Friday, June 20, 2014

Book Review ~ A Native's Tongue by Michael D. Dennis

A Native's Tongue
by Michael D. Dennis

In Michael D. Dennis’s touching new novel, A Native’s Tongue, a young man, torn between two women, struggles to find his way in the world.

As I walked out under the Los Angeles sky, the possibility of becoming something more than a short order cook, living in the valley, and resenting my dysfunctional family occurred to me…

Charlie Winters has never been an overachiever. He is used to just getting by while living with his single mother and working a dead-end job at a cheesesteak stand. Meanwhile, he’s constantly grappling with the voice of his sister, who died in a tragic car accident years earlier, echoing in his head.

So when Violet, an older woman, sets her sights on Charlie and refuses to let go, he follows along. He soon finds himself immersed in a destructive relationship that still fails to fill the void within him.

But then he meets Jennifer, a mystical young woman whose energy and life convinces Charlie to pursue her, even through the darkest corners of Los Angeles, and sets their lives upon a path that can’t be stopped.

Escaping to the California coast, Charlie and Jennifer finally find what they’ve always needed. But a sudden illness quickly pulls them both back to LA. It is there, amid the sex, drugs, and split-second decisions that pulse through the city, that tragedy strikes—threatening to tear Charlie and Jennifer apart forever.

Love and tragedy collide in Michael D. Dennis’s poignant new novel, A Native’s Tongue.

~~My Thoughts~~

As the book begins, it appears that Violet is in jail….why is the big question.  Going back and forth between the past and the present, the reader learns about the details that led to this moment in which the story is taking place. 

There are three main characters:  Violet, Charlie and Jennifer.  Although there are other character appearances, these three are really the heart of the story.

Violet – 50 shades of fucked up.  This chick is totally mental – completely delusional.  In her relationship with Charlie, she is the domineering one…possessive in fact.  She always wants sex on demand, wining and dining him and expecting to do whatever she wishes.  But once you take a more solid look into her mind, you find that she is just a pathetic soul wanting someone to love her for her, not what she could provide. She still is a mental case, but you can’t help but feel sorry for her.

Charlie – a lost and tormented soul.  Hooking up with Violet is possibly the worst mistake he could have made in my opinion.  Violet completely used Charlie for her own desire, but Charlie was a fool for going along with the whole relationship.  But all Charlie really wants is for someone to take care of him and Violet is filling that roll – until Jennifer comes into the picture. Upon first meeting Jennifer, Charlie doesn't even know her name, but he has fallen in love…..hard.  At times he is a little over the top with his attraction to her. 

“I wanted to know every detail that made her different from the sea of girls I had met throughout my life but didn't give a shit about.  I had given her all of me.  If she was gone I would float back out into the Pacific Ocean and intentionally forget to paddle back in.  I would go so far out that even when my survival instinct kicked in to propel me back toward land, it would be too late.”

Jennifer – so sad.  Her life choices are taking her down a dangerous and morally wrong path.  She has led her life wanting for not.  Her family is very well off, and it seems she just wants to rebel in her family’s social sigma. When Charlie and she do finally get together, it is like they are 'soul mates'.  I truly wanted to like her, but something was just off….maybe her sanity and mental health.

Basically, all three of the characters are train-wrecks.  You don’t want to watch, but you just can’t help yourself.  The author has a way in making this a truly unique story that instantly draws you into this crazy life of Charlie, Violet and Jennifer.  I must say that I have never read anything like this before and it was a different experience for me.  Not a bad experience, just different.  Told from different, alternating perspectives and jumping back and forth between past and present, I really had to pay attention to the details In order to keep up.  The ending….WOW....just WOW!  I did not see that coming and it left me a little speechless.  The story line itself was intriguing and the writing is impeccable.  With complex characters, a plot filled with multiple twists and turns, this one is guaranteed to keep your interest throughout.

I give this one 4 out of 5 stars.

About the Author:

Michael D. Dennis is an author and playwright who earned a degree in English literature from Loyola Marymount University. Winner of a LMU Playwriting Award for his play Death of a Watchdog, Michael also had his play, Hen in the Field, produced at the Whitefire Theatre in 2012. His highly anticipated debut novel, A Native’s Tongue, will be released in June 2014. Michael currently lives in Santa Monica, California with his girlfriend and two dogs, Jack and Aurora. 

~Author Links~

~Click HERE to add A Native's Tongue to Goodreads~

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