I find it hard to believe that you actually wanted me to read this book. After all of the chats we had about my feelings towards M/M romance novels, I was shocked. I debated for weeks on how I was going to review A Charm of Finches, I came up with nothing. In the end all I could come up with was this letter for you that I am sharing with anyone who chooses to read it.
There’s one thing I need you to understand before you read this. . .Men who secretly cheat on their female spouses with other men has caused a crisis in the black community of America. It is one of the top ways black women are contracting HIV. I have been a witness to it since I was a child. I have seen it destroy families, even my own. When I read An Exaltation of Larks something in me could no longer enjoy that story, no matter how well it was written, and it was written beautifully. If I would have known the storyline more, I never would have read it. From a cultural and personal standpoint it is impossible. I didn’t want to read A Charm of Finches and for the longest, I told myself I wouldn’t.
One day I woke up and knew that there was no way I could not read a book written by you, so I decided to do something about it. I read two M/M romance novels (I did not enjoy them) to clear my mind and find a way to see the love story and not the sex. That’s when I contacted you and you sent me the book. I had no exception of what would or would not happen but damn it woman!!!!! You could have warned me!!!!!!
Why would you send me a story like A Charm of Finches? I mean. . . FUCK! It’s been almost two months since I read it the first time and I still get all teary-eyed now.
No, seriously, THANK YOU for sharing your words with me. This was the BEST book I’ve read in forever.
Geno, he broke my heart. His story is gut wrenching. The hardest thing about his story is that even though A Charm of Finches is a work of fiction, what happens to him is something that is happening to other boys today. To think of someone going through that is devastating. Geno’s words hung in the air for me because some of them were familiar. I’m not going to go into details but I was hurt too, as a girl. Not to the same degree as Geno’s but hurt just the same. My older sister as well.
“I’m really scared that I’m just fucked up for life.” – Geno
I feel into a wee bit of depression after I finished reading the book. I know that may sound weird but I pushed so much of my own story aside in order to function as a normal human being for so long and somehow this book brought them back. It took me a little bit over a week to realize what was going on with me and why I was so sad everyday. I was starting to feel that emotional pain again and it hurt like hell.
It also didn’t help that I had to go to work and see so much pain on my patients and families face. The trauma ICU is no bitch and not for the weak. It became too much. Between work, family, and school, my own personal feeling are not relevant or conducive to my everyday life. I’m not like Stef – I don’t have the luxury of being alone for more that a hour to decompress.
What was one more tragic scene in this story? You piled pain on top of pain and eventually it plateaued out. The only thing to do was not care. When it became clear Geno wasn’t going to die anytime soon, it became clearer never living again was the only way to survive.
You have no idea how close I felt to Geno at that moment. I felt the same way at one point in my life. The only thing that me want to live again was when I found out I was pregnant with my son. If I never got pregnant, who knows how bad off I would have been.
“You’re going to be a huge voice in the world.”
Jav nodded. “I think your story has a lot of power. It can be the kind of thing that. . .”
“The kind of thing that builds an empire.” – Jav/Geno
Just an FYI, I was ready to hate Javier, I really wanted to hate him. In the end, I understood him. Now, I love him, even though he pissed me off in book one. Javier, he is a beautiful person. He willingness to give and receive love was inspiring. Even though I will never be #TeamJavier because he broke my trust, he still holds a wee bit of space in my heart.
There was two moments with Stef that will forever stay with me.
I can be sympathetic to your pain. But I do not have to feel it for you. – Stef
Do you have any idea how many times I say something similar to myself at work? It’s hard sometimes to pretend not to care deeply about what my patients are going through. I try to lie to myself and say I don’t care but impossible not to. People think I’m mean when they tell me someone they know died and I have little to no reaction. But if I allowed myself to care for too long I would break.
“…you don’t have to take him on.”
“Yes, I do.”
“Yes, I do.” – That was all it took for me to break. Those three simple words that probably don’t mean much to most people. I want you to know that I got it. Thank you for adding that to this story.
You told me once that this was a very important story to tell. You were right. It is. I don’t know if me writing this letter to you will encourage someone to brave and pick up this book and read it. Just know that it was important to me and I hope that is enough for now.
I read that book you recommended. It was good, eye opening but not 100% convincing. Not surprising because I’m a cynic.
Keep on writing because I need a new book to read!
Danielle – your favorite messy bitch! xoxo
TTYL, lovers. . .
Follow all things messy. . .
A good story absorbs you into another world, where you meet characters so believable, you’re pissed off you can’t call them to have coffee. Or take them to bed.
You don’t want just another “contemporary romance.” You don’t want a genre. You want a story that mirrors your longing. You want to see the unspoken words in your heart on the page. You want to be touched and validated. You want to be swept up in a love that erases the universe and sets you at the center of a new galaxy, where you don’t have to do a damn thing. But you’re no fool… You want it to be believable.
I want that, too. I want to write passionate but thoughtful love stories. Some readers call my work Therapy Fiction. Others call it Contemporary Train Wreck. I like to call it Emotionally Intelligent Romance.
Now come over here. Let me tell you a story. What will you call it?