The Dark Light of Day
My Facebook crew started talking about this book on Friday and it appeared to be putting them in an emotional frenzy. Dark, and crazy sounding (but not our “usual” dark read – no kidnappers or Stockholm syndrome in this one), but either way, their enthusiasm alone had me jumping on it! And I was already “in”, on my way to purchase the book, but once I read this part in the synopsis…
Homeless, sleeping in a junkyard, and on the run from a system that has failed her over and over again, she meets Jake, a tattooed blue-eyed biker with secrets that rival her own.
Two broken souls that can’t be healed. They can’t be saved.
My TBR list shifted in a hurry! I hadn’t even started reading it yet, but it was already giving me that “Finding Home” feel… and maybe even a touch of “Poughkeepsie“. And I LOVED those. Especially the initial stages of the wariness that eventually develops into a soul-deep friendship. I don’t know what it is about “street” living reads, but I’m always riveted. Young people that had to grow up fast. Seventeen is not so “seventeen” when they’ve seen it all (and experienced it, too). Their way of life, who they are and what brought them there… their fight to survive, the dangers they come across, and the friends they make. Where they go from here. I just can’t get enough!
Jody: I am currently reading ‘The Dark Light of Day’ and wow! It is a little dark but so well written. I am loving Jake and Abby.
Kristi: Jody! This book is so good!! I was BLOWN away after reading this. It is a tough book to read for sure but so well written. Read it everyone, you will not be disappointed!! It is heartbreaking, brutal, a little twisted and tragically beautiful!
Sally: Hey Ladies I just wanted to share my status update from Goodreads just so you can understand how much this book is affecting me.”I’m 59% done with The Dark Light of Day by T.M. Frazier, I NEVER EVER had to walk away and take a minute. I seriously need to right now. I have certainly read worse situations, I love dark reads. But this author has me feeling EVERYTHING ! This is not like me at all!” I wish I could take credit for finding this gem but it was my friends Kristi & Julie from right here on Maryse’s page that told me I MUST read it & they were so right! It you like dark reads, GREAT story telling, GREAT characters then I highly recommend you put this on your TBR’s like YESTERDAY! Please remember it’s dark ladies and if you have triggers please consider yourself warned.
Amy: Sally , I read it last week and I totally know how you were feeling when you had to walk away . It was so heartbreaking and I had to close my eyes and just fall apart. Never has a book made me feel that way before , definitely a dark read , but I thought it was Amazing !!
Maryse: Oh YAY!!! Did I make it into the group read? This is the one I picked up this evening, and am getting back to tonight. Now I’m freaked (but absolutely wanna continue)!
Kristi: Can’t Wait to hear your thoughts!!!!!
Sally: Maryse I PROMISE you will LOVE IT!! Please please read it ASAP Update Ladies, I just finished the book & before I did my review I just wanted to jump in here and say it was WITHOUT A DOUBT one of the best books I have read in 2013.
Emma: I loved it and am trying to write my review. Had every feel I want in a book!
Sally: Yesssss! I knew you would love it!
Sally: I’m dying to see Maryse’s thoughts she is reading it now.
Maryse’s Book Blog: I finished it! It was great!! Weirdly enough, I feel like saying it had that “Sweet Gum Tree” feel but so much darker… and then… not.
Erin: Maryse really?!?! I loved Sweet Gum Tree and to have a dark book like that. Wow!!! I can’t wait now!!!
Kathy: I would never thought to compare it to Sweet Gum Tree, but I totally get it! They do have a similar feel. Loved both of them.
Whaaaa? I’m comparing it to “The Sweet Gum Tree”? I know… I feel off my rocker even saying these two had a similar… I dunno… feel? Yep. There’s just something about this one that brought me back to that one. It’s the weirdest thing, to compare it to “The Sweet Gum Tree” ’cause, outwardly, it’s so NOT like it at all. Don’t go into this thinking it has that soft, serene yet emotionally “angsty” feel like Sweetgum did.
‘Cause this one… is SO different, in that, it is darkly detailed, their thoughts so angry and coarse. It’s explicit. And some of the characters (from their past, and some from their present) are pure evil. I mean the sickest of the sick. The most depraved. People you should trust and love, people that should love you… the most basic of all emotional attachments, destroyed. Life is not perfect and not everyone is meant to be a parent. Some do evil things to protect evil people (out of love or obligation), and some do evil things simply because they are inherently evil.
Reading this, you have to be prepared for that.
So what’s it about? Seventeen year old Abby comes from a horribly abused and neglected childhood. Raised by drug-addicted parents that had no qualms letting her know she wasn’t wanted. But she was used and tortured.
Dad may have thought his form of discipline had taught me some sort of f#&ed-up lesson. The only thing it really did was make me cold and numb.
Yet one day, something happens and she is finally free. However, that feeling of freedom from fear is snatched away from her once she was put into the foster-care system and the abuse continues. And then, into her grandmother’s care where she is finally allowed to live and be loved like a child should. But she is so damaged that she’s never completely “normal”. She can’t be touched. She hides. She’s unable (and unwilling) to really socialize. She has a “sort of” friend or two, but nothing deep, or personal. Nothing real.
I avoided them because I knew I didn’t belong. Not only in the town, not only with the kids from my high school.
I didn’t belong anywhere.
But at least she finally has love and structure.
During my entire life, nobody had wanted me on my very best behavior. Nan wanted me at my worst, and sometimes that was exactly what she got. I had come such a long way in my four years with Nan.
When her grandmother dies months before she turns eighteen, the foster system comes knocking. She runs away to hide in a local junkyard (her grandmothers truck is there) where she hopes to have enough time to gather her wits, form a plan and escape the “system” until she’s legal. That is, until the junkyard owner’s 22 year old son, Jake, finds her. He’s a bad-ass, no-nonsense biker with a huge chip on his shoulder and his own dark secrets. And I mean DARK.
I contributed nothing and took everything. But to be fair about it, I also expected nothing from the godless world that ripped me apart at every turn.
And her one “sort of” friend warns her away from him.
“You don’t want to chat with the likes of him,” Owen said. “He may be from around here, but he ain’t like us.”
“That makes two of us,” I said quietly.
But there’s just something about him that calls to her. And something about her that calls to him…
I expected nothing, until the night I met a certain redhead with an attitude.
The night I met Abby Ford, my life changed forever.
And I’m going to stop there. The rest is a crazy ride (and that part was crazy enough already)!
Where they’ve come from, what they’ve seen, who they’ve loved and who they’ve lost. What they’re struggling with just to survive. He, at first seems unredeemable. And her past and her inability to trust… insurmountable. Terrible pasts for both of these characters, they have a serious FTW attitude on life. With good reason.
And yet in all of the dark moments, there is a culminating beauty, a richness… potential for true happiness, mending their broken souls, and ours that have been breaking as we “lived” some of it with them. Despite the detailed memories that will turn your stomach and a few present-day horrific scenes (that are vividly described), there is a beauty that is forming each step of the way. Sometimes ripped away, just as we’re feeling beginning to feel better, and yet… in the background it continues to grow and shed light over their darkness.
This is definitely a case of “never judge a book by it’s cover” (people-wise). Misplaced trust in those that “appear” good proved to her that nobody can be trusted… ever. And yet, trusting in someone that society would *think* should never be trusted (and rightly so, this guy is NO saint… you just wait and see), just might be the most healing gift of all. And then sometimes, those that totally proved untrustworthy, come around again. They’ve got their own sad story, you see…
I’ve just “come off” of this book so star-wise, I’m fluctuating. I dunno. I loved that personal connection that came through from start to finish (although I think I needed even more of it – at least in the initial stages – for me to get all intense about that aspect). But I felt them. I was there.
And yet, at times it was just so dark. At times I wondered just how realistic all of the crazy was. Not that fiction has to be realistic, mind you, so what am I talking about? It’s just that sometimes it was above and beyond “crazy”. Like… how could this happen? Over and over again? How does somebody survive that? And if they survived it, how do they not end up absolutely out of their mind and institutionalized?
But… again. What do I know? I’ve read some true-life autobiographies that have horrified me, and yet they’ve lived to tell about it and are perfectly, socially “normal” despite the scars from the trauma and all of what’s lurking beneath. So I went with it. Crazy, unimaginable, over-the-top, even… and yet, I suppose… possible.
And despite my trepidation, there was just something about that second half that took this from “dark-read-like” to “Sweetgum-Tree-like” that I LOVED so much. The feel of it, the change as the story came to it’s completion… I connected to. Loose ends tied up wonderfully, even logically (despite a few “out there” situations, mind you ). But still… stuff that even had me grinning in it’s gruesomeness, and comforting me even in it’s *crazy*. Things come full circle. An “awareness” that will warm your heart.
But don’t get me wrong. This one still sticks with all of it’s gritty right to the end.