Thursday, June 29, 2017

Review: Damaged Like Us

Damaged Like Us Damaged Like Us by Krista Ritchie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The twins do it again. Just when I didn't think the Addicted series characters could get any better Becca and Krista Ritchie give us Damaged Like Us. This is a spin off series from the original Addicted series and it pick up with the Hale, Cobalt, and Meadows kids as adults. This first book centers on everyone's favorite adorable kid Maximoff Hale. If you read the Addicted Series you'll remember Maximoff as the Batman loving, water addicted swimmer, adorable little kid and big brother to the Hale kids, Luna, Xander, and Kinney. At the end of the Addicted series it's mentioned that Maximoff Hale is a loving, kind, loyal and responsible little boy who is constantly taking on more than he should to the chagrin of his parents especially his father Loren Hale. Not much has changed in the Damaged Like Us series for Maximoff Hale except we find out in this book that he's come out as bi-sexual. The entire world is focused on him and his actions and Maximoff Hale is VERY aware of that, allowing public opinion to dictate his actions to a large extent. Maximoff a.k.a Moffy to his friends and family is still struggling to get the world to see that Loren Hale is his biological father and he takes great pains to distance himself from his Uncle Ryke whom he bears a marked physical resemblance to.
In this new series Moffy and Jane are the closest and best-est of friends not just because they're cousins but because the intense scrutiny in their lives has made it impossible for them to trust anyone outside of the immediate family. Later the media will twist this relationship, as they are known to do, anytime these families get together, or hell just exist.
The  story begins with Moffy getting a new bodyguard one he doesn't want. Enter Farrow Keene 27 year old bodyguard to Lily Hale now being transferred to Moffy's detail. There's a complicated relationship already in place between Moffy and Farrow that highlights the fact that these two have known each other since they were kids as Farrow's father was and still is the families concierge doctor.
Here's what these two authors do so well. They take a volatile subject, addiction, alternate lifestyle, paparazzi, family dynamics and they make these characters who deal with, experience, and live through these situations believable, relatable, and above all HUMAN.
We see Moffy struggle to deal with the insensitivity and hostility that comes with being born into a famous family. We see his kindness in spite of or maybe because of all of that. We see him as a person with flaws but who struggles every day to navigate the treacherous waters of his life under the intense eye of the media and we see him (for the most part) succeed. The best part, the very best part in my not so humble opinion is seeing him learn to trust enough to fall in love. To LOVE to open himself to that vulnerability and we get to see him be loved in turn.
I can't tell you what these books have meant to me. As the child of an alcoholic parent it was validation to read the Addicted Series and to know, to feel, to UNDERSTAND exactly what Loren Hale dealt with in his own home with his own alcoholic father. As a woman it was vindication to watch Lily Hale overcome an addiction that society would turn into something awful and filthy. To see her strength in overcoming that. Maximoff Hale's story only further cements why these books have gathered such a huge following. Why we as readers have fallen in love with these people. Becca and Krista Richie give real emotions, real stories, real situations that many of us are either dealing with now or have dealt with in the past. These books are like literary therapy. They show us the light at the end of very dark tunnels and they give us the courage and the fortitude to keep going.
Becca and Krista always approach these topics with sensitivity and tolerance allowing us to explore our own morality and sexual identity in a safe and positive way.
If you read nothing else this year you have to read Damaged Like Us.

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