Title: The Anatomy of Perception
Author: AJ Rose
Length: Novel (378 Pages)
Publisher: The Grim Writer Press (March 10th, 2015)
Heart Rating:♥♥♥♥♥5 Hearts
Blurb: In the beginning, there was wreckage. Dane Perry’s mother was dead, and the father who always said he’d amount to nothing blamed him. Dane swore he’d become something. He would be someone.
In the middle, there was escape. Rebuilding his life from the ashes of his mother’s memory, Dane found success as a respected surgeon, and love in the form of Craig Dahl, a talented artist who became his everything. But there was also darkness, lies, and a crumbling foundation just waiting for the ground to shift.
In the end, there was a spectacular fall, illusions shattered, and for Dane, nothing more to lose. He was broken, damaged, and left with fierce demons. But from the bottom, the only way left is up. Dane renewed friendships and salvaged his career. The only thing he cannot replace is Craig. But Dane has a plan. Brick by brick, his foundation is rebuilt, and all he needs is for Craig to listen one last time.
In the beginning again, there’s hope and tatters of love. Can Dane repair the damage with Craig? Can he rescue the only thing he amounted to that ever truly mattered?
Content Warning: This book contains vivid descriptions of symptoms of PTSD and events that can cause anxiety. Reader discretion advised.
Well…I don’t really know where to start. The Anatomy of Perception, by AJ Rose, is, without a doubt, a thought-provoking, emotional, soul-empowering, book. It will rock you to your core. It will squeeze your guts so tightly and it will pull on every heartstring. And then…just as quickly, you will be filled with hope that forgiveness is a reachable outcome. That love this powerful will have no choice but to prevail.
When I finished this last night I, immediately, went to the kitchen and took my migraine medicine. I knew with the amount of tears that poured down my face and the gut-wrenching emotions I was trying to hold back that a migraine by morning was imminent. But, I couldn’t stop reading. I had to know that Dane was going to be okay. I had to know if Craig could forgive one more time.
AJ Rose is a master for taking characters apart, piece by piece, sinking them to their lowest and giving them the skills to pull themselves up from the ashes, and persevere. When we meet Dane he has already went through the deepest and darkest hell and is resurrecting his way back. The question is will Craig listen. And, if he does, will he forgive? Or, is it too late?
The story goes from present day to past, and back to present. I’m not usually a fan for this type of plot, however, in order to get the full impact of events – it worked. It, also, helped to relieve some of my stress because I knew Dane was recovering. He is working SO hard to get past his issues of PTSD. He is seeking counselling, and he’s incorporated exercises to his daily life that will help him overcome his triggers. It’s a constant battle he fights trying to keep his demons from taking over.
Dane’s home life was a mass of destruction. His father is an SOB, a bastard, a homophobe, a bigot, and a violent drunk. Think of the worst and that will be Mr. Davis Perry. You are led to think that had Dane’s mother lived his father would have been a different, better man. I’m not so sure that he deserves that much credit. Dane’s saving grace was his best friend, Holly, and his brother, Dylan. The only two people Dane could trust, till Craig.
One reason this book resonated so strongly with me is I live an
hour and a half from Dane’s home. I know how simple-minded, strong-willed the personalities of this state can be. I know the bigotry that runs rampant and the people who seem to have no filter for what they think, or say. When Dane makes his escape I was elated with joy for him. He’s not out of the woods though as his father made sure his threats would be carried out if he was found.
Dane has strong convictions about his life and where he wants to go and he succeeds in carrying those out. When he walks up to a street crowd and sees Craig, an artist, he can’t help but notice he has very fine attributes (nice ass) but he can’t afford to become distracted. When he walks home later and finds his face painted on a cinderblock wall, he’s surprised but it pleases him that he made that type of an impression on the handsome artist. It’s not long though before his paranoia surfaces and he can’t get it removed fast enough. He can’t risk his father finding him and ruining the life he is building.
And Craig, love his heart. He is amazing, and talented, and gorgeous, and kind, and compassionate. He and Dane are together for 6 years before all hell breaks loose. Craig doesn’t understand because Dane keeps so much of his life a mystery. He doesn’t understand when Dane starts freaking out that his dad is close by. Your heart will literally be torn into pieces at the devastation that takes place. You will be pulled in many directions but ultimately you want Dane to get help, you understand why he does some of the things he does, yet over here is Craig who doesn’t have a clue and you want to reach in and grab him and never let go.
And then there are the secondary characters. AJ doesn’t cut corners in her books. If you are a friend, sibling, co-worker, or whatever the role is, it is apparent she puts a lot of thought into that character. They are strong, intelligent, resilient, and they have a voice that needs to be heard. Holly, Dane’s best friend, is amazing. She has been with him throughout every milestone in his life and every roadblock. She is his life support and she helps Dane conquer his demons. If he can’t, she will.
Then you have those people you despise. You know their game and how their mind works. It’s all about them and what you can do for them. Sabrina Ballard is a med student and in the same program as Dane. She is ruthless in her pursuit for him. She latches onto him day 1 and never let’s go. She doesn’t care that he is gay and in love with his partner. Dane didn’t confide personal information right away, but finding out he was gay made her that much more clingy. She reminds me of those girls in the movie, Mean Girls. To your face she is funny, charming, and best friend material. To your back she can’t stab you fast enough. If you ever cross her you will see her fangs. I hated her and I was thrilled when Dane finally gets to say his peace. It was a magical and brilliant moment.
This book is outstanding. When I read a story written by AJ Rose I feel like she has my heart in her hands. The descriptive narrative she possesses is unparalleled and distinctive.
He showed me beauty and love in a world that before him had been bleak and harsh, like thorns that pierced and tore to whims I’d never understood or been able to predict, let alone, avoid. Craig showed me to look a little farther up the stem, because above the thorns was the bloom, breathtaking and absolutely attainable if one just opened their eyes and reached higher.
If you like stories with a lot of depth, a lot of insight, and a plot that makes you think, gets your heart rate up, this is the one. There is humor and laughter. There are incredible moments of intimacy which lead to amazing bedroom scenes.
We’d done things together I’d done with no one else. He’d touched parts of me no one else had touched. There were no surprises between us, yet the heat of our bodies felt new, unexplored, and full of promise.
Oh my god, they are powerful and raw, and passionate. AJ knocked this out of the park. The originality and creativity along with the author’s sense of humor makes this one of the best books I have read. There are a couple of surprises that had me smiling from ear to ear. A day later, they still have me smiling.
It’s impossible to comment about everything in this story without giving spoilers or making it 10 pages long that is worth mentioning. I can only encourage you to get your copy, if you haven’t already.
You will laugh, you will cry, I had moments of bawling and I wasn’t sure which was running faster, my eyes or my nose. There is a lot of heartache and emotional distress but at its core this is a love story, a powerful love story that is beautiful. Amazing people…Amazing.