I expected a lot from 'Paint it Black' based on Finch's first novel, 'White Oleander', but I was disappointed with not only the content but also the style. While White Oleander was rich in themes and artistic elements, I found Paint it Black very shallow in comparison. However, as far as alluding to detailed images, and promoting participation on the readers behalf in creating those images, this book is successful.
I have gone back and read White Oleander at least once a year since I first read it six years ago. Paint it Black was a struggle to get through. I finished it, but that was more out of respect to the book than my own desire to finish it. It has glimmers of what made White Oleander so amazing, but it doesn't capture the same soul.
It dragged a little and was very depressing but I am very glad that I read this! It makes me so thankful that my significant other is still alive. I definitely suggest this book to others but only if you are prepared for a slightly dark look at life.
In the end: definitely worth the few hours it will take you to finish!
Fitch's first book, White Oleander, was on Oprah's list. It was one of my favorites of Oprah's picks. I read/listened to this book because of that, and I was not disappointed. Her second book, Paint It Black, is as good as her first.
I am still not sure how I felt about this book. It is definitely not as good as White Oleander however, I did feel compelled to read the whole book to see how Josie turns out in the end. It is a dark read as the characters are grappling with a suicide of a loved one.
i felt this book was good with the same descrtive elements of "white oleander" and similar themes of abandonment and self-preservation. although i did ultimately enjoy "white oleander" more, i did like her version of the early 80s punk scene, and her sensual writing style.
"Paint It Black" is a brutal portrayal of a woman who can't mourn in the culturally acceptable way. I read reviews that complained about Josie being self absorbed and how this novel droned on and on and on - depression is a self absorbed condition/desease and when the death is so unexpected, it's hard to believe that someone can easily move on and find someone else. If you don't understand depression and if you don't understand grief on a larger scale, this book will probably bore you and piss you off a bit.
I loved this book not only for a beautifully brutal portrayal of little seen grief, but also for the cultural references that were mentioned in regards to the shaping of this character and how they blended with her moods.
I saw that what some reviewers didn't understand was the eventual relationship between Josie and Meredith; to someone who knows what it's like to have nowhere else to go and no one else to turn to, this relationship, as uncomfortable and just plain odd as it may be, makes sense. These two women were the only ones who had any idea of what the other was going through; this helps them slowly barrel through their hatred and distrust for each other.
I saw this book as a description of a young woman who finally found something meaningful in her life and had it ripped away without warning, which lead to a total upheaval of her life. This book is about her struggle to obtain some semblance of a life of/on her own. It is a painful read but well worth the time it takes to read it.
Hina A. reviewed Paint It Black (Audio CD) (Abridged) on
This book was too dark, too depressing and the main character needed to get over herself. Well-written, but not suitable for enjoyment or anyone with a positive attitude towards life. This was a book club read for me, I would never pick this book up and now having read it, wouldn't read anything else by Janet Fitch again. Would not recommend.
This has got to be one of the most descriptively, dark, eye-opening books I have ever read. I tried to think of one part that truly stood out to me, and my mind just kept jumping from scene to scene. This book is not for the faint-hearted, you will cry, you will laugh, you will set it down and walk away from the bleakness.... but you WILL come back. 4 Stars because I think it stalled in places.