Book Thoughts: Paint it Black


I’m trying to think of other things to do on here, but my life has not been that interesting as of late.  Also I’m still learning my way around wordpress. The Highlight of my week is that I applied for graduation! It’s official now. School is in full swing again now and things are getting crazy. I will try to think of more creative book related or writing related post but until then here is another review for you!

                                  “What happened to a dream without a dreamer?

I have heard many positive reviews for White Oleander by Janet Fitch and if Paint it Black is an indication of Janet Fitch’s writing style, then I will definitely be reading more from her.

Paint it Black takes us back in time to 1980s Los Angeles. Josie Tyrell left her home in rural Bakersfield for the L.A. punk scene. She makes a living as an art model and a student film actress. She attends rock shows, and wild after parties. That is the life she knows and she is comfortable with it. Then she meets and falls in love with Michael Faraday. He introduces her to the world of art, poetry, classical music, and literature. Michael makes Josie feels worthy and valuable and begins to dream of a life of glamour and sophistications. Then she receives news that Michael has committed suicide and with that call Josie’s dreams and heart come shattering down. She develops a strange relationship with Meredith, Michael’s famous pianist mother. Although, each of them blames the other for Michael’s death, they are both equally left battered by it. Josie must find a way to pick herself up from the darkness threatening to harm her life and find a way to rebuild.

Paint it Black’s darkness makes it very difficult to read at times. Suicide is a personal subject for me, and I could understand Josie and Meredith‘s pain. Janet Fitch handles grief in such a raw and open way that for anyone who has ever lost someone especially to suicide relives that pain through Josie. The feelings of blame, regret, and confusion were so real that I had to step away from it for a bit.

I’ve read many books about grief; however, none of them touched me the way that Paint it Black did, and I think that is because of Fitch’s writing. There is some truly gorgeous writing here with some insightful metaphors and beautiful descriptions that allow for some beauty to a tragic story. I can’t say that I loved the characters, but I was invested in their story. I liked how despite Josie’s grief her personality is still visible. She is a girl with a rough life who thought she had found release only to spiral into something deeper and darker than she could have imagined. There were times when I didn’t like her decisions, but I was always rooting for her. In the end, Fitch doesn’t give her the happy ending, but she leaves her in a good place.

Overall a solid read, and I look forward to reading White Oleander.

Side Note: If any of you are on Goodreads Janet Fitch is leading the discussion for Pain it Black on the F-word group  forum.

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