Book Review: Arabelle’s Shadows by Fleur Gaskin

Arabelle’s Shadows by Fleur Gaskin (GR)

Published: November 19th 2012

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Goodreads: “Everything in Arabelle’s life is coming together. She has confidence, great friends, she’s even dating Naak, a wealthy Thai socialite. But there are too many models in Bangkok. Arabelle’s broke, she can’t find an agent in New York, and Naak isn’t as wonderful as he first appears. Slowly the Shadows creep back into Arabelle’s mind, bringing with them thoughts of hopelessness and despair. The vile Shadows know something Arabelle’s refusing to remember and, if she’s not careful, they’ll use it to destroy her. Based on a true story, Arabelle’s Shadows takes us on a journey through the struggles of growing up, not quite making it as an international model, and attempting to overcome a crushing depression.”

Review

I’m going to be totally honest here. As I was reading the book I had no freaking idea what the ending would be like or what message the book was supposed to pass to the readers, if there was one. We have Arabelle, a failing model who is trying to get her life up together and become a famous model, while fighting a depression. But then I started thinking, and wasn’t it shocking when I found out the book was making me think, I finally found a book that made me freaking think!

hallelujah  - Hallelujah Squirrel

You must be wondering what kind of reader I am. Well, I read fast, like, I usually read a book in 2 days, 3 max., and I only take longer when I don’t like the book I’m reading and it’s just dragging along. This book took me longer to read not because it was bad. It took me so much time because it was simply stunning in its simplistic writing and because the story just kept giving be fodder for thought. I read a chapter and I often stopped, not just reading, I actually stopped and stared into nothing and just though. I was pleasantly surprised!

Now, about what happens in the book. Arabelle is not a strong woman. She is fragile, that can be easily broken and, like what happened with me, can get under your skin. To be honest, she can be downright annoying sometimes but then, you get to the next page and find out another thing about her that makes you understand why she does certain things. Throughout the book we are always switching from the present to flashbacks and vice versa. However, these switches weren’t confusing at all and I always knew were I was standing in the story. They were essential to understand Arabelle’s past and her behaviour in the present. What might put some people off was that the scenes changed too much. We are in the present but suddenly we are reading about her childhood and then we are knowing about her travelling years (she travelled a lot when she was at the beginning of career). This was the only bad thing I found in the book because the scenes always changed when I was focused in the present and something big was happening. God, how I just wanted to pass those parts to just get to the present but then I started reading and just became engrossed with another part of her life. And on it went…

On thing that made me laugh was the fact that, even though Arabelle meets with a lot (and I say A LOT) of people through the book I was able to remember every single one of them. It was like I was living there with her meeting her friends. Damn, if a model life is like that I don’t know if I would cope with it. Too crowded for me. Anyway, one thing that left me with my jaw at my feet was when Arabelle says ” I’m rarely attracted to people”. Puh-lease. Throughout the book she is always falling in love. It probably is because of her fragile state of mind but she gets easily attached to people and most of the book is about her relationships. That kind of shocked because it was the biggest lie she could tell herself. However, this was before the actual story is set but even then she got attached to people real fast.

But what made Arabelle likable then if she was as weak as I described before? It was how real she was. On of my favourite quotes is

“I’d been waiting for the right person to come along. I wish I could tell you that I waited longer. That my first time was something special. I can’t.” 

Even though she is ashamed of it, Arabelle doesn’t end up hiding the stuff she’s not proud of. She bares it all in her diary and tries to live with no regrets. However, this doesn’t happen and she gets often depressed. But she always manages to get herself together and fight her Evil Shadows as she calls them.

But this book is not all about depression and sad thoughts! God, if it was I would also be depressed by the end. No, it has his moments of humour (even though some were included in sad times for Arabelle).

“I think he’d finally gotten the message when Mum began leaving “The Idiots’ Guide to Divorce” lying on the kitchen  table.”

*SPOILER* *SPOILER**SPOILER* *SPOILER**

In the end, after reading about so many characters and, even though I knew them all, I had some trouble finding out who Arabelle ended up with. It wasn’t much of a shock to me not who it was but the fact that it was a girl. Arabelle is always saying that she prefers women but wow, I did not expect her to end up with who she ended up with.

On another note, I totally approve of the course she was planing on taking by the end of the book. Of course, I’m only saying this because I’m actually taking that same course! Oh the coincidence! International Relations seems like the perfect thing for her to study in my opinion given that she has travelled so much and has so many important acquaintances in so many parts of the world.

4.5 Chibis

*Arabelle’s Shadows was provided by the author in exchange of a honest review.*

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