And Falling, Fly by Skyler White
My rating: 2 of 5 stars I have very mixed feelings about this book that I randomly picked up in the library. On the one hand, it explored some interesting questions about mental health and the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. On the other hand, it is very pretentious and preachy. The pinnacle of this is a conversation in the Garden of Eden between the snake and the lead male character, Dominic. The snake says that he has already had an apple before tossing one to hungry Dominic. "But I have seen people chewing different fruit from the same damn branch fly planes into buildings secure in what they ingested here." Oh, puleeeze! Seriously? White takes several other thinly-veiled shots at religion and believers throughout the novel.
Another strike against "And Falling, Fly" is that it is quite confusing; I'm still not entirely sure what the precise connection is between Olivia, the main female character -- literally the fallen angel of desire and a vampire -- and the godchild of philanthropist Madeline Wright. Likewise, the book hints that Gaehod, who runs the L'Otel Matillde in what is supposed to be hell, is Satan, but we never really find out.
The book has lots of explicit sex, but none of it is titillating, in part because the entire book is so cheesy and over-the-top. For example, we learn that Olivia's vagina, once stone, magically becomes fully functional with the right partner. Author Skyler White also frequently refers to this organ as "her sex," which I find pretty distasteful. Seriously, there are a few slang words that come to mind that I think are a lot better than "sex" used in this context. This is a big pet peeve of mine.
I rolled my eyes through the whole book, but it must be a success to some degree since I felt compelled to keep reading. Dominic's neuropsychology work held my interest most closely, and I was curious if Olivia would find "her loophole," the thing that might end her torment and allow her to escape the unsatisfying life of a fallen angel.
This is White's debut novel, and I'd urge her to tone down the preaching in her next endeavor.
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