Adult Fiction Books Reviews

A Lighter Shade of Gray by Devon Pearse a TLC Book Tour

First of all, don’t be confused with another title with the word Gray in it; THIS has nothing to do with THAT. That said, let’s explore A Lighter Shade of Gray.

What struck me most interesting about the novel was the use of color:  To be sure, we all remark that the sky is blue or that our mood is blue and we are generally understood.  The use of color in this novel was not the same, however.  Upon reading the novel I am reminded of  Dr. Oliver Sacks and his research regarding neurological conditions in humans.  One especially interesting condition is synesthesia  in which the brain does things that other people’s brains do not, and usually in a good and unique way, like seeing words as colors or musical notes as colors, etc.  Devon, the main character’s mother often describes her experiences in color.  Devon’s mother also suffers from a mental illness, and although we’re not told exactly what it is (dementia? schizophrenia?), we wonder if the disease causes the color experiences.

Here’s an example of what a synesthete might see:

If this were Devon’s (or Lilibet’s) only tale, it would still be a troubling one.  Mixed in with and a tad confusing is Devon’s relationships with her friends.  Devon’s friends are a ragtag group of mixed ethnicity, none of whom seem to be able to hold down a job, like our protagonist.  Lack of income, however, does not seem to stop any of the characters from experiencing a full life.  Somehow, through these friends, Devon gets mixed up with the police and gang violence.  Our heroine, however, never seems to be troubled by the crime that surrounds her friends’ community and freely moves from her  community to her friends’ African American community with ease.  On a bike. Devon’s only possessions seem to be her rapier wit, her bike, her memories, and a stuffed hyena. Named Smiley.

You can’t help but like a woman who has a stuffed hyena.  The question is: Why?  Why does she like stuffed hyena? How did she become so kooky as to want to acquire a hyena?  You can suppose she’s quirky and eccentric because of her upbringing: bookstore owning father and musician for a mother.  But yet those factors don’t add up to a quirky person, do they?  Not to me they don’t.  According to my math, Devon would be more like Martha Stewart or Jane Austen, more of a highbrow type and not a quirky loner eccentric.

But don’t get me wrong, Devon is a strong woman and I like her; most of the time.  The best line in the book comes from Devon, when she is verbally harassed by the misogynistic Marcus: he offers her some of his sexual prowess and she tells him to let her know when he “straps it on”.  You can’t help but snigger at a comment like that, especially because you don’t expect it from her!  It’s funny and the scene helps us to see her character.

There’s so much going on in this book: almost too much to follow, including a murder to solve.  I might have enjoyed it better if the author by the same name had stuck to the loved and lost tale that is so incredibly moving.

Still.  I enjoyed the book and give it two paws.




p.s. i forgot to add Devon’s snap. Aint she cute?  (sigh) i KNOW.

Adult Fiction Books Reviews

With My Body by Nikki Gemmell – TLC Book Tour

My thoughts were scattered and mixed while reading With My Body by Nikki Gemmell. At first, the book felt like a coming of age tale about a middle aged housewife; appropos considering Pammypam is of a certain age. After a while though, I found myself not liking the book. At all.

To be sure I loved the settings of England and Australia: the differences in climate between the two locales as different as the lives of a young woman and a middle aged woman. I could not, however, enjoy the sexual escapades of a teenage girl. Call me a prude, call me whatever you want, but I found I just could not enjoy the story as I felt I was supposed to. Had the main character been several years older I might have felt differently but as it was, the scenes felt dirty, improper, and wrong.

The reader may have difficulty separating the age of the main character from the story but BUT BUT if you can, I believe you may enjoy the intimate scenes and literary interludes. Ive not read the Tirology of Trash known as 50 shades of Gray, but I can suppose that the trilogy cannot hold up under the microscope when compared to Gemmell’s intelligent interpretation of famous books about sexuality.

I also would have liked the author To allow us more insights into the life of a bush person. Knowing nothing of Australia and her people, I imagine everyone to look and sound like The Wiggles; is that true? Are the characters Caucasian like my beloved Greg or darker like the somnambulant Jeff? Or was that the point, to keep the ethnicities vague?

Do not let my words keep you from enjoying With My Body. There may be something there that you will enjoy. Plus, a good book invites discussion and differences of opinion and there are sure to be differences of opinion by readers of Gemmell’s latest book. This book should be enjoyed drinking your favorite beverage and or on vacation, which, coincidentally, is exactly how I finished it. It is a decadent read, sure to make you think.

I give the book two paws, mostly because I couldn’t get past the teen sexuality bit.