"Boys in Our Books"…

…we're keeping our name but expanding our offerings!

REVIEW: “The Painting of Porcupine City ” by Ben Monopoli



Brazilian graffiti artist Mateo Amaral is looking for his heaven spot, the one perfect place to paint. His coworker Fletcher Bradford is looking for a heaven spot of his own, and his is even more elusive. Out since age 12, Fletcher’s been around more blocks than Mateo has ever painted. He’s dated all the jerks, all the creeps, all the losers in between. At 26 he’s decided the only way to meet a nice guy is just never to give him a chance to prove otherwise. When he’s introduced to Mateo, Fletcher expects to add another notch to his bedpost. But Mateo is different–and from him Fletcher will rediscover a long-lost feeling: surprise. What Fletcher finds in the trunk of Mateo’s car will change his life in ways he never imagined–and may help him find what he’s always wanted.

From the author of THE CRANBERRY HUSH comes an epic story spanning years and hemispheres and miles of painted walls. At times sexy and sweet, gritty and gut-wrenching, THE PAINTING OF PORCUPINE CITY takes readers along with Mateo and Fletcher on an adventure through the subways of Boston to the towers of São Paulo. Are you in?


What an awesome story.

There’s so much to love about The Painting of Porcupine City.  I love not only the storyline, but the actual story telling.  Nothing seems to be out of place.  Every scene (or sentences for that matter) has a clear intention.  Every meeting, every thought, every conversation propels the story forward.  There are no fillers… no parts of the story that don’t serve a purpose.  And each of these pages are full of showing and little telling.

Mateo and Fletcher’s relationship is a wondrous thing that ever so slowly progresses from colleagues, to friends, to lovers, to so much more. Their progression is slow and full of tension, but don’t confuse it with angst.  I’d say it’s more of a slow build despite Fletcher’s instant attraction.  Monopoli doesn’t show all his cards from the beginning, so it really feels as though anything could happen.  And to quote the book itself, its “surprise wrapped in surprise”.

The story, so unlike most, left no clues as to what will come next. At 51 percent I was intrigued by the shallow persona that outlined Fletcher and I think the character’s floors made the story so much better. So much more real.  None of the characters are simple and each of them have (or had) some bad attributes.  What fuels those attributes is even more interesting.  Let’s call it character psychology 101.

By 61 percent I was sure I couldn’t read anymore – too frightened of what would happen next.

At 63 percent everything was blown to pieces. That is how a story should be told. As a reader, the prospect of having so much more story yet to unfold, while having already devoured so much is a rare treat. Usually we know exactly how a story will unfold, save a few fluffy details along the way. But that is not the case here.

And from there on, the story only twists and turns another 84 times.  You just don’t find stories like this very often.  And the writing – dear Lord, the writing!  It was thoughtful and thought provoking.  Strokes of genius presented like it was absolutely nothing at all, while at times it was beautifully poetic.

Watching Fletcher and Mateo metaphorically dip and soar throughout the story was magnificent. The change in them: wonderful and unexpected.

I know this story is not for everyone.  It’s not a romance but I thought it was heavenly romantic – and even moreso because of it’s “warts and all” approach.




12361754Title:  The Painting of Porcupine City
Author:  Ben Monopoli
Publisher:  Self Published
Pages:  400
Release Date:  September 1st, 2011
Purchase Links:  Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords.

10 comments on “REVIEW: “The Painting of Porcupine City ” by Ben Monopoli

  1. Kim W
    February 12, 2015

    This was a great book. I read it quite a while ago and I’ve never looked at graffiti the same way since.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue
      February 12, 2015

      Me too, Kim. I wonder what the artist is like… Do they have a heaven spot? How important is it to them?

      What a great book. :)


      • Kim W
        February 13, 2015

        Have you read Homo Action Love Story? I love that book even more. Porcupine City is a little melancholy but Homo Action Love Story is crazy and fun.


        • Sue
          February 14, 2015

          Hey Kim, :)

          Nah, I haven’t read Homo Action…

          I’d *love* to see Monopoli’s words create something crazy and fun… I’ll DEF read it and Cranberry Hush… xx


  2. helenajust
    February 12, 2015

    This is one of my all-time favourite books, together with Cranberry Hush by the same author. As Kim W says, you’ll never look at graffiti the same way again.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sheri
    February 12, 2015

    I’ve been waiting for this review…I can’t wait to read it (Onyx will remind me that I promised to read it ages ago!). You must read Cranberry Hush…seriously, it’s fantastic!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue
      February 12, 2015

      Read it, Shez! And I’ll def read Cranberry Hush. :)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sheri
        February 12, 2015



        • Onyx
          February 13, 2015

          Lol, Sheri!

          This is a great review. Right there around 60% is so INTENSE! And the rest: wonderful, unexpected, heavenly romantic… Sue, you said it all!

          Liked by 2 people

          • Sue
            February 14, 2015

            Thanks Onyx! :D :D :D

            Glad you loved it too. xx


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on February 12, 2015 by in Contemporary, Reviewer: Sue and tagged , , .

Follow Us On Twitter

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.



%d bloggers like this: