I picked it up at the library. It was on the corner aisle and I liked the title, flipped it open and fell in love with the prose, so I brought it home. And now, a few hours later, I think I’m done with it. Why?
I love the premise, the small town on the coast setting. I like Violet—the way she repeatedly uses the word “damn” and the way she describes her world. I’m even okay with the furry-toothed creature living in a tunnel.
And I love the prose. “Our town was small enough that I never developed a healthy fear of strangers. To me, they were exciting things, gift-wrapped and full of possibilities, the sweet smell of somewhere else wafting from them like perfume. And so River West, stranger, didn’t stir in me any sort of fear, only a rush of excitement, like how I felt right before a really big storm hit, when the air crackled with expectation.”
And, “I was beginning to feel stupid, like some dumb girl who opens her mouth and lets all her thoughts fall out.” Who hasn’t felt like that?
So, why did I put it down on page 63? Because Violet did something that no heterosexual, seventeen year old girl could ever do. She took a NAP with a boy that she just met that morning. A boy she likes. A “strong, lean” brown-eyed boy with “been-in-the-summer-sun-every-day skin.” She lies down on a sofa, her back pressed into his torso, and falls asleep for hours.
So not happening.
I’ve been napping for more than half a century and I can tell you that if a boy I liked asked me to lay next to him for a nap—it wouldn’t happen. I might pretend to sleep. And maybe if I hadn’t slept in days and days it could happen, but more than likely, I’d be thinking about my knees and how they bump together, and wondering where to put my hands, and worried that my hair would tickle his nose. My mind would race and so would my blood and sleep just wouldn’t happen.
So, even though April Genevieve Tucholke writes sentences as beautiful and mysterious as her name, I’m pretty sure I’m done with this book.
I actually went to the library to pick up two books, Kathryn Harrison’s Enchantments: A novel of Rasputin's daughter and the Romanovs and Robert Alexander’s Rasputin’s Daughter, because the story brewing in my head—the book that I know how it ends and how it starts but haven’t a clue what happens in between—will have something to do with Rasputin…and the Pre-Raphaelites…even though their glory days happened decades apart…and on different continents.
Maybe falling asleep beside a boy with a straight nose, a crooked smile and panther hips isn’t as improbable as Rasputin meeting the Pre-Raphaelites…
But no. It totally is.