Book Rant: The Painted Girls

paintedgirlsRATING: 85%

GENRE: Historical fiction

SERIES: Stand-alone

Hello beauties! Today we talk about The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan. I would give it a 14A rating, normally I wouldn’t bring this up but if you are looking for a less intense novel with a very similar story line, Dancing Through Fire by Kathryn Lasky would be the PG version. Both are based of the art of Degas during the late 1800, set in France, both revolve around ballet students at the Opera and their life at that time. So if you like the sound of the novel but don’t think you can deal with the intensity of it, there is that other option for you. 🙂 As I said The Painted Girls is based in France in the late 1800s and these 3 sisters are trying to survive in this world with a dead father and a mother addicted to absinthe. The younger 2, Charlotte and Marie join the Paris Opera hoping to earn a living on the stage, Antionette finds work as a extra in L’Assommoir, and with that she falls into the arms of a dangerous young man, Emile. Marie and Charlotte feel the absence of their sister as she slips away from them and depends deeper and deeper into the low ranks of society. This is a very dark novel. Over all I liked this book, but it’s not something I can ever see myself re-reading. It’s like The Kite Runner (by Khaled Hosseini) in the sense, for me, it was really good, really interesting and after reading it I felt enlightened and just not entirely sure how to feel emotionally about it. But I will never pick either of these books up again. I’m not sure why, but some books are like that  guess. I do recommend it though. Spoilers past here!

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For me this book started off very sad and then in the middle it was very hopeful and almost happy. And then the end feels very sad again. It wasn’t fulfilling for me but I imagine it is quite accurate. It’s very dark and by the end of it I didn’t have a whole bunch of hope for a happy ending for the three girl.

What I disliked about the book is how cold and clinical feeling it is. Like as the girls are telling their story they are detached from it. Almost like it was second hand, it was very much so “theses are the facts and this is how it made me feel” but with very little showing of emotion. Sometimes it worked like a trauma patient telling their story and having been totally desensitized to it, but I felt like that emotionless, robotic way of dealing with things needed to come away on occasion so we could actually see emotion. For example when Marie is with Monsieur Lefebvre she does try to go for help but we are in her head so I felt like we needed to feel more before she shut down emotionally. And Antionette with Emile I just thought we needed to feel more with these characters.

I did like how Charlotte was left out of the action. We hear about her but even before the girls say they are keeping Charlotte out of this, it’s obvious they are. They are both trying very hard to keep their little sister away from what they have both gone through. It was interesting to see Marie progress. At the beginning it was Antionette keeping both girls isolated and trying to make sure they didn’t have to fight to hard, but then as Marie starts falling she realizes that she never wants her baby sister to have to go through what she did and I think part of her sees the similarities between herself and Antionette and what they have done to survive, even though she doesn’t want to. I’m really glad the baker boy likes her.

I don’t know what else to say about this novel. This is a hard one to talk about! I cannot eloquently articulate my thoughts into writing so I’m just going to stop here. Bye lovelies! Kisses.

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