Mr. Skinner wrote Memorizing You, one of the most beautifully written books I’ve had the pleasure to read (although it broke my heart to pieces), a coming-of-age romance between two boys set in the seventies. It was poetic, charming and heartbreaking.
The Price of Dick is nothing like it.
It’s the story of a photographer, JJ, who becomes friends with a man called Dick, a guy who works in a brokerage firm and who’s really good at getting what he wants. Dick has a secret. Guess which one.
It’s a sad, gut-wrenching story with a good ending. The way it’s told is what makes this book worth reading.
Dan Skinner’s voice in this one is not lyrical. It’s punch-in-your-gut honest and raw. You don’t hear birds singing with this one. You hear the gravel rolling as you’re dragged through it. You hear the Tetris pieces fall into place when the main character starts catching on to what’s been going on.
The thing is, we all know a Dick or have heard of a Dick. Someone who preys on the old, the gullible, the soft at heart, the nice people who don’t have a mean bone in their body and who would never think it possible that someone like Dick would try to con them, or hustle them or even lie to them.
I found it difficult to read but never did I even think of stopping. I knew JJ was smart enough to figure it out in the end, even if he was that type of person who wouldn’t see malice coming because he would never think anyone capable of such meanness. And I laughed out loud sometimes. JJ can be very funny.
It’s at least partly inspired by Dan Skinner’s life. JJ is a photographer like Dan Skinner, he had the same upbringing, his career path is the same as Dan’s, the photos he takes are in the same style, one of the models he mentions is described exactly like one of Dan’s models in photos I’ve seen on his website, and lots of other little details you’d know if you’ve read his posts and seen his pictures. I hope that Dick is fictional. If he’s based on a real person, I hope he’s lying in shame somewhere, pointed and laughed at.
For all the JJ’s in the world, this book is to show you that you’re not alone, there are Dicks everywhere and there’s no shame in trusting someone out of the goodness of your heart. You can get through it, and you can even conquer Dicks.
Hot sex scenes, folks. If you’re not 18, wait until you are. Then read it and learn something about life. And writing. Oh yeah. The writing is superb.