Thursday, September 12, 2013

God-Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartolo

God-Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartolo
Published: May 1, 2002 by Sourcebooks Landmark
Source: Purchased from Amazon
When I was twelve, a fortune teller told me that my one true love would die young and leave me all alone.
Everyone said she was a fraud, that she was just making it up.
I'd really like to know why the hell a person would make up a thing like that.

Written with the snap, glitter and wit of The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing, God-Shaped Hole is a memorable, poignant love story that will leave you weeping with laughter. It is told in the wry, vulnerable voice of Beatrice "Trixie" Jordan who replies to a personal ad, "If your intentions are pure I am seeking a friend for the end of the world."

In doing so, she meets Jacob Grace, a charming, effervescent thirty-something writer, a free spirit who is a passionate seeker of life. He possesses his own turn of phrase and ways of thinking and feeling that dissonantly harmonize with Trixie's off-center vision as they roller coaster through the joys and furies of their wrenching romance. Along the way they try to come to terms with the hurt brought about by their distant fathers who, in different ways, forsook them.

This story will prove so touching you will rush to share it with a friend or loved one or even a stranger. [goodreads]

Tiffanie DeBartolo is an author that should not be overlooked.  She's been around for awhile (this book here was published in 2002), yet I just recently met her work only a year ago (with How to Kill a Rock Star).  I went into this novel already familiar with her storytelling.  There's an honest, unforgiving way with her words that make it difficult to articulate my love affair with her books.  Just know that it's a true love story, on my part.  I have fallen deeply, head over heels, in every way possible, kind of love with the way this woman writes.  It speaks to me on a level so far beyond that I don't think this review will do it justice.  But I sure as hell will try.

Beatrice lives in Los Angeles, where she's a product of a broken home due to her father's inability to keep it in his pants.  She's older now, on her own, and wants to get as far outside the Los Angeles city limits as humanly possible. She despises everything L.A. stands for, including the plastic relationships adorned by the rich and shallow.  Immediately I liked this girl.  I saw someone who was stubborn, harboring some serious issues due to her father's hangups. But I also saw someone who was strong, and had an eye for beauty.  I wanted to know this girl more.

On a whim she answers a personal ad in the paper that says "If your intentions are pure I am seeking a friend for the end of the world." As Beatrice walked into that diner that day, expecting to meet some weirdo that she'll never speak to again, what she gets is a guy named Jacob, who will change the course of her life from that day forward.  Immediately these two begin a strong, giddy-filled romance that grows with just a dash of water and bursts at the first sign of sunlight.  Typically I would have thought this sort of romance is too soon, too quick. But again, DeBartolo set the scene so vividly, and so realistically, that acceptance was all I felt.  I believed their instant attraction.  Jacob and Trixie.  Their story was worth the read, and I just had to know what happened next.

Over the course of a year, we follow Trixie and Jacob as they navigate their relationship through really low lows and really high highs.  Both characters come from a fatherless home, one being a physical absence as the other a more emotional one.  Jacob is a writer, continuously working on his book.  Trixie (yes, I am referring to Beatrice, but this is the name only Jacob gives her) designs custom made jewelry for those same high maintenance people of L.A. I mentioned earlier. While going through the motions of their every day lives, the two of them conjure up a plan to leave L.A. and head south -- to Memphis.  It's a plan they always talk about, and even begin to put into motion.  But along the way things happen. Some may call it life, others may refer to it as fate.  Nonetheless there are variables constantly questioning them, forcing them to deal with past grievances, but always coming back to one another.

The relationship between Jacob and Trixie is real.  There is no other word to describe it.  They feed off of one another, laughing, and even hurting together.  DeBartolo really captured the essence of when two souls find one another and attempt to make a life together, as tragic and beautiful as it may be.  The theme of this novel comes back to its title God-Shaped Hole.  It's referenced several times throughout, explaining that we each have this hole inside us. Some are filled with meaningless things, while others are constantly searching for something so much grander than themselves to overflow its capacity.  I feel as if Jacob always knew what would complete his emptiness, he had a way of discovering it in everything he came in contact with.  While Trixie spends the entire story always searching, questioning, what may fit inside her God-Shaped Hole.

Do yourself a favor and introduce Tiffanie De Bartolo's writing into your life now.  This story is an honest example of why I truly love to read.  It brings forth emotions, reactions, and images of a world that has nothing to do with me, yet causes me to identify with it in such a personal way.  


  1. I've haven't heard much about this but it sounds like something worth checking out. Great review! I'm always in the mood for a good romance story.

  2. I remember how much you loved and recommend How To Kill a Rockstar back when you read it and I really want to check it out, but now more than ever I REALLY want to read these two books. You've painted such an enticing picture for this story, G! I'm going to go purchase these right. now. :)

  3. Your passion for this novel shone through in your review, and I think you did a wonderful job encapsulating what made you love it as much as you did. Often times I find that the most difficult reviews to write are for the novels we loved the most as it seems almost impossible to convey why the story touched us so deeply, but I think you certainly mastered that problem here.

    I had never heard of God-Shaped Hole (Or Tiffanie DeBartolo) prior to reading your review today, but I am so thankful that they're on my radar now! I've added the former to my 'to-read' shelf on Goodreads and have every intention of purchasing a copy as soon as humanely possible as I'm convinced it's a book that I'll love, too. I've come to rely on your reviews very heavily as you've consistently recommended novels that I've adored time and time again (See: Ruthie Knox's Ride With Me, Sarah MacLeans' Love By The Numbers series, etc) We seem to enjoy many of the same sort of stories and I can only hope that this will be true again with God-Shaped Hole.

    Thank you so much for this beautiful, insightful review, Ginger! :)

  4. Wow, I think this might be one of the glowingest reviews I've ever seen! I think I saw you mention this once before and added to to my TBR list. But, after reading your review, I feel like I need to get it and read it ASAP.

  5. WOW! This review makes me want to hop on amazon and buy this book now (and I just might)!

  6. I loved absolutely LOVED How to Kill A Rockstar and have been meaning to read God-Shaped Hole. Tiffanie definitely deserves more recognition!


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