Slice of Cherryby Published 04 Jan 2011
|Slice of Cherry.pdf|
Kit and Fancy Cordelle are sisters of the best kind: best friends, best confidantes, and best accomplices. The daughters of the infamous Bonesaw Killer, Kit and Fancy are used to feeling like outsiders, and that's just the way they like it. But in Portero, where the weird and wild run rampant, the Cordelle sisters are hardly the oddest or most dangerous creatures around.
It's no surprise when Kit and Fancy start to give in to their deepest desire - the desire to kill. What starts as a fascination with slicing open and stitching up quickly spirals into a gratifying murder spree. Of course, the sisters aren't killing just anyone, only the people who truly deserve it. But the girls have learned from the mistakes of their father, and know that a shred of evidence could get them caught. So when Fancy stumbles upon a mysterious and invisible doorway to another world, she opens a door to endless possibilities.
"Slice of Cherry" Reviews
I didn't expect to laugh so much reading a book about the teen daughters of a serial killer. What a treat! I know there are people out there who will only be horrified by the plot and not amused, but believe me, if they're not laughing, they just didn't get the jokes.
Fancy and her older sister, Kit, live in Portero, a place not your average American town. Careless residents and ignorant visitors are routinely devoured by any number of monsters, their bloody remains left scattered in the street. As Kit says, "Who hasn't come across a stray head at some point?" Fancy and Kit are the socially ostracized daughters of the Bonesaw Killer, who's on death row. They seem to have inherited his lust for blood. In the first two pages Kit stabs an intruder to their home. She and Fancy drag him down into their father's cellar and torture him for amusement. Later their reputations begin to improve when they turn their killing talents to the truly deserving. Desperate people write letters pleading for the girls to get rid of troublesome foes, and the girls are only too happy to oblige. Fancy's other great gift (other than murder) is her ability to use reflective surfaces to see far distances. She visits her father on death row using this method. In addition she has the ability to take herself and others into a place of her own creation, the Happy Place. There she can make anything she imagines actually happen. Of course the things Fancy imagines are often violent and bloody, which only makes the moniker "The Happy Place" funnier and funnier as the book goes on, especially since it's the place she and Kit use to get rid of the bodies that begin to pile up.
Fancy thinks she only needs Kit and her mother, Madda. (Madda has no idea her daughters are engaging in multiple murders and the girls fight to keep her in the dark.) Everything's fine until Kit develops a crush on an unbalanced boy who just happens to be the son of the Bonesaw Killer's last victim. ("We know who you are," said Kit cheerfully. "Our dad killed your dad.") Fancy assumes the relationship is doomed, but to her dismay Kit and Gabe get hot and heavy,turning Fancy into the anguished third wheel. Then Gabe's older brother, Ilan, expresses interest in Fancy, his crush complicated by the fact that Fancy is actively plotting to kill Gabe. Fancy doesn't want to be with Ilan because she doesn't want to grow up. She still dresses like a little girl and she's fighting adolescence tooth and nail--and with knives, murder and mayhem, of course. In large part, this book is about growing pains, sisterhood, and accepting the inevitability of change. The relationship between Fancy and Kit is one of the best and most unusual (yet very recognizable) portraits of sisterhood I have ever read.
The violence is extreme, though it's stated in such a straightforward manner that it's really quite funny. Yes, there's blood and guts, eviscerations and stabbings, and even a scene in which hogs devour a man's body. But these things are not described in great detail, just stated matter-of-factly, the way things happen in Portero. There's also much discussion of sex and many sexual jokes (most of which Fancy doesn't get since she's determined to hold on to her childlike innocence in that realm.) Violence, sex, monsters and murder--many people would cry that this is not a book for teens. It is for teens. Probably older ones. Probably not the Twilight crowd. But it's for teens because it's also about growing up, finding first romance, and figuring out who you are and who you want to be. I loved this book and I'm happy to find out there is a companion novel, Bleeding Violet, which was published first.
Slice of Cherry won't be every reader's slice of pie, but it was definitely mine.
WOW! When it comes to Dia's writing I become speechless. She has a way of capturing her readers, in a dark and disturbing way, which I personally love.
Slice of Cherry WAS dark and disturbing, but also had some deep meaning. The relationship between two sisters, though extremely off kilter, had such a deep bond, that no one could come between. And if Fancy was ever threatened off losing her sister, Kit, she would be sure to rid that person of their life. Or at least from the real world. Fancy and Kit are daughters of the Bonesaw Killer, a serial killer and when their dad gets taken away to prison, the killings don't stop.
There isn't much I can say about this book without giving anything away. Let's just say that it's like your reading your worst nightmare. You just have to read it.
If you enjoy Dia's writing and have read Bleeding Violet, you'll LOVE Slice of Cherry. I always say that I am a Dia fan for life, but if you read her books, I know you would be too. She brings something entirely different to the YA genre. It's difficult to put thoughts about her books into words.
i read quite a lot of YA and i don't
think i'm going out on a limb when i say
that dia reeve's is an author that is
completely unique in her voice, vision and
storytelling. i thought so after being
stunned, horrified, and totally intrigued
by Bleeding Violet, and i can say the same
of her second novel, Slice of Cherry.
it's about two sisters, kit and fancy, who
are the daughters of an infamous serial
killer father. the apples, alas, fall not
far from the tree. and they live in Portero,
known for its doors into who knows what places,
demons and monsters.
the sisters decide to follow in daddy's footsteps
to satisfy their blood thirst and fascination
with evisceration and the like. but they'd only
target people who deserved to die, of course.
the book is not for the squeamish. reeves
approaches the gruesome the same way she
approaches sex, directly, in your face, without
apologies. (which i appreciate as both writer
but what i *really* appreciate in this novel
are the themes underlying the dismemberment
and bloodshed: family, loyalty, first loves,
forgiveness, finding yourself, and growing up.
she weaves these themes deftly and they
are universal themes, despite the outrageous
occupation of the two sisters. and reeves is
great at dark humor. i laughed out loud in
many moments of this novel, and i'm not easy
to please when it comes to humor in novels.
i've had the pleasure of meeting reeves in
person and that only makes my reading experience
that much the more pleasurable. i can't wait to
see what she writes about next!!
After finishing Slice of Cherry, it took me a few days to digest it. It was necessary for me to pull my thoughts together before I wrote this review. I finally concluded that Slice of Cherry's gory and murderous aspects contributed a grade of gritty excellence. While, the out of this world deliverance was just plain weird. Don't get me wrong, I love twisted stories, I just found this one to have a lot of "what the hell just happened" moments even after all the hilarious elements. Now, I immensely enjoyed getting to know the mentally deranged sisters. I mean these girls were on a different wavelength than most people. Kit started out as a bubbly character with killing spree tendencies. In contrast, Fancy's time revolved around preventing Kit from following in her father's footsteps which simmered her urges. I don't necessarily blame them for acting this way since their father was after all Portero's bonesaw killer.
As time went on, I was curiously intrigued in the sister's mindset change. Also, the boy interests presented with the Turner brothers helped spice up the lack of romance. As for the town, I didn't quite grasp the meaning behind all the monsters creeping around. I hoped for an in depth explanation, instead I was left with an undeveloped description. Throughout Slice of Cherry, Kit and Fancy searched for a door that opened up into a whimsical world. I loved Dia's imagination behind this place filled with wondrous aspects. All in all, the concept's originality was definitely there. However, it just didn't live up to my presumed expectations. Since everyone's perception is different, I do recommend you give this one a try. Distorted YA books don't come along often so I am excited to see where Dia's creativity leads us next.
You know how when you stab people, it's like plugging into them? You feel their hearts beating; you feel their blood flowing. You see their struggle for life, and in that moment they start to seem real and like windup toys.
I did not like this book as much as I'd hoped I would, but it was never difficult to read, in fact I tore through it. The chapters are fairly short, the prose is simple without being overtly so, but with some lovely turns of phrase and pieces of imagery here and there. There's some interesting coming-of-age stuff here that gets a little creepy later on with all the teenagers having sex stuff, but overall this was a quick, easy read that was unique enough to stand out in a sea of dystopian ya novels. As I read it I kept thinking, this is what would happen if Francesca Lia Block had a bad trip on shrooms.
But I am well, well past my "I'm just so ~fascinated~ by serial killers!" phase that I feel everybody who's even slightly weird goes through, and that made sympathizing with the two leads often very difficult. It gets a little easier later on when the girls start targeting people who have, at least, done something wrong, and mostly leave innocent people alone (mostly). (I'm not super enamoured with the Hannibal #eattherude thing either.) I'm just not sure about the message this book is sending about violent revenge, specifically how it's handled later in the case of incestuous sexual abuse.
The truth of the matter is: there is no such thing as emotional catharsis. Screaming and breaking crockery only makes you angrier. Sobbing and listening to sad music only makes you sadder. And I don't think torturing and/or killing your abuser heals any emotional wounds; it wouldn't for me, and certainly not in such an immediate and complete way as it seems to do for the characters in this book. Then again, it's just a book, and a book about a relationship between two sisters as they grow up, and not a novel exploring the complicated healing processes of abuse survivors, so... I mean, I knew what I signed up for, and faulting this book for being a little one-dimensional in that regard is like getting pissed that Carrie wasn't an accurate portrayal of bullying.
I saw other reviewers complaining about the worldbuilding in this, or rather the lack of it, but I didn't mind it so much because the non-explanation felt like a deliberate choice rather than a lack of thought. Portero is a mysterious town somewhere in Texas that people from the surrounding towns don't necessarily believe even exists, because the townspeople are so strange and insular and hardly anyone ever leaves. Monsters are a fact of life — and not the fun, sexy kind, but the disfigured, flesh-eating kind that burst out of the ground and wreck entire city blocks with such regularity that everyone in town just kind of shrugs and moves on. Strange things happen and people in Portero take it for granted that that's just The Way Things Are.
There are definitely different kinds of worldbuilding; for instance there's the Tolkien, where every little detail is meticulously plotted out in advance, including long studies on trivial details intended to flesh out the world even more and make it seem real. The sub-class of this is the Rowling, where the author does this kind of world-building on the fly, and usually ends up writing themselves in a corner they have to Deus Ex Machina their way out of; it seldom stands up to scrutiny. (I am not a Harry Potter fan, and I hate the worldbuilding.) Then there's the Jargon. We've all read these books, where worldbuilding is reduced to a Series of Random and usually capitalised Nouns that are often not very Well Defined. Everything has a specific stupid name for it, and the concepts in those books are usually the same as real life, just swapped out with different terminology. I can pick out a dozen of these on my shelves.
Then there's books like Slice of Cherry, which offer almost no explanation for the ways in which the book's world clearly differs from ours; things just are, and it works. It works because Reeves doesn't bog the book down trying to over-explain the magic away with pseudoscience that would just eliminate your suspension of disbelief. It doesn't matter why the monsters are there. It doesn't matter how Fancy and Kit are able to go into a magic otherworld through a kinetoscope which they can trap people in. They just can, and now let's move on and discuss something more interesting than minutiae, please.
Overall, this is a really imaginative and solid effort that never bored me or left me skimming pages as other books lately have. The romance is weird enough to be tolerable. There's a Mystery that is genuinely a mystery and not the author just withholding information and artificially dragging the plot out, only to reveal it all at the last minute. It is admittedly quite satisfying to see two teenage girls unrepentantly murder a rapist. I'm definitely checking out this author's other works.
"I'm not innocent," said Fancy without thinking, moved by the shop owner's lurid confession. "Maybe that's why they hate us. For reminding them that innocence is just an illusion, and that if you scratch the surface, we're dark and maggoty all the way down to the bone. We're animals, and we're guilty — every one of us."