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Official Review: Backcomb & Tattoo by Shea R Embry

Posted: 06 Jun 2019, 01:27
by srividyag1
[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Backcomb & Tattoo" by Shea R Embry.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Backcomb & Tattoo by Shea R Embry is a book about friendship and secrets. The novel follows an elderly woman known as Aunt Mary Opal and her young friends - Rachael, Jesi and Nicole. Aunt Mary Opal is suffering from a terminal illness. However, she is unwilling to reveal it to anyone. She just wants her last days to be filled with young people and their joy. Therefore, she recruits three young women into a friendship club where they drink and create memories. Over the course of the novel, they have many misadventures and funny moments.

The story takes place over a period of one year. The lives of everyone transform tremendously during that time. Aunt Mary Opal is a mysterious and remarkable character. She harbours many secrets in her life and urges her new friends to keep certain things hidden as well. As the story progresses, we observe these friends weaving an intricate web with more and more secrets to cover up the initial ones.

This is a transformational story, and the characters develop through their association with each other. Nicole is a victim of emotional abuse who learns to take care of herself. Jesi avoids commitments initially but learns to trust others. Rachael repeatedly puts others’ needs before hers and she learns to stand up for her wishes. Aunt Mary Opal wanted her young friends to give her support and love. However, she affects the lives of everyone around her with positivity and warmth. The novel deals with weighty issues like assisted suicide and domestic violence.

The book is unique in many ways. Most of the characters are female, and the book passes the Bechdel test. The female characters primarily talk about each other and very less about the men in their life. Moreover, the story delivers many lighter moments, which are exaggerated by the author with comic effect. All the women in the story react in dramatic ways to sadness, happiness and laughter. They have tears in their eyes as soon as they get emotional. They dance when they laugh. They throw pillows and hug each other very often. Even though these felt a little strange to me initially, I got used to it as I bonded with the characters. As I reached the end of the book, their quirks seemed natural.

I could find only two grammatical mistakes in the entire book. I give Backcomb & Tattoo by Shea R Embry 4 out of 4 stars for the excellent editing, dialogues and character development. This is a page-turner and one craves the company of these women even after completing the book. Despite all the secrets they conceal, their love unites them throughout. There are some lesbian romantic moments. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys light-hearted novels with predominantly female characters. I would not recommend this to anyone who expects deep philosophical ponderings or heterosexual romance. Nevertheless, I would invite everyone to give this book a chance because as Aunt Mary Opal says, “Have fun, it's the best thing to have.”

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Backcomb & Tattoo
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Re: Official Review: Backcomb & Tattoo by Shea R Embry

Posted: 07 Jun 2019, 02:06
by Brendan Donaghy
I'm not part of the target audience for this book, so I'll probably give it a miss. I did enjoy reading your review, though. Excuse my ignorance, but I hadn't heard of the Bechdel test before and had to google it. Now I know and I'm glad I do - many thanks for that!

Re: Official Review: Backcomb & Tattoo by Shea R Embry

Posted: 07 Jun 2019, 02:11
by ButterscotchCherrie
Good to see the Bechdel test mentioned, and that this book passes it! I'd never heard it applied to books before. This book sounds uplifting like a backcomb.

Re: Official Review: Backcomb & Tattoo by Shea R Embry

Posted: 07 Jun 2019, 02:13
by ButterscotchCherrie
Brendan Donaghy wrote:
07 Jun 2019, 02:06
Excuse my ignorance, but I hadn't heard of the Bechdel test before and had to google it. Now I know and I'm glad I do - many thanks for that!
I'd only heard it applied to films. Alarmingly enough, most acclaimed films fail it miserably.

Re: Official Review: Backcomb & Tattoo by Shea R Embry

Posted: 07 Jun 2019, 05:39
by Scarlet Nicoll
Sounds like a chick lit, doesn't necessarily need to contain romance, which I don't have an interest in. Thank you for this candid account!

Re: Official Review: Backcomb & Tattoo by Shea R Embry

Posted: 07 Jun 2019, 07:22
by Letora
I saw the cover and for some reason immediately thought of The Golden Girls. This seems like one of those books I wouldn't be able to put down. Reading about women empowering one another is a great thing. I assume that inevitably there will sadness in it, as the main character is terminally ill, but I'd still love to give it a try. Thank you for reviewing :)

Re: Official Review: Backcomb & Tattoo by Shea R Embry

Posted: 07 Jun 2019, 10:20
by kandscreeley
This one sounds quite intriguing. A story of friendship that changes lives like this one is always interesting. The secrets kept makes it that much more enjoyable. What are the secrets? Will they be found out? Thanks for sharing this one with us.

Re: Official Review: Backcomb & Tattoo by Shea R Embry

Posted: 07 Jun 2019, 16:09
by busisiwe5754
Thank for the review, I am sure this sounds like a very interesting book but my goal is to actually read more non- fiction book. Through the review, this is what comes to my mind: we woman are very common in the way in which we share our emotions, we cry laugh and hug. It shows that we are loving human beings.

Re: Official Review: Backcomb & Tattoo by Shea R Embry

Posted: 07 Jun 2019, 16:45
by Stephanie Elizabeth
Sounds like an endearing story about the power of friendship. I like the idea that the main character decided to keep her illness a secret because I think she is able to have more of an authentic experience. Exposing her illness could hinder the light spirit of her friends. Great review!

Re: Official Review: Backcomb & Tattoo by Shea R Embry

Posted: 08 Jun 2019, 06:10
by srividyag1
Brendan Donaghy wrote:
07 Jun 2019, 02:06
I'm not part of the target audience for this book, so I'll probably give it a miss. I did enjoy reading your review, though. Excuse my ignorance, but I hadn't heard of the Bechdel test before and had to google it. Now I know and I'm glad I do - many thanks for that!
Thank you for stopping by to comment, even though you are not the target audience of the book.

Re: Official Review: Backcomb & Tattoo by Shea R Embry

Posted: 08 Jun 2019, 06:12
by srividyag1
ButterscotchCherrie wrote:
07 Jun 2019, 02:11
Good to see the Bechdel test mentioned, and that this book passes it! I'd never heard it applied to books before. This book sounds uplifting like a backcomb.
Oh yes, it is. Ever since I heard about the research done by Bechdel-Wallace, I have applied it to every piece of fiction I have read or watched. It is a very interesting exercise. I was sad to note that not many works passed the test. On the other hand, if the gender roles are reversed, many do. Thanks for stopping by to comment!!

Re: Official Review: Backcomb & Tattoo by Shea R Embry

Posted: 08 Jun 2019, 06:14
by srividyag1
Scarlet Nicoll wrote:
07 Jun 2019, 05:39
Sounds like a chick lit, doesn't necessarily need to contain romance, which I don't have an interest in. Thank you for this candid account!
It is chick-lit, yes. But it is also an emotional and uplifting read. Certain lesbian romantic elements are there. Thanks for the comment!!

Re: Official Review: Backcomb & Tattoo by Shea R Embry

Posted: 08 Jun 2019, 06:15
by srividyag1
Letora wrote:
07 Jun 2019, 07:22
I saw the cover and for some reason immediately thought of The Golden Girls. This seems like one of those books I wouldn't be able to put down. Reading about women empowering one another is a great thing. I assume that inevitably there will sadness in it, as the main character is terminally ill, but I'd still love to give it a try. Thank you for reviewing :)
Loved your comment, thank you!!

Re: Official Review: Backcomb & Tattoo by Shea R Embry

Posted: 08 Jun 2019, 06:16
by srividyag1
kandscreeley wrote:
07 Jun 2019, 10:20
This one sounds quite intriguing. A story of friendship that changes lives like this one is always interesting. The secrets kept makes it that much more enjoyable. What are the secrets? Will they be found out? Thanks for sharing this one with us.
Exactly!! All those questions will be answered in the book. Thank you for the comment!!

Re: Official Review: Backcomb & Tattoo by Shea R Embry

Posted: 08 Jun 2019, 06:17
by srividyag1
busisiwe5754 wrote:
07 Jun 2019, 16:09
Thank for the review, I am sure this sounds like a very interesting book but my goal is to actually read more non- fiction book. Through the review, this is what comes to my mind: we woman are very common in the way in which we share our emotions, we cry laugh and hug. It shows that we are loving human beings.
Of course, we are. And there is some research to prove that hugging releases dopamine :D I hope you achieve your goal. Thanks for stopping by to comment!!