Publication Date: 15 September 2012
Review by Helen
We first met Cal and Aly in Ann Lee Miller’s debut novel, Kicking Eternity (see my review). Cal is a marijuana addict, son of a preacher who has just done time for possession. Aly, a girl with a promiscuous past and serious daddy issues, is the girl he’s loved since they were fifteen.
There’s also Missy — Cal’s not-so-little-anymore sister, and Fish — Cal’s estranged best friend, whose own chemistry make them co-stars of the novel.
If I were to describe The Art of My Life in one word, it'd be real. The characters are everyday twenty-somethings struggling to shed their past and establish their lives. Their language, internal insecurities, propensity to make mistakes, dysfunctional families and relationships all worked together to convince me that I was twenty again and living alongside them.
This is a more mature book than Kicking Eternity. There are deep emotions, a handful of coarse language, and plenty of romantic — sometimes, sexual — tension. In my opinion, this boldness and honesty just made the characters even more authentic. However, because of this, I would not recommend this book to younger teens.
The Art of My Life tugged at my heart strings as it was so easy to empathise with the characters’ internal pain. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and drama, and was rooting for Cal and Aly to get their happy ending.