Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Review: Vain by Fisher Amelie

Vain by Fisher Amelie
Published December 24th 2012
Purchase: Amazon

About the book
If you’re looking for a story about a good, humble girl, who’s been hurt by someone she thought she could trust, only to find out she’s not as vulnerable as she thought she was and discovers an empowering side of herself that falls in love with the guy who helps her find that self, blah, blah, blah...then you’re gonna’ hate my story.

Because mine is not the story you read every time you bend back the cover of the latest trend novel. It’s not the “I can do anything, now that I’ve found you/I’m misunderstood but one day you’ll find me irresistible because of it” tale. Why? Because, if I was being honest with you, I’m a complete witch. There’s nothing redeeming about me. I’m a friend using, drug abusing, sex addict from Los Angeles. I’m every girlfriend’s worst nightmare and every boy’s fantasy.

I’m Sophie Price...And this is the story about how I went from the world’s most envied girl to the girl no one wanted around and why I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

My Thoughts
“You see, I’m one of the beautiful people. That truly sounds so odd to have to explain, but it’s the truth nonetheless. I’m beautiful, and it’s not because I have a healthy dose of self-esteem, though I have plenty of that. It’s obvious in the way I look in the mirror, yes, but even more obvious in the way everyone treats me. I rule this roost because I’m the most wanted by all the guys, and all the girls want to be my friend because of it.”

And that my friends is the lovely Sophie Price!! With such an honest introduction as that, what’s not to love about her?… don’t be fooled by her self assessment, she’s a character you’ll definitely come to care for because as with all beautiful and shiny things that are put on a pedestal - the fall is heartbreaking and surreal, which is exactly what happened here.

Vain is a journey of self discovery for Sophie Price who has lived a life of luxury, abandon and continual disregard for others. All of that comes to a crashing halt the night she’s caught with drugs for the second time. This socialite is arrested, and as a probationary penance is sentenced to six months of volunteer service at an orphanage. Throw in a couple of influential parents that are tired of their daughter’s blatant infringements, and that service takes her to Masego, Africa to serve out her term. While in Africa, she witnesses a whole new world where influence and material luxuries are superfluous to the basic needs of survival. Sophie is catapulted into a life where safety, food and warmth become primary needs over anything she’s ever had to worry about.

Overall, it was the high ratings for this book that caught my attention, but it was the story itself that made me a fan of Vain. I truly appreciated Sophie’s journey as she grows into her own person and comes to realize how shallow her life was before her service at the orphanage. Through her experiences, we discover that her high society life was made up of smoke and mirrors and we witness her transformation.

“My heart was in a perpetual state of sadness and the only relief I could find were in those cathartic cries. I lived a fragile existence. I knew it even then but feigning I didn’t was easier than embracing something so altogether daunting. If I faced what I truly created for myself, a life of debauchery and seedy fulfillment, I knew I couldn’t have lived another day and self preservation was much still alive in me.”

I appreciated how she embraced her situation and came to the realization of what her life was versus what she could make of it moving forward. Her self-discovery comes quickly upon landing in this new world she’s forced to embrace, and her discovery is heartbreaking.

“I was as bare as I could make myself, no makeup with wet, stringy hair. I hated to look at myself in this state. I didn’t feel real. I felt too exposed and that made me exceedingly nervous, but I made myself look that morning. I memorized that girl. That girl was the real me. Frightened. Worthless. A terrible friend. Terrible daughter. Well educated but so limited in ideas worth having. Beautiful yet repulsive.”

Despite the journey feeling rushed and somewhat off pace, I truly appreciated the messaging behind the novel. We see from a very shallow girl’s perspective a place and time that can balance beauty and pain with such intricate handling. Sophie represented it perfectly when she described the orphanage as:

“It is beautiful. It is horrifying.”

Sophie witnesses some pretty horrific situations and to see this girl have no escape or reprieve, I couldn’t help but feel compassion for her. I appreciated how she embraced her situation and eventually fell head over heels for the children. Her bond with Mandisa especially, gave me hope for that little girl's future. From these children, Sophie learned to embrace life from a different perspective. From them she learned:

“They choose to be happy though the obviously easier choice would be to be frightened or sad and they have a real reason to be those things as well. But they have life and faith and hope and love and they choose those things. Their innocence is addicting, their hope is catching and I’m happy to be surrounded by them.”

I can’t count how many times I expelled a deep sigh over the emotional moments in this novel. I also smiled quite a bit at the relationships that Sophie fostered, especially with Ian, Karina and Charles. There was tragedy in this novel, but most importantly there was vision for a better future for the lives that Sophie touched. The love story, which was amazing, took a back seat to the message this story symbolized, which was that beauty… the most important kind at least - is earned through your actions. And when that is realized, it’s the most fulfilling kind of beauty one can achieve.

“I’d been called beautiful so many times. It gratified me, validated me, but it was all empty, a façade. This was the first time someone had called me beautiful and it actually meant something to me. The praise slammed into my skin and permeated my body, leaving me flushed and overwhelmed.”

Absolutely gorgeous story, with so much depth and substance that I can’t give it enough justice. There were so many poetic and meaningful passages in this book that I only captured a fraction of them. I can’t wait to read more novels by this author. Extremely well done!

4.5 Suns

1 comment:

  1. Sounds beautiful! I love stories with depth and filled with emotions, great review!