Review: Tattoos: A Novel by Denise Mathew

Just a note, as I am finally getting back to copying all my reviews from Amazon and GoodReads to the blog.  This will continue to be a long process, I am sure, but hopefully a bit faster than it has been.

As for this particular book (and at least one other I will be adding as I get caught up) I hesitated about including it here on Backstage Books, as the music is not the main focus of the book.  But since the hero is in a band, I decided to go ahead and include it – although it will probably go on my general indie blog as well.  It has been more than 2 years since I read it, so I can’t claim to remember all the details, but I do remember it being very moving, and well worth the read.  I just wanted to give a heads up to my hardcore rockstar romance readers that this one isn’t your typical RR read.


Tattoos: A Novel (Amazon – Kindle Edition)

To get the formalities out of the way, I received a free copy of this book from the GoodReads Making Connections group in return for an honest review.

What a fantastic, uplifting book. Be prepared with a box of tissue because there are many tearjerking moments, but overall it will be a read you will not soon forget and will help restore your faith in the human race.

Told from the points of view of Marilee, a 17 year old cancer patient, and Jax, a 19 year old hospital volunteer/record store employee/singer in a rock band with a heart of gold.

At first glance, to the outside world at least, Marilee seems to be a spoiled rich materialistic teen, at least until her cancer diagnosis. That appearance, even from the beginning has absolutely nothing on her narcissistic mother and her father who adores her mother and feeds into her narcissism. You can not help but feel contempt for the way they leave Marilee to fight this terrifying battle on her own. Jax certainly feels this way quickly, and against all his better ideas of not getting involved, becomes her rock, and she his.

The copy of this I read was entitled “The Peace Project” which refers to a plan Marilee and Jax come up with to help her get through her long hospital stay and help the less fortunate with the money Marilee has more than enough of. The stories of those the Peace Project touches are amazing – some heartbreaking, but all astounding shows of human kindness.

The realism of Marilee’s struggles through her cancer are both heartwrenching and inspiring. Without getting too personal, I spent 13 months watching one of my best friends struggle with AML and I hope I was more helpful to her than the people in Marilee’s life (not that I doubt that I was, but in retrospect I wish I had been able to do more.) I would say this is a must read for anyone who has a friend or family member fighting the big C; I guarantee it will give you a new way of looking at their side of things and inspire you to find new ways to be there for them.

The lesser characters in the book are also such fantastic characters – and no one is more of a “character” than Gran. Everyone should have such a big hearted, eccentric, support system in their lives. And again, so many of the people helped by the Peace Project are rich, full characters even if their circumstances may be dire. The reflection of how everyone has their own story and struggles and how we as a society need to let go of our preconceptions and take the time to see their stories – what a big difference a small bit of our time and interest can make.

I really cannot say enough good things about this book, and what an imprint it leaves on my heart.



One comment

  1. Dotty · May 19

    That’s a quitc-witked answer to a difficult question


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