Book Review: Drawing Blood by Poppy Z. Brite

“Art is not a mirror. Art is a hammer.”

This is a book I read to tatters as a teenager and yet haven’t touched in years as an adult.

Well, that changed this weekend.

Re-reading a favorite book for me is so much like slipping into a comfortable dream. I know these pages so well, the words cradle me, the paragraphs are like a lullaby and at the same time they can be like a knife.

I know how it all ends.

That can be a good or bad end depending on the book.

This book shaped a huge chunk of my teenage years and helped me through some pretty rough times and I’ll always love it for that alone. Perhaps I’m biased towards it a bit because of that but it is what it is.

Missing Mile, North Carolina is but a blip on the map. Perfect for the McGee family to start anew. That is until Bobby McGee loses his mind one fateful night and murders most of the McGee family and himself. He leaves only one person alive in the massacre, his five year old son, Trevor, who discovers the bodies the next morning. Twenty years later the house is empty and abandoned and Trevor returns. He is still wondering about his existence – why did his father leave him and him alone alive?

His path and destiny collides with another lost soul. Zachary Bosh, 19 year old fugitive computer hacker who is on the run from the FBI from New Orleans. Together they collide at the old, haunted house on Violin Road where they face their ghosts, confront new demons, but most of all they fall in love.

Big sigh of happiness. I love this beautiful book full of gorgeous prose, gay sex, and horrific gore. It’s stunning and the characters are beautiful and I want to meet Zach and Trevor and give them the biggest hugs in existence because NOBODY should have to go through the shit that they did.

Massive trigger warnings all over. There is child death in it. First chapter full stop and it’s pretty descriptive and awful.

Trevor’s father to me is a selfish asshole who chose to wipe out his family just because he was selfish and cruel.

Trevor and Zach as characters are wonderfully fleshed out. I can imagine them so perfectly that I can smell them. Brite’s prose has always been amazing and he does such a great job that I’ve never loved characters more than I’ve loved these too. Zach makes me laugh out loud with his insanity. I really loved in the book how his downfall was caffeine and to reach the mythical world of Birdland coffee was the key. It worked out so well, it was perfect.

The side characters were perfect as well and my heart broke for Eddy although I did not much like the treatment of her I also felt it was lifelike because girl…I’ve been there. And it STINGS. That heartbreak is like no other. What I would really love is a book just about Eddy and her kick ass adventures tbh. She deserves so much more.

In the book, Bobby McGee is an artist who cannot draw anymore, Trevor has inherited his father’s artistic ability and fears that one day it too will fade away . Trevor has nothing except his art until he and Zach meet and now Trevor sees the dilemma that Bobby faced that fateful night.

This is a story about love, blood, and eluding the police. There’s strong dashes of magical realism involved too. Plenty of ghosts as well. Poppy Z. Brite writes gothic horror well and doesn’t pull any punches. It’s a miasma of lust and wrath twisted together. I mean, there’s literally a scene where the sink is flooding with blood and semen. It also has some of the best lines in existence. I mean hello???:

When a customer was nasty or business was bad or she was just in no mood to shake her ass for a bunch of human dildoes, she would think of junk-filled needles jabbing into putrescent veins, of swollen cocks leaking foul greenish slime, of beautiful boys fistfucking by the light of a rotten-cheese moon. It didn’t make her happy, but it helped.

“Calvin’s eyes widened. “Is the urge to kill hereditary?””

My rating for this book years ago was 5 stars and I find that that rating is still the same. The prose is beautiful, the characters are amazing, and the plot is original and terrifying. There is diversity amongst the cast and the leads are LGBT. If you’re looking for some lusty gay horror this is the book for you.

even if I should miss everything by a mile, no, cherie…

14 thoughts on “Book Review: Drawing Blood by Poppy Z. Brite

  1. I agree with you that there’s something extra special about rereading books that got us through dark days when we were younger. They just always deserve five stars for that reason alone. I totally get what you mean about the book cradling you gently, great books just take a part of our soul don’t they… but oh how delicately they take care of that part… Fantastic review lovely <3333

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yes!!! that’s exactly it. you get me completely my love. like with this book i was going through the teenage stuff and getting over my first love, moving to a new state, feeling alone, and going through the motions of writing and it just helped so much. i’m so glad i could read it again and still be just as in love with it ❤ ugh ily

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “ I know these pages so well, the words cradle me, the paragraphs are like a lullaby and at the same time they can be like a knife.” AHHHHH!! You have summed it up COMPLETELY AND MOST ACCURATELY!! Re-reading favorite book is like coming back home after a loongggg and tiring holiday!! The moment you read the first word, you know it’s going to be alright, you feel safe! 😍😍❤️❤️❤️❤️

    Just like this one helped you during distress, The Hobbit helped me! THOSE DAYS WHEN I FELT THE WHOLE WORLD CRASHING ABOUT ME, Bilbo Baggins came to my rescue and I WILL FOREVER LOVE HIM FOR THAT!

    F O R E V E R!! 😍😍❤️❤️❤️😭😭😭😭😭

    Awww!! You have made me emotional for Zach and Trevor and I DONT EVEN FUCKING KNOW THE GUYSS!! God, I am soooo gonna read the fuck out of this book!! 🤣❤️❤️❤️😍😍

    LOVED THIS POST, Amanda!!! ❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. aaaaah YOUR COMMENT GOT CAUGHT UP IN MY SPAM FOLDER AND I DON’T KNOW WHY AND IT MAKES ME SO MAD

    thanks so much my love!!! some people have told me that they don’t understand how i can re-read books and i never got that at all. i’m like…it’s one of the best things you can do??? it’s like it’s so comforting and one of my favorite things ever.

    thank you so so much ❤

    Like

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