Rose's Reviews > Sempre

Sempre by J.M. Darhower
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's review
Apr 29, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, unputdownables, published-twific

"Besides, there's a reason we don't know how the story ends."
"Because it doesn't."
-J. M. Darhower, Sempre


I start with this quote from the book because that's the most profound, most powerful thing that this book will do to you - it will stay. It's not one of those books that you read, enjoy, put it back on the shelf (or kindle) and forget about. It’s not. It’s the kind of book which sinks into your skin, word by word, till it becomes a part of you and it’s too late to un–read, or forget about it. You can’t let go. The story won’t let you.

On the surface it seems just another story. But it’s not – it’s something extraordinary. It’s not just another love story set in just another mafia world – it goes much deeper than that. It’s a mark on the literary world, which makes you look up and notice the ugliness of human trafficking. Yes, it happens, and yes, people continue to ignore it. The author’s passion towards the cause is visible in every sentence.

The sentences are choppy and short, but rich in meaning. At first the use of such language gives the impression of the book being rushed, but as the plot goes on, it adds to the sheer rawness of the whole thing. Haven’s circumstances, her pain, her fear of hoping – it’s all enhanced by this. I eventually grew to love this tendency in the dialogue – I love that we get words as Haven or Carmine or Vincent would think them and not as long, winded descriptions which take a lot of effort to decipher and end up taking away from the desperation and immediacy of the plot.

Carmine and Haven’s growth as characters is remarkable. From naïve, pained, vulnerable and volatile to responsible, experienced, brave and strong – they both come a long way. In fact, all characters are well–rounded and sufficiently explored. At various points, Dr. Vincent DeMarco and Corrado break out of their supporting roles and pretty much steal the show. They all have their crosses to bear and they do it with unmistakable strength. Their back stories – their gut–wrenching pain – make this story whole. There is plot unity and you will often marvel at how the pieces fall into place. There is a lot of substance here. The author leaves no stone unturned in acquainting us with every aspect of their lives, but this detailing is not frivolous. Every experience is substantial and contributes to the character development. The detailing is done with finesse and is something I am an absolute fan of.

I see potential here. I see J M Darhower’s talent and I see the potential for this book to be on various bestseller lists. Frankly, it deserves to be there. The literary genius is unmistakable, the story is unlike anything else, and I can promise you this – at the end of it, you will be irrevocably altered. You will have gladly let it settle in your heart and take over your thoughts. Not many books can accomplish that.

I hear that a sequel is in works and I can’t wait. This is stuff that matters – this is stuff that will open your eyes to real issues and cruelty that exists in our world. It will make you laugh; it will definitely make you cry. It will tear your heart into pieces and provide you just enough hope to put it together again. It’s gritty, it’s tough, it’s painful, and yet it is full of love and hope. It’s not reading – it’s more like living in those pages. I can’t emphasize it enough – it’s REAL.

I get a sense that you must be asking yourself – why? Why should you deal with this reality when you pick up fiction as an escape? Why should you spend your time and money on something which will not give you the lighthearted escape you are after? Why should you care?

Because, as Carmine will tell you, somebody has to.

PS: If you have decided to read this after all, kindly say goodbye to your normal life for a couple of days. You are not likely to put it down.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Theresa (new)

Theresa Rose-
You make me wanna read it all over again...

Rose Please go right ahead and do :) I wish I could re-read right now but alas, exam studies call my attention :P

message 3: by Jay (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jay I'm with Theresa. Then again, I've already read it three times since I bought it. It really does sink into your skin. It's like a tattoo - it never goes away.

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