"Camelia has stolen my heart...one of the best books I've ever read." --The Literary Connoisseur (theliteraryconnoisseur.blogspot.com)
"What would Camelia think about that?"
I wanted to tell Dr. Crazy that I couldn't be bothered with what Camelia would think, or want, or do. But every time I practiced the speech I crawled further inside what was left of my wilted, frayed cocoon and tried to block out the light. I'd betrayed her. I'd betrayed us both.
April MacMillan is drunk, standing on the roof of Three River Terrace seven stories up, ready to jump to her death, when she remembers Camelia.
Will the truth about Camelia save her? Or will it lead her back to the roof?
|Publisher:||Wayward Cat Publishing|
|Product dimensions:||5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.91(d)|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
To open up Camelia is to travel down a rabbit hole, but this particular tunnel does not lead to a gleaming, magical wonderland. It leads into the gray, chaotic and depressed mind of Eunice “April” MacMillan. The book begins with April drunk, semi-unclothed and standing on the roof of a building trying to collect the courage to jump. This is an apt metaphor for April’s entire existence – always perched on a precipice of ruin. April’s story is not about redemption and not about healing. It is a long, hard and often painful plod through the existence of an unreliable, selfish, depressed, self-destructive woman. Yet, somewhere within the darkness, author Dianna Dann is able to capture something real and meaningful. The first chapter of Camelia is merely a nettle of April’s confused ramblings briefly punctuated by updates on her questionable suicide progress. The following chapters thankfully become more coherent but no more pleasant. Readers ride shotgun with April as she struggles through life and seeks the truth behind her imaginary childhood friend, Camelia. April is a character who is impossible to love and easy to pity. She resists most attempts at help, resents the parents she relies on for shelter and money, and spends her nights drunk and uncouth, which leads to regular episodes of abuse and bad decisions. If you can’t tell already, I struggled with Camelia. Dann purposefully crafts an unlikable protagonist and asks us to find meaning and purpose in her painful existence. Dann’s writing, though often loose and wandering, is powerful nonetheless. April is achingly real, and it is a testament to Dann’s talent that there is something in April worth exploring and understanding. Dann also surrounds April with a cast of well-wrought and human characters, including her dysfunctional mother, the troubled Paulie and the drunks she lives with at a halfway house for a short period of time. There were times where I longed to put the book down or hesitated to pick it back up. Somewhere along the way, however, something changed. Perhaps it was a bit of Stockholm Syndrome, but I found that I understood April’s pain. I knew that girl; the girl who never grows up. I recognized April’s voice as an echo of my own worst demons, and perhaps that realization was what made this book worth the read. This book is not for everyone. Readers must wade through dark waters, but there is something very real in this journey that has the potential to touch deeply. When you learn the terrible secret behind Camelia, it is worth the wait. (This book was provided to Compulsion Reads by the author for review).