It's funny how often times the simplest of sentences have the most profound impact on us. 'Foxes' was my first book by the author Suki Fleet and the beginning of what I know is going to be many more. I started highlighting quotes and phrases and realized that I just needed a highlighter for the whole damned book. This author has left me breathless with the beauty of her words, her characters and the story she has given to us.
This was not a happy, cheerful, hearts and flowers book...although there were flowers, but you'll have to read the book to find out what happened to those. This is a chance for all of us to do a reality check to see if we know and understand what is truly important in this world. But at the same time we are given moments of sweetness, breathtaking tenderness and yes there are also laugh out loud moments...
"Your head is not filled with hormones--your body maybe, your dick probably, but not your head."
There are no big fancy houses or palaces in this book. Home is defined not by what you have but by how safe you feel. Family isn't the person who shares your blood it's the person who shares their food, shelter or clothes with you. It's the person who hauls you off of the street when you collapse, it's the person who's there when you open your eyes again.
This is the setting of 'Foxes'. 'Foxes' is the story of Danny a young man who was born on the streets and has only ever known this life. Danny is one of the most beautiful characters I have ever encountered, he's brave and kind, he's smart and sees the world so differently from others...thank god. He's also so insecure and unaware of his self worth that he breaks my heart at every turn. He sees himself through the eyes of others and frequently they are cruel.
"...I don't normally let myself think like this, but right now I'd give anything, absolutely anything, to look ordinary. For him to look at me and see an ordinary boy looking back at him. I wouldn't ask to be beautiful.
But there are those few who see Danny and all that he is. Dashiel, Danny's best friend. A victim of life on the streets and the reason that Danny hunts sharks night after night. Looking for the one that took Dashiel away, trying desperately to protect others from Dashiel's fate. There's Donna & Vinny, Dytryk, Milo, Diana and Micky.
"...I'm scared of fucking this up, and fucking it up so badly I somehow end up losing you, because I don't think you have a clue how much you mean to me and I don't know how to make you see..."
and then there's Dieter and Jack, characters who not in spite of their hatred for Danny, but because of it enable us to see the beauty that Danny brings to his world and theirs.
"Why don't you hate me?" he asks in a whisper. I shiver as his hand touches my hair.
"I don't know how." I whisper back.
Danny first encounters Micky when he is on his nightly search for sharks and he knows as soon as he looks at Micky that for him this boy is different. Initially Danny fights his feelings for Micky because he has a mission and nothing should be more important than finding Dashiel's killer. But as their paths continue to cross Danny knows that as strong as his desire is to find the person who ended the life of his best friend, his desire to protect and be with Micky is equal if not stronger.
There is a sweetness and a beauty to Danny and Micky's relationship that is such a stark contrast to the life they live...life on the streets where survival is often times hard won and living to see tomorrow is a victory not always granted and love is a luxury few can afford. If you only have time for one book this week or month or year...seriously you need to consider making it this one.
Perhaps that's all we need--small things to lift us above life's ocean depths.