Split means many things in the novel: the storyline is split in two, the 11 years old Derek in love with his 15 years old neighbour Nicolai Lund, his best friend Boone’s older brother, and the 28 years old Derek in an abusive relationship with Nathan and struggling to face the imminent lost of his dear aunt Fran, the only relative who always understood him. Split is Nick’s life, now and before, a dyslexic young boy with huge potential but also with a lot of repressed rage. Split was also Derek, too young at the time to understand what he was feeling for Nick, but nevertheless feeling it and being scared; strange enough, for how angry and rebellious Nick was, being gay himself seemed to not being an issue (actually he was bisexual, another “splitting” in the story) and he was the only one that helped a bit Derek coping with that discovery. Split is Derek’s today life, knowing he has all the reason to love Nathan, successful and handsome, but not able to do that, since, in a way, Derek has always been in love with Nick, and now that Nick is back in town, there is no way Derek can marry Nathan and move with him to Milan.
If not for the contemporary storyline about Derek, Nathan and Nick, this could have been without an issue a young adult novel; the 11 years old Derek is facing all the issues of a young boy entering the teen years, the discovery of love, sex and death. Derek’s family is coping with the death of an unborn child and they probably don’t understand that Derek has issues of his own; and in the end, they have not really understood him at all. Derek adopts Boone’s family, above all Boone’s father, Johann, but he can in no way adopt Boone’s brother Nick, he has not really brotherly feeling for Nick. Derek doesn’t know what those feelings are, but he knows he is physically ill when he is near Nick, and Nick is like the purpose of his life. Derek is Red, due to his hair color, and Nick is Blue, due to his Norwegian blue sky eyes, Red and Blue becomes Purple and Derek would love with all his own to live in a purple world.
The 28 years old Derek has almost forget that 11 years old boy and his purple dreams, but dying Aunt Fran wants to do a last gift to her nephew, and she brings him back his journal, the journal where Derek poured all his love for Nick. And then a chance meeting with Boone let Derek knows that Nick is back in town, and single. Now is the time for Derek to grasp that love he let it go many years ago since he was too young to live it.
As I said, while the first part of the book is very good, but mostly chaste, the second part will appeal a lot the more traditional romance lovers, since it has practically everything, love, family, good feelings, sex and a little bit of pink glasses perspective that is never too much.
Amazon Kindle: Split
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (April 19, 2011)