This has to be one of my favourite bookish photos I have taken.
The Guy, The Girl, The Artist and His Ex is a book set in my home city of Melbourne, Australia and details the events that lead up to and preceding the theft of Picasso’s Weeping Woman painting stolen from the NGV (National Gallery of Victoria). Four people; Guy, Rafi, Luke, and Penny are all affected by the theft for four very different reasons.
The author, Gabrielle Williams who was born and raised in Melbourne, used accurate locations and iconic landmarks in this story which appealed to my sense of home, despite living on the other side of the city to where the story was set. I knew of the places she spoke of and I felt closer to the characters, making the book feel less like a work of fiction and more like a recount of true events, adding to the magic of the city of Melbourne.
Each character grabbed at my heart in different ways.
Guy, the first character introduced, is flunking in school and is forced to forge his grades so his parents remain oblivious to what is really going on or they’ll never let him out of their sight. Guy, a guy (whoops…) seems like the most average teenager with the most average teenage desires – and a tallent for hackysacking – doesn’t seem important to the story until after the party. Where he restores my faith in humanity in a display of superhuman strength – not literally which makes him even more impressive – and true Melburnian spirit to end the story.
Safi, a young Spanish teenage girl was easy to relate to, as I was the same age as her when I had read the book. Being a teenager, it was hard to see where she fitted into a story full of adults and their big problems but she gave a different perspective on the dilemma going on around her. What I liked most about Safi’s point of view was the fact that I was seeing her side to her mother’s connection with the stolen painting, and how the painting had not only affected her mother but in turn affected how Safi lived with her mother.
Luke, a father, liar, and a cheat, wants nothing to do with his baby son. Luke forges other people’s paintings for a living. His talent is being able to create an exact replication of anyone’s artwork. A devilish skill which he uses for the purpose of evil to create money, stealing artworks and forging them, then selling them off for a high price. A thief and a liar. Definitely not my favourite character, but an interesting one none the less.
Penny, a mother, and the ex-girlfriend who is a very weak and dependant person. She, despite being abused, impregnated, and thrown out by the artist, Luke, she still insists on running back to him like a lost puppy and getting her heart more and more broken. Penny’s persistence to be with Luke, is quite annoying for the most part but in ways, it brings the story along as the characters cannot all be perfect. She uses their – her and Luke’s – child (an important character in the story) as an excuse to see Luke at random times during the day, popping up at his doorstep like a jack-in-the-box.
All the characters are linked in one way or another and I was waiting for all the characters to meet and come together like what usually happens in books like these when multiple characters are involved in one big event. This, however did not happen. Some characters met by chance and location to help the storyline but they did not come to cause in one great feat of happiness; this is what made me enjoy the ending even more as it added to the realism of the story. Where, much like real life; everyone can be involved and affected by one crazy event but never even know of each other’s existence.
I rate this book ✭✭✭✭✭ (5 stars)
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© Jasper+Spice 2015. All Rights Reserved. Please do not use without permission. This book review was not sponsored in any way and all opinions are entirely my own. This was originally posted on my Instagram @jasperandspice.