White Fur by Jardine Libaire
Publisher: Hogarth (30th May, 2017)
Disclaimer: A copy of White Fur was provided by the Publisher via TLC Book Tours to give an honest review and to take part in the tour
I just love these cover images!
I just love these cover images!
When Elise Perez meets Jamey Hyde on a desolate winter afternoon, fate implodes, and neither of their lives will ever be the same. Although they are next-door neighbors in New Haven, they come from different worlds. Elise grew up in public housing without a father and didn’t graduate from high school; Jamey is a junior at Yale, heir to a private investment bank fortune and beholden to high family expectations. Nevertheless, the attraction is instant, and what starts out as sexual obsession turns into something greater, stranger, and impossible to ignore.
The unlikely couple moves to Manhattan in hopes of forging an adult life together, but Jamey’s family intervenes in desperation, and the consequences of staying together are suddenly severe. And when a night out with old friends takes a shocking turn, Jamey and Elise find themselves fighting not just for their love, but also for their lives.
White Fur follows these indelible characters on their wild race through Newport mansions and downtown NYC nightspots, SoHo bars and WASP-establishment yacht clubs, through bedrooms and hospital rooms, as they explore, love, play, and suffer.
Jardine Libaire combines the electricity of Less Than Zero with the timeless intensity of Romeo and Juliet in this searing, gorgeously written novel that perfectly captures the ferocity of young love.
Set over the course of a year in 1986, 'White Fur' follows in monthly instalments the highs and lows of the relationship between Elise Perez and Jamey Hyde.
Written in third person dual POV narratives I found it easy to read with short paragraphed chapters, easy to pick up and put down at any point. Not a format, I appreciate will suit everyone but then again there's a a lot about White Fur that isn't going to be to everyone liking. More on that shortly.
Elise Perez comes from the poor housekeeping projects in New York City; doesn't know who her father is; doesn't attend school, and takes care of her half siblings while her mother shirks parental responsibilities to be with her abusive boyfriend. Elise makes a difficult decision to move out of the family home leaving her sisters in the care of her mother and boyfriend.
Jamie Hyde is a privileged rich kid attending Yale; shares a flat with his lifelong best friend and flatmate next to where Elise is now staying with a gay friend.
Jamey is rich and going places. He has class, breeding, is reserved and knows how to behave in polite company.
Elise has had a rough abusive life and lived the life of hard knocks. She is tough, a fighter, a force to be reckoned with, has no airs or graces. If someone's a dick she'll tell them they're a dick !
As a couple they're an odd mix, culturally and racially and have absolutely nothing in common, but there is a spark between them at their first meeting which continues to smoulder and flame. Their relationship is wild, explosive and sexually charged. She is wild, passionate and exhaustative sexually, a contrast to his previous inexperienced relationships. He's never met anyone quite like Elise. She makes him feel special and that she will do anything for him whenever he wants her to. Jamey is obsessed with her but equally frustrated by his inability to ignore this attraction and seems to resent her for it.
As their relationship matures and they learn more about themselves and each other the frantic sex gives way to a deeper intensity of emotions and understanding but as friends and family become increasingly involved and determined to drive a wedge between them will they be able to remain steadfast.
By way of a warning a good first half of the story describes graphically detailed sex scenes. Some readers may have difficulty here with such explicit powerful imagery projected, however it gives a sense and perspective of the transition from impulsive lust to meaningful love that these young lovers experience. With short, sharp paragraphing the details are quickly absorbed into your head leaving sometimes rather uncomfortable indelible imprinted images.
Gritty, and raw White Fur touches on some sensitive subject matter such as child physical abuse, under aged sex (rape), drug addiction and mental health issues. A fair amount of humour is in evidence throughout making this a less dark depressing read.
This is most definitely NOT what I would call a fluffy romantic read, it is a coming-of-age character driven love story following two young lovers over the course of a year as their relationship matures. Think of it as a contemporary 'Romeo and Juliet' with explicit sexual content. Overall, even though not a fan of the ending, I found it a compelling read and would definitely read more from this author.
About Jardine Libaire
Jardine Libaire is a graduate of Skidmore College and the University of Michigan MFA program, where she was a winner of the Hopwood Award. White Furis her second novel for adults. She lives in Austin, Texas.
TLC BOOK TOURS Schedule for Jardine Libaire's White Fur:
Tuesday, May 30th: Books and Bindings
Wednesday, May 31st: Thoughts on This ‘n That
Thursday, June 1st: Palmer’s Page Turners
Friday, June 2nd: Nightly Reading
Tuesday, June 6th: Kahakai Kitchen
Monday, June 12th: A Bookish Way of Life
Tuesday, June 13th: Life by Kristen
Wednesday, June 14th: I Brought A Book
Thursday, June 15th: Booksie’s Blog
Wednesday, June 21st: SJ2B House of Books
Thursday, June 22nd: From the TBR Pile
Monday, June 26th: Books a la Mode
Friday, June 30th: Fuelled by Fiction