Book Review “She” Michelle Latiolais

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A nameless fifteen-year-old runs away to Los Angeles, seeking life beyond the harsh constraints of her evangelical upbringing. She is the narrative of her passage, from her escape on a bus through her quiet, determined progress across the city’s unforgiving terrain. The journey takes her into and around the lives of Angelinos from all walks: a dancer whose hyperactive sense of smell makes her fiance’s presence insufferable; a penniless botanist who earns her keep creating sugar-icing flowers to decorate glamorous wedding cakes she can never afford; a dentist lamenting the abuses done to the teeth of a patient for whom he has cared dutifully. Her odd encounters, set against the backdrop of Los Angeles’s flagrant wealth, cast into relief its eccentricities and the everyday trials faced by its collection of lost souls. Together these stories reflect and refract one another, illuminating a poignant, unflinching portrait of loss and the search for identity in its wake.

She Cover

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First lines: She’d been home-schooled for ten years, and whipped for eleven, and tomorrow she would celebrate her fifteenth birthday. That’s why she’d come to Los Angeles, to turn fifteen alone and free in a city she’d never been to before. 

She is the insightful tale of a fifteen year old girl escaping a life that was intolerable. She flees to Los Angeles where she flits through the city like a wraith through a variety of peoples lives. These people seem to have nothing in common but all have a yearning for something. An unfulfilled goal. She slips into their lives and takes crumbs of each encounter with her as she glides through the best and worst of this giant city.

Latiolais’ writing is introspective and charged with emotional turmoil. These are characters you will find yourself very invested in. From the first page, the reality around me faded and my mind guided me along with the story. I felt what She felt. I saw the dumpy apartment and the sugar flowers littering every surface. I could smell the old mans home and see his loneliness float in the air like dust motes. I could hear the murmur of voices at the art opening and feel the pretentiousness tighten the air.

Latiolais has written a study of humanity. This story is intense and so beautiful in its rawness. This may well be one of my new favorite authors.

5 stars!

5 stars

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The Technical Data:

Title: She | Series:  N/A |  Author(s): Michelle Latiolais |Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company / Publication Date: 5-3-2016 |Pages: 256 (Print) | ISBN: 978-0393285055  | Genre(s): Literature & Fiction | Language:English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 8-1-2016 |Source: Copy from author

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