So, after I picked this book up as recommended by John Waters on the Strand's website (really, how bad could it be, I thought, I liked most of Waters' movies, Pink Flamingo's fecal antics nonwithstanding), I'm glad to see that Waters and I share a love of books as well as cross dressing males.
This book is about love, but not the romantic, flowery, warm and fuzzy kind, oh no, more like the humiliating, base, ravenous, bestial kind of love that is so right it's wrong.
It starts out on a pretty dark note. David, the main character, is slinking around the block after he just set fire to his girlfriend's house a month after her parents forbid her from seeing him. Despite being in a mental hospital for a year as punishment, his "love" or obsessive longing doesn't wane, but seems to get 100 times stronger, as David becomes increasingly desperate to see Jade.
Once David is released into the outside world, he steps it up a notch, obsessively calling and writing members of the family in a misguided attempt to get back into their good graces. Strangely enough, his ex-girlfriend's mother takes the bait and indulges him in a letter writing campaign that ends with him violating his parole to creepily stake out her apartment building while calling her on a pay phone from across the street.
At this point I was confused because, according to the back cover, the story was "ferociously sexual," which led me to believe there would be more than one bodice ripper before I had gotten halfway through. Alas, as others have mentioned, the book concludes (well almost) with a whopper of a sex scene, spanning 20 odd pages. Suffice it to say it's a bit gory, but gets the point across loud and clear that one will do anything for love.
This is a story about the potential of intense love to lift someone out of the doldrums of life into a heightened state of non-reality or to plunge them into a frenzied state of animalistic depravity, forcing them to do unbearable and otherwise completely unthinkable things to do to maintain that feeling.
Jade and David's love also has the unintended consequence of highlighting the relative staidness and monotony of the adult relationships surrounding them, driving both families apart. I found this to be an interesting subtext, although definitely a sideline to the main attraction.
The novel was gripping, exciting, and amusing. It had timeless appeal.