Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Truth About Delilah Blue : A Review

The truth about Delilah Blue is that it changes. It changes because even Delilah doesn’t know who she is. Her divorced and estranged parents have used Delilah to create their own identities because even these adults in Tish Cohen’s latest novel have no clue who they are.

A story loaded with identity issues, The Truth About Delilah Blue, weaves back and forth between the points of view of Delilah (renamed Lila Mack for most of the novel), and her father, Victor, who is Lila's caretaker and who is slipping into early onset Alzheimer's.

Lila believes Elizabeth, Victor's ex-wife and Lila's mother, abandoned her. Midway through the novel Lila learns the truth. That Victor actually kidnapped her to save Lila from an irresponsible mother. That he took her from Toronto to Los Angeles and changed their names to hide Lila from the authorities. So Lila's father isn't who she thought he was either.

I liked this story because of the issues it presents. Neither parent is portrayed as perfect. Far from it. But neither is portrayed as evil either. Instead Lila learns that both parents loved her very much and did what they thought was best. In the end Lila learns that she is not the unwanted daughter of her artist mother nor the victim of her law-breaking and eccentric father but Delilah Blue, a young girl struggling to grow beyond the hurts of her past to find who she really is.

I also liked the easy going style of Tish Cohen's writing as well as her descriptions of the settings and the characters. Only two things actually bothered me. The ending, which I thought was confusing and abrupt. And the art professor of the class where Lila worked as a model who I thought was a bit inconsistent. Or maybe it was just that he was the one character I didn't like!

Finally, I liked Slash, the ever present, urbanized coyote that seemed to relate to Lila better than any human. As a passionate lover of animals I found this thread weaving through Cohen's novel a warm and significant element.

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