Fiction - Literary
646 Pages
Reviewed on 05/18/2020
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Author Biography

C.J. Michaels is a Canadian writer who has lived and worked extensively in Europe and in Asia. "Ladybug" is Michaels' first book from a literary novel involving two more Chapters in the waiting.

The book's title found Michaels one day while driving in the country. A tiny yellow ladybug landed on the yellow car's windshield and immediately caught Michaels' attention. Watching the mighty creature as it stayed with the car for a good twenty minutes until it finally flew away, left an instant notion about impossible love to flicker past Michaels' thoughts .

It was a brief transcendental moment that inspired Michaels to write about something beyond heroic love that is no less than the epitome of love itself... friendship.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

Ladybug by C.J. Michaels is a literary fiction novel that follows its main character Michèle on a delinquent but mature pseudo-Bildungsroman. Michèle is the embodiment of Michaels' ladybug, a metaphor connecting the insect to human behavior that is also occasionally applied to other characters, including the Black Widow and Praying Mantis. From our ladybug comes a first and third-person point of view wherein drug-fuelled escapades, relationship pitfalls, sex work, travel, and all manner of taboos are addressed through a combination of formats, the most common of which is a conversational narrative that glides between past and present tense. These are usually written into vignettes that imitate a stream of consciousness but can also be presented as journal entries and even monologues. Each chapter is introduced with a quote, song lyric, or a philosophical musing that ties in with the deep battle between head and heart.

Ladybug is literary fiction in its truest sense, written in such a way that it feels like a factual reporting with a patina of fictionalization. C.J. Michaels achieves this by allowing Michèle the freedom to be brutally honest and emotionally charged throughout, even when it becomes clear that the narrative might be unreliable. I enjoyed the way other characters were portrayed. All are flawed and all come across as authentic. Charlie and his cavorting with cocaine and prostitutes reveal as much, if not more, about the narrator's own frailty in these connections as those that surround her. These depictions extend also to the country of Spain as it comes to life in vivid detail. Ladybug is neither a swift nor a light read, but those who enjoy getting lost in troubled minds and intelligent fiction will find that Ladybug ticks all of the right boxes.

K.C. Finn

Ladybug is a work of fiction written in the literary style by author C. J. Michaels. This intriguing novel is written for mature audiences due to the thematic content and the presence of some moderate language usage and sexual situations. The work focuses primarily on themes such as actions based on emotion versus those based on logic, the initiation of change and what causes it, and the effects of social and cultural factors on the way that people perceive themselves and the truths they live by. What results is a slow-burning and intimate exploration of resilience and personality that pushes against the tide.

Author C. J. Michaels has crafted a central character who reflects both the overarching pressures of current life and culture, but also the inner, intimate resilience that we all hope to possess during adverse times. The metaphor of the Ladybug carries throughout the tale as this moniker of strength, and I admired the author’s use of imagery and figurative language throughout, crafting ideas and connotations that build to subtle but very grand ideas as the story progresses. This is a slow read which not all audiences may find suitable, but those who are willing to explore the journey at such a pace are indeed rewarded by its immersive storytelling and masterful use of language. Overall, I would highly recommend Ladybug as a thought-provoking work of fiction that hits on sensitive subjects that we all must face at some time or another. An accomplished work from a philosophically-minded author.