Karel's Reviews > A Dangerous Man

A Dangerous Man by Anne Brooke
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's review
Apr 23, 2014

really liked it
Read in April, 2014

I had a lot to say, but suffice to say that after finishing it the book left me utterly speechless. Not something that happens everyday. I feel like now I need 200 shallow romance novels to lighten up my... Year.

Edit: The below thoughts (more feelings than review) are ones I wrote halfway into the book, right before the climax of it. It still holds true, even if I have a million more feelings to add to it now that I could never write out in a coherent form.

Edit2: To those here for the romance novel by the way - it's not. So if you're here for something even remotely romantic, turn back now.

I loved how it portrayed things in a way that is realistic but not mainstream: how love can seize a person sometimes and make them a madman, a stalker who knows exactly who you are (Jim, 26, from Scotland) before your first handshake. How sometimes love can be true yet you're selfish, you're a user, a goldigger - things that seem to contradict the very notion of love - but still it's nonetheless true that you love them.

I loved how Michael's past and thoughts and desires and reasons are hidden from the reader - and in essence, himself - because maybe it's for a sense of mystery, or maybe he doesn't even understand the motivations and reasons he behave the way he does, much less articulate it into the narration.

I loved the little details about art - the bulldog clips, the fixative spray - that you can never do without in a real charcoal drawing, because real art is not as it is in novels, romance novels especially, where painting a masterpiece is as easy as talent and fame is as easy as having a sugar daddy.

I loved how Brooke understood that there's absolutely nothing you can say to an insecure artist about their art: not that it's good, not that it's great. We won't believe you even if you think we're the very best, because it's not about love. It's NEVER about love.

Praise means nothing because you see us and not the art - you want us for some reason, you're just placating us, you liar liar liar - and neither is silence right because in that silence we imagine all the inadequate answers you could have given us. And even when our masters and teachers praise us - good, you have such potential, you only have to grow - that praise only wets the parched Earth. No matter how much you pour on us, how lovingly, how lavishly, tell us we're genius in all but fame, we can never get enough.

I loved how Jack is the perfectly normal person, yet he never feels dumbed down to the level of those romance novel heroes that exist for the sake of perfection. He exists as a comparison, a contrast. He's us: perfect, unblemished normal-ness, and the biggest risk he takes is to love a man he shouldn't, logically. (But then what is logical love?)

I loved how Brooke got the little things of a relationship right: how we push away those we love and scream at them to leave, but still feel disappointed and downright betrayed when they do. Dislike and hatred from the family that has nothing to do with homophobia - that milked and tried trope in these books - but something as natural as caution and looking down their nose at the riffraff.
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04/23/2014 marked as: read

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