constantly stare at your boobs and ask for sex repeateadly, I almost kind of feel sorry for you in a weirdly backward way.). Oh, well, except for the drag queen part. This isn't to say that I never brushed elbows with some hot guys in drag (I am a northern California native, after all), but I never had one for a BFF. Darn.
Speaking of northern Cali...the mention in this book of one of the characters managing a club in San Francisco had me immediately recalling memories of a club I'd gotten to experience in the city by the bay - Finocchio's - which sadly closed not long after I was old enough to go, but I'm thankful to have gotten a chance to have gone before the legend was put down. *sniff* It was there that I had my first crush on a man in drag. True Story. I could so tell that he was hot under the dress. I would've hit that.
Because of this memory, it was super easy to imagine Nicholas (a male impersonating a female) in my head. I just went back in time and pictured my crush on fake-Madonna (hell, he was way hotter than actual Madonna, who I never found attractive), and then I was able to understand why Freda was able to see through the high heels and corsets to the masculine sexiness underneath. When a person has the confidence to be who they want to be, sometimes that's sexier than any cookie-cutter portrayal of what's perceived as normal.
Even though I was grinning while lost in memories past, this doesn't mean that the story was a light read. There were real moments, emotional moments at that. Both Freda and Nicholas (or Fred & Viv, as their nicknames appeared to switch genders) had internal struggles. Freda was a healthy, beautiful woman who'd been made to feel less than others for being size 14. Nicholas was a straight male who needed the escape of becoming a woman to cope with past trauma. Neither one knew how to let the other in, but they both wanted to connect. In a way, it was so sweetly endearing to watch. Freda's insecurities didn't annoy, but instead showed the true musings of a woman who knew that she should think of herself better, but didn't know how. Her hesitance in this book was one of the few times where I completely got why a person would guard their heart.
Nicholas/Viv was a cad, but still a loveable cad. He had his moments worthy of a slap across the face, but the reader could see plain as day that he did view Freda as someone special, someone he felt unworthy of. Sometimes the stories about damaged people can get tiring, but there is something about watching two people helping each other heal which can be beautiful if pulled off right. This is one of those times where it worked for me.
The mood was dead-perfect for what I'd been wanting to read. Contemporaries rarely resonate with me, but this one did on many levels. Nicholas had these flashes of himself when he'd say or do something which would make me respond emotionally, as if I could imagine what it would be like to be in Freda's place in that exact moment. The scene where he put his hand on her neck was drawn beautifully.
Have you ever read a book and almost wanted to gag over a character internalizing their feelings for another character? On the flip side, have you ever read a book where you witnessed a character internalizing their feelings for another character and had that moment of - OH MY GOD, MY HEART. I GET THESE FEELS.
I had instance number two of those two previous examples happen to me.
I love him because he makes me laugh when I don't feel like laughing.
I love him because he challenges my view of what a man is.
I love him because I know I shouldn't love him and that he'll break my heart.
I love him because he's a complete and total anomaly.
I love him because I want to kill the sadness inside him more than I want anything else in the world.
I don't know if the last sentence actually counts as a reason you'd love someone, but I'm not going to nitpick because the emotion behind it is beautiful. :p
The book cover of Painted Faces states : An Unconventional Tale of Love.
Sometimes, unconventional kicks conventional's ass.
Minor complaints : some editing and typo issues, but they were minimal.