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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
Perhaps you know a girl like Nicki Valentine. She might be a classmate. Or your best friend’s daughter. Or even your daughter. She’s one of those girls whose language and appearance offend most adults, and about whom classmates gossip and teachers despair. But as is always the case, no-one really knows why Nicki is who she is but those reasons are why Thomas Cummings sees her as the Blue Valentine. How will you see her, dear reader? If you’re patient with the rambling first person narrative Nicki shares with you, I guarantee you will come away wishing her only the best. She’s certainly earned the right to a better life than she’s had so far. Nicki has only one true friend, her half-brother Quinn, but even that friendship is in constant peril. But without being able to call on Quinn when the going gets rough, Nicki might not survive life. She is now a big problem for those who turned her life into a living hell when she was a young teen and they are back to eradicate her from their pasts once and for all. They have the money and power to do so, but will they succeed? If desperate times call for desperate measures, Nicki and Quinn could write a book on what to do next.
Blue Valentine is utterly riveting as it takes you deep inside Nicki’s psyche and helps you understand her reasoning and motivation. As the narrator, she talks to readers as if we were sitting across from her in a dark cafe corner. She confides in us, hoping we’ll understand but accepting that we might not. But we do understand and are forever moved by her story, by her observations on people and by her reflections on a too often unkind, prejudicial society. Prepare yourself for some frequent strong language and some graphic sexual scenes…all essential and realistic if we are to understand Nicki’s social demographic. This is one of the most touching and poignant coming of age stories I’ve ever read. Sadly, I’m certain there are thousands of blue valentines in today’s schools and homes. Don’t miss reading Blue Valentine. Well worth your attention.