Rating: 3.5 / 5
I picked up this copy of TEMPER by Layne Fargo at a book swap with some fellow Southern California bookstagrammers. I knew nothing about this one, but the cover caught my eye and I added it to my October reading list when I wanted something quick to finish off the month. I read this one so quickly I almost forgot to log it on my read list entirely, so it for sure fit that quick read I was looking for.
Kira is a struggling actress who is barely making ends meet in Chicago by performing in schools and living with her best friend who has financial means she doesn’t. As the book opens, Kira is finally about to get her big break, starring in a new play “Temper” with Malcom, an actor and director who has quite the reputation for pushing the limits on the projects he’s starring in. Kira is eager to land the part, burning all other bridges in an effort to prove herself worthy.
Joanna is Malcom’s business partner and co-founder of the theater putting on “Temper”, but their relationship is much more complicated than that. She doesn’t feel that Kira is right for the role, but Malcom has the final say and Kira is soon on board. Joanna has aspirations beyond just supporting Malcom’s rise to fame and she’s got some secrets of her own.
This is a book that left me with mixed feelings. I think there was a lot that was well done in the way the narrative switched between the POVs of Kira and Joanna with their stories and backstories interesting and overlapping with the drama being portrayed on stage. “Temper” is a play which centers on emotion and violence and the ways that impacts the characters in their real life is very well done.
One of the issues I had with the story is that there weren’t any characters I really liked or connected with. I would guess that was done intentionally here, but for me it made me less invested in the story. The way the characters blur the lines of their relationships between friendship and romance and bed partners wasn’t to my tastes. From the book’s synopsis I didn’t really expect that aspect of the story.
The book definitely kept my attention to want to know where the plot was heading and it definitely worked in that respect. You know things are going to get darker, you just don’t necessarily know how dark!