Jasmine by Jennifer Bene and Shane Starrett
4.75 stars – Not to be read if you’re feeling delicate in any way!
I’m a long time fan of Jennifer Bene but have not read anything by Shane Starrett before (well other than his super witty/sarcastic posts on social media). I may need to rectify that omission fairly soon, since the book this duo has produced is pretty darn fantabulous.
It’s dark and goes there on so many occasions. If you’re wondering where there is, it’s all the way to Depravedville, via Shock-Horror Town and taking in the sights of Psycho City along the way. Because no sane person can withstand the level of dark that is “Jasmine’s” (Her) existence, we occasionally get chapters from the POV of other characters in the book. Whilst these aren’t necessarily sweetness and light, nor full of positivity, they do add texture and dimension to this sorry, sordid tale.
The parts written from “His” perspective were both chilling and somewhat heart wrenching. I found myself feeling pity for him and his severely messed up head. I’m not sure if his skewed perspective, his complete lack of understanding around his actions, his removal from all reality actually made his actions worse or a tiny bit understandable. And many may not understand or agree but I did feel sadness for him. In fact the more I read from his perspective the more my heart broke for him. Even though he was mad as a box of frogs, or perhaps BECAUSE of that, he sort of, maybe, snuck into my heart a little. His actions might have been evil but his heart was pure and in his own way he truly loved and revered Jasmine.
In many ways he became the main character for me. Other readers, those with a more normal disposition, probably hated him from the tips of his toes to the very roots of his hair. And it’s fair to say his actions WERE deplorable, unacceptable and so very damaging both mentally and physically. Yet somehow, when I ‘heard’ things through his voice, I wanted to save him. He was so broken, so damaged and so in need of help. However his actions probably meant he would never receive the help that his poor deranged mind was so desperately in need of. I struggled, really struggled with the end result of his actions. I didn’t feel he deserved those consequences, even though he did some very bad things he wasn’t a bad man, just a deluded one. Perhaps it was the only resolution that wouldn’t cause him more mental suffering, and sadly (strangely?) that is what I have to remind myself of in order to ‘deal’ with the conclusion.
With excellent writing, great characterisation, a twisty, convoluted plot and extreme nastiness this is a must read for all those who love a very dark, gritty and hard as nails read.
Add it on Goodreads! https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48394506-jasmine
I am his obsession. His property. His Jasmine.
And he will never let me go.
Trapped in the middle of nowhere, taken by a madman, I’m forced to be his wife. Obedient, meek, righteous in the eyes of God.
But I am none of these things, and I can’t give in. No matter what he does to me, no matter how much he hurts me, I have to get out of here.
I have to escape… before I forget who I was before him.