“She likes the mystery of that changeover, those fifteen minutes of sundown when the streets and trees and people and parked cars are delicate and immediate, every sound and smell and movement amplified by the lowest light or the lightest darkness. Even a city that’s broken and dirty can, in that time, be divine and intimate.”
White Fur is a novel about two young adults who find themselves inexplicably drawn to each other. Elise lives across the street from Jamey, but they live in completely different worlds. Jamey is wealthy, heir to a throne of a New York elite powerhouse family. Elise comes from poverty, heir to nothing but heartache and struggle. But from the moment they see each other, they can’t stay away.
Jamey seemingly has the world at his fingers. He is wealthy, good looking and everyone looks to him like he has the answers to it all. They refuse to see the truth, that he has no idea what he wants, who to be, where to go. He simply exists, doing what he is told, what is expected of him.
“It’s funny that, grown-up now, groomed and charming enough, he still identifies most with that boy, with that photo, with that moment of gloom and radiance, possibility–and solitude.”
Elise is the opposite in every way. She left her family, knowing that staying would lead to nothing but hurt and loss and a never-ending cycle of pain. She sees the trap and wants to leave. But that doesn’t mean she’s ready to conform to what society expects. She is too free spirited, too independent for that.
“In moments that would make other people shy or awkward, she becomes supernaturally natural.”
What I really liked about this love story is how different it is. I think in most stories where one is wealthy and one is poor, there is a struggle with power. The wealthy individual usually wields it. Here, Jamey is almost powerless against Elise. He can’t stay away from her. But more than that, she opens his eyes to the hypocrisy and emptiness in his life. When his family threatens to take everything away, he lets them. He falls into the freedom that she gives him. Instead of living a life he is told he should, he begins to live the one he wants.
Jamey and Elise both are attracted to what is lacking in their own lives in each other. Jamey was born into a sense of duty. What he must do. He sees Elise and her lack of obligations as free. She can be who she wants, do what she wants. She is alive and electric and irresistible to him. Elise sees Jamey and his life of luxury as freedom. He sees things, does things that she would never be able to do. Neither of them are able to see the trap of the other’s life.
Libaire captures the intensity of first love. That love that makes you believe you would die if they left. That their absences would leave such unimaginable pain, it isn’t worth bearing the thought. The passion and the madness we’ve all gone through.
There is tragedy in this book, in their love, but I think describing it as star-crossed isn’t accurate. They are not matched. They come from different worlds. But, struggle doesn’t necessarily mean tragic. It doesn’t mean it won’t work. Difficult is not star-crossed. And this novel isn’t tragic in the Romeo & Juliet sense of tragedy.
That’s not to say that there isn’t pain and suffering. There is tragedy, but it is a part of their story, not the result of it. Jamey and Elise face mountains of obstacles in their fight to stay together. His family does everything it can to pull him away. And even his friends do massive amounts of damage to Jamey, albeit unintentionally. The beauty of the story isn’t in the tragedy, but in how they face the tragedy.
“Sometimes we have to see what life is doing to us, it has to be physical to be real.”
That quote is so impactful to me. I think it not only captures so much of this novel, but really, of what we sometimes do to ourselves. Especially when facing difficult emotional struggles. It’s hard to see something that we only feel. And so we let things happen to us so that the experience becomes more visceral.
This novel really went into how dark love can be. How it can become obsession and possession. But, it also showed how love can change, how it can evolve. What was once only physical can transcend and become deeply emotional. And vice versa. Jamey goes through massive transformation, not only with Elise, but in his relationships with his family and the world. The expectations he always placed on himself. Elise also changes. She faces things within herself and about her own family as her love with Jamey shifts.
And this is in essence, growing up. We find love. Sometimes it is easy, and sometimes not. Sometimes in order to be who we really are, we have to give up who we were. And that isn’t always easy. It is painful and difficult and often, insurmountable.
White Fur is a love story. It isn’t light and easy. It is deep and emotional. It gives us love in all it’s intensity and insanity. It is gritty and raw and deeply emotional. Like love, it is powerful and unforgettable.
I won this novel in a giveaway from Suzy Approved book review, follow her https://suzyapproved.com for daily opportunities to win more books!