The Color of Love
Daisy is an artist with great dreams of putting on a gala art show. But, like most hopeful young artists in Los Angeles, she has more dreams than money. So she spends her evenings tending bar at The Spot and rejecting every guy who dares to look at her. Mike is a smooth-talking talent manager who happens to have tickets to Frank Ellis—the next act that Mike wants to represent…and Daisy’s favorite jazz band. So Mike becomes the first guy Daisy doesn’t shoot down—at least not until he realizes that the girlfriend Daisy insisted on bringing along to the show is not just a good friend. Meanwhile, Daisy decides to use Mike to make her dream gala happen, and Mike thinks Daisy might help him sign Frank Ellis. And if he can save face with his buddies by proving that he’s smooth enough to land a lesbian, even better. As they get to know each other better, how do goals and motivations shift?
Unlike other LGBT stories I’ve read (admittedly most were for a teen audience), these characters have done their experimenting and basically know where they stand in the hierarchy before the story events begin. But life is as messy in fiction as it is in reality, and love rarely follows rules.
One of the strong points of this story is the character development. There are only a handful of characters: Daisy and her girlfriend Alex, Mike, and his buddies Roc, Al, and Junior. Each character is given a complex backstory and love problems to figure out. And I’ve never known so many people to be quite so active in community service, with Alex running multiple food banks, Daisy teaching art classes to kids at the community center, and Roc getting all his buddies to volunteer (hundreds of hours worth) to help underprivileged kids.
Despite all the good works that these characters are involved in, however, this is also a collection of despicable people. Maybe I’m sensitive to it because of all the recent news of ugly conversations being written off as locker room banter, but that sort of talk fills pages of conversations between Mike and his buddies. Every straight male in the story is presented as the most vile sort of pig. Neither are the women immune to the cheating, jealousy, lies, drinking, violence, and all around nastiness of the characters’ lives.
The writing is compelling, and I was quickly pulled into the story, but I can honestly say that every character disgusted me, and I could not picture any resolution that would satisfy. I like to have a happily-ever-after, but none of them deserved one. So if you’re looking for a quick, but unsettling, generally well-written LGBT title, and you don’t need everything tied up into a neat little bundle by the end, you could give this book a try. I doubt I’ll revisit it any time soon, though.