Rating 5.0 jaw dropping, holy mother of ending stars!
Obviously, if you’re thinking about reading Dirty Red you’ve already read the mind-fuck that is The Opportunist. Well get ready for part 2 because it’s Leah’s turn to screw with you–and boy does she ever screw with your mind, emotions and at around the 80% mark she screwed with my sanity.
By the end of The Opportunist I HATED Leah. I felt like you should’ve changed her name officially to Bitch! I came into this book thinking there is no way I would ever change my mind–to quote Taylor Swift–I would” never ever, ever” change my mind! Ha, but guess what? I did! Leah and I aren’t BFFs but I understand her and can sympathize with her situation. With that said, I still think she is a bitch!
Dirty Red begins in the present…I’d say 9 months or so after The Opportunist ends…Leah has just given birth. Now you would think that would soften the hardest of hearts but no, Leah wants nothing to do with the baby and this does not sit well with Caleb. She doesn’t feel any maternal instincts and is basically jealous of the baby from the moment the doctor says that it’s a girl! She out right says she would feel differently if it was a boy–who says those sorts of things?!?! Caleb immediately adores the baby& she brings light and adoration into his eyes. So really it is a no brainer that Leah would be jealous of another female that holds a place in her Caleb’s heart.
Leah has no clue what she is doing. Caleb insists she breast feeds but she won’t so they compromise and she pumps the milk for the baby—that’s when she isn’t smoking or drinking herself into oblivion. Can you say: Worst Mother Ever! Caleb goes away on business and her mother–who is supposed to stay and help take care of the baby–leaves soon after and Leah is left alone with Estella (you’ll love the reason for her name). So what does she do? She takes her to a seedy daycare and drops her off for the day and goes out to lunch with her friends and gets wasted–isn’t that what all mothers do? What comes after is pretty awesome! I hate you Leah!!
Leah’s “oh so loving ways” towards her daughter (you hear the sarcasm dripping off that statement–yes?) places a strain on her already shaky marriage to Caleb. The things that you will discover about their relationship will have your jaw dropping and will have you saying WTF!!! I won’t say much more because you have to experience it all for yourself. But one last thing about them…Caleb (I felt this way when I read The Opportunist) isn’t innocent in all this. The things he does, the things he says, the way he acts and reacts, and the way he treats Leah isn’t that of the perfect man Leah has painted him to be in her brain. You will see that she questions herself a lot.
Now this is just the stuff that happens in the present tense. Let’s go to the past…
While reading about the past you learn so much about Leah that I hate to say it…I began to feel for her. I also understand her so much better now. You almost–notice I said almost–can’t blame her for the things she does. There are again more jaw dropping/WTF moments that you will learn about Leah’s past. But after you stew on the information you learn you will probably say what I said, “It makes sense now.” The scenes written in the past go through her childhood, how she met Caleb, their relationship, his accident, her trial, & some family background. So you really do get to see Leah from all ends.
Here are some of my favorite quotes and excerpts from the book (that I can share without ruining it for you but know there are many more):
“It’s convenient how men get to sign their names to these little creations without doing much more than having an orgasm and assembling a crib.”
“You look like trouble,” he grinned. “When I was growing up, my mother used to tell me to never trust a redhead.”
“You said you would never hurt me.” His eyes are frigid. “That was before you fucked with my daughter.”
“It’s not fun to play second choice, is it?”
“Will that be all?” ….”Um no, I’d like all of this invisible shit too.”
“I thought you loved your husband?” …”I love yours too.”
“Go back to your husband, before he realizes that he’s still in love with me.”
“Wow,” he says. “Wow. You grew a heart, and all it took was seven boxes of chocolate covered raisins.”
(by Tarryn Fisher)
What I love so much about this book (and The Opportunist) is the way Tarryn Fisher goes back and forth from the present to the past. You really get the complete picture. Also, when I first heard that Dirty Red was going to be written in Leah’s POV I thought that it would just be a rehashing of the first book but just from Leah’s perspective (don’t get me wrong I have read series that have done that and some are awesome and there are a few coming out that are high up on my “Must Read” list) but sometimes it can be blah. Tarryn does NOT do that! Yes, it’s Leah’s POV but as mentioned above it takes place present day and goes back into the past to get her side of things in small snippets. She clearly labels the chapters so you know if you’re reading the present or the past (because nothing is more frustrating when you have to sit and wonder if you’re in the present or the past).
Get ready for a great reading ride! You won’t want to put this book down–trust me! I read this book over the Christmas holiday and I was frustrated because I couldn’t sit in a reading cocoon until the book was done. So are you wondering how the book ends? Does Leah ever find a heart and bond with her baby? Will Leah and Caleb stay together? Will Olivia make an appearance? What is the reasons/meaning behind the things Leah does? Oh, you will learn the answer to them all but you will also be left with new questions! So in closing I absolutely loved the entire book but the ending will have you saying WTF!!!!! Pay attention is my only advice!
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