Hue’s Reviews: White Fur

“A stunning star-crossed love story set against the glitz and grit of 1980s New York City” (Courtesy of Goodreads)

Jamey and Elise, two people, divided by class and life, meet in New Haven, CT. He’s a Yale student. She’s a wandering soul. Mix instant attraction and sexual obsession. Bake at 425º. Gorge on sex and drama. Expect no cool-off.

Neon. Michael Jackson. Fifty-thousand bracelets clinging for life on my arm. Good times, right? Throw in Reaganomics, poverty, and drug abuse around the country and nostalgia’s becomes unclean. Jamey and Elise live over their heads. None’s the wiser.

Jamey and Elise, two people, divided by class and life, meet in New Haven, CT. He’s a Yale student. She’s a wandering soul. Mix instant attraction and sexual obsession. Bake at 425º. Gorge on sex and drama. Expect no cool-off.

Neon. Michael Jackson. Fifty-thousand bracelets clinging for life on my arm. Good times, right? Throw in Reaganomics, poverty, and drug abuse around the country and nostalgia’s becomes unclean. Jamey and Elise live over their heads. None’s the wiser.

Jamey and Elise, two people, divided by class and life, meet in New Haven, CT. He’s a Yale student. She’s a wandering soul. Mix instant attraction and sexual obsession. Bake at 425º. Gorge on sex and drama. Expect no cool-off.

Neon. Michael Jackson. Fifty-thousand bracelets clinging for life on my arm. Good times, right? Throw in Reaganomics, poverty, and drug abuse around the country and nostalgia’s becomes unclean. Jamey and Elise live over their heads. None’s the wiser.

Libaire paints New Haven, CT and NYC as an observer of its residents. Via omniscient perspective, her narrator scoops us on the cities’ players. We survey their desires. We judge their mindsets. We nitpick at their habits. She dances on the lurid and putrid smells each scene drenches your skin. Blood. Sex. Vomit. Libaire leaves nothing to the imagination. I love writers appealing to our senses. As I read, I require a full picture to walk with the characters. I smell the funk and desperation. I hear the taxis. I see the lights sparkle as the night arrives. Libaire delivers.

As mentioned before, this couple lives beyond their mental means. They live a game daily. You wish the best, but you expect the worst. They’re barely in their twenties. A fool’s game. They obsess over themselves, while having nothing in common, but sex and danger. She’s barely literate and easily angered. He has one year of a Yale education and desiring acceptance. What else beyond obsession do they possess? Surely, this relationship cannot survive into their thirties. The piper will come for what he or she wants later. (I’m showing my age. I fell for the piper’s pit in my teens; so, I relate)

While I love this story, there’s a bit of a clunk. Libaire provides a delicious character in Elise. She owns her sexuality. She curses. She hustles. She’s a survivor. Cool. Here’s the thing: She would have worked better as a woman of color since Libaire pretty much put markers that, if you didn’t know any better, nuances one. Did she fear criticism, if she made this girl black or Puerto Rican, but substituted a white girl, despite giving her attributes of girls I grew up with in my neighborhood? You give her cornrows, slang, and mannerisms ringing black or Puerto Rican, but you make her white.

Big mark missed, Libaire. Big mark missed. Imagine the avenues journeyed if you pushed further. Elise, as she is, could go to Vidal Sassoon, fix her hair, and shop Macy’s, and the Pygmalion moment begins. She would have a better shot of acceptance, leaving class as the sole disdainful reason. But, if she was black or Puerto Rican, no matter the amount of Pygmalion moments, she would never earn acceptance. Thus, racial and class implications permeate the story.Oh well.

Still, the book entertains, even if a story about pushing boundaries walks a tightrope in characterization. 4/5.

*Thank you, Penguin and First to Reads for this reading opportunity in exchange for an honest review*

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