Book Review: Ruby
ashley | The opening pages of Ruby by Cynthia Bond have got to be the best character description I have ever read. It’s not even a description, you aren’t being told anything, you’re being show. It’s this fantastic portrait, a beautiful painting, a song that just comes to life in this kind of dark and haunting way. I didn’t even know who Ruby Bell was yet, but she had already made such an impression on me.
The whole book is so lyrical but not over embellished; the prose is beautiful and the descriptions are awe-inspiring. Just the way certain things are phrased, it’s almost magical. And it all seems so easy, so natural. Bond has a gift, that’s for sure.
That said, this is an incredibly dark story. I don’t think you’re given enough of a heads up in the description. There are some very graphic, very detailed scenes dealing with heavy subject matter that is not always the easiest to read. It took me a bit by surprise; I wasn’t expecting such horrifying details to be so poignantly thrown in my face. And with Bond’s vibrant descriptions, well it’s a very tough, dark and haunting read. Not for the light hearted.
This started out slow for me, but I stuck with it and eventually I got more drawn in to the story and was able to stand tall behind Ruby as she dragged herself back to the small town she actually escaped from and watched as her life slowly slipped from her. For a religious town, Liberty was full of awful sinners. Men who used and abused, people who turned a blind eye to terrible happenings. It was disgusting, really, what went on in that place.
And then there is Ephram Jennings. The only being that seemed civil enough to see past all the dirt and grime and insanity to the Ruby he knew and fell in love with as a child. While I highly doubted there would ever be a happy ending for these two, it was hopeful and a bit reassuring to see Ephram storm into Ruby’s home like a tornado and try and help right some wrongs and take care of her in a way no one ever would.
This book really isn’t for everyone, it’s difficult to get into and a lot to follow, but it’s beautifully written and so vividly descriptive (which is good and bad in this case) and if you make it through to the end, it’s actually really hopeful and uplifting.