– by Ingrid Diaz
Thanks to one of my GR mates’ HIGHLY recommended read (cheers, F/F!), I finally had the chance to do so. Let’s just say I devoured it! I mean, in the beginning, it was just a normal read for me as I swiped each page like any other book, but something clicked. I noticed just how smooth the language was flowing, the rhythm of the interactions was like a melody playing every movement as the story development progressed throughout the book. It was so organically written and presented, I began to feel like I was on this same journey with Kris and Julianne, observing and witnessing everything they both were experiencing, internally and externally, along with the people around them. Diaz literally wrote a detailed chronicle of two people’s lives in whole. It was literally real-life in words. I have a feeling this story’s a deeply personal one for her. The authentic feel was made even more realistic with witty and humorous dialogues and situations! I could hear the NY dry sense of humour and its accent through Diaz’s incredibly personal conversational dialogues. The monologues were resonating. Needless to say, I was addicted to Julianne and Kris’ story, wanting to know what happened next! I couldn’t swipe and scroll the pages fast enough! Because of the realism that Diaz injected into this story and how she told it, everyone in both Kris and Julianne’s lives was depicted and portrayed with equal fervour, I loved all of them, even the antagonists, because in real life, we DO have these characters around us, don’t we?
My favourite character was Julianne’s. She drew me in from the start with her utterly adorable, oddball, awkward character with incredible wit that I utterly adored, whose celebrity was a thorn in her otherwise miserable private life. You could feel, thanks to Diaz’s realistic portrayal, her internal turmoil, her restless soul aching to free herself from the constant fear of being outed. One of my favourite moments was Julianne’s reaction to the first drawing of Kris’ that she was compelled to buy. Diaz’s description of the powerful connection Julianne had with the drawing, what it meant and how it stirred her soul. That unexplainable energy was further epitomised when Julianne started contacting Kris. I believe wholeheartedly in soul connections, energy flow, and frequency synchronicity between souls. Diaz’s in-depth description of how Julianne and Kris went through a myriad of self-discovering elements previously hidden or laid dormant in the deepest recesses of their minds, was portrayed with utter realism. Even the pacing of their character development and growth was like real-time. I appreciated every detail of their daily lives – friends, family, jobs – being chronicled as well because that really brought Kris and Julianne’s characters to life.
Another favourite moment of mine would have to be Julianne and Kris’ e-mail correspondences! It gave me a sense of nostalgia about letter-writing. Not many people do that anymore because of the existence of SMS, text messaging apps, plus people’s attention span has been severely reduced, that words aren’t spelled in full anymore, many a times being replaced by emojis and gifs and what not! That’s why reading those e-mails was refreshing and fun to explore! I loved Julianne’s increasingly hopeless plan to stay anonymous as Kris kept asking for more details, but because of this powerful affinity and connection she began having with Kris, even though they never met, she couldn’t help herself, risking being outed as the celebrity whom Kris didn’t particularly feel excited about, much to her chagrin! Speaking of, I absolutely LOVED Julianne’s flabbergasted reactions to Kris’ take on Julianne the celebrity!!! Oh, the Yale reference!! Which brings me to her chemistry with her assistant/manager Karen and her BFF, Adrian, which was utterly natural and I loved their camaraderie!! Julianne’s sense of helplessness was deftly portrayed I could feel her dilemma fighting on all cylinders in her mind! To reveal or not to reveal. That was the question, really. Diaz skilfully weaved the entire process of Julianne going through the motions – all the hardships of keeping her secret amidst her hopelessly unavoidable attraction – before finally biting the bullet. Speaking of secondary characters, I also enjoyed Kris’ BFF, Leigh, who was also a riot like Adrian!! She had so many funny moments but one of my favourites was the Post-It comment toward the end of the book!! Guffaw!! You’ll know when you read it and appreciate that subtle humour! I must also mention Mark, whom I didn’t come across until later. He was funny and utterly adorbs, especially when he finally met Julianne!! In essence, Diaz really nailed all the humour with hilarious effect. I was chuckling, at times, laughing out loud, as I explored the story! LOVED it!!
Whilst this book was voluminous, I didn’t feel that it was a drag at all. The pacing was brilliant because I wanted to feel the real-time factor of Julianne and Kris’ journey towards each other, with all the expected and unexpected chains of events in their daily lives, their growing emotional attachment to each other, their constant analysis of their feelings and this stronghold of their soul connection, their fear of having their secret attraction discovered by each other, and their eventual realisation about what they meant to each other, this thing called love, all detailed ever-so vividly with a lot of heart and conviction, grounded in authentic fervour. I loved Julianne and Kris’ incredibly natural chemistry which built up so organically that sometimes I forgot that I was only reading their story, not actually witnessing or observing it in person. That’s how smooth Diaz’s language and vernacular flow of her writing was. Because of the circumstances that both of them were experiencing – coming out for Julianne and sexuality discovery for Kris – simplifying the events leading up to their epiphany would be a disservice to both of their lives, especially the love story. Their love story required a slow-burn approach, imo. Hence, I’m actually relieved that this book – 2nd draft version – is unpublished because had it been, I’m rather sure that a lot of the contents particularly related to their daily lives, the build-up of their continued communication and progress, would have been edited out. The result wouldn’t have been as potently resonating and heartfelt as this version. That’s just my opinion. So, thank you, Ms. Diaz, for making this version available for everyone to read!
All in all, I absolutely LOVED this story about letting go of fear, coming to terms with the blind side of love, embracing true love and cherishing the fate and destiny of two souls finding each other as soulmates through ONE single charcoal sketch that changed their lives forever with one common denominator about its meaning – alone and out-of-sync (body/soul). It’s funny, it’s dramatic, it’s romantic, it’s heartwarming, it’s a captivating love story that deserves to be explored and enjoyed. In essence, it’s the most completely chronicled, pure, unadulterated lesbian romance I’ve come across with a story that reads like real-life. It’s a MUST-READ for all fans of the romance genre!
You can download a complimentary copy of this book from Diaz’s website:
The Blind Side Of Love (Version 2 Draft)