Apr 9, 2013

Arabelle's Shadows

Arabelle's  Shadows
by Fleur Gaskin

Book: Stand Alone
Publisher: CreateSpace
Pub Date: Nov 25 2012
Genre: Young Adult
Format: eBook
SourceAuthor Request
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Everything in Arabelle's life is coming together. She has confidence, great friends, she's even dating Naak, a wealthy Thai socialite. But there are too many models in Bangkok. Arabelle’s broke, she can’t find an agent in New York, and Naak isn’t as wonderful as he first appears. Slowly the Shadows creep back into Arabelle’s mind, bringing with them thoughts of hopelessness and despair. The vile Shadows know something Arabelle’s refusing to remember and, if she’s not careful, they’ll use it to destroy her. Based on a true story, Arabelle’s Shadows takes us on a journey through the struggles of growing up, not quite making it as an international model, and attempting to overcome a crushing depression.

Quote "I gave in to the voices haunting my mind, a horrifying darkness I call the Shadows."

Author Bio
Fleur Gaskin is from New Zealand. She was an international model for six years, working in over ten countries, mainly in Asia and Europe. She has been in TV commercials, walked on runways and done many print jobs including Elle, Marie Claire and Vogue magazines. 
She presently lives in Shanghai, China with her fiancĂ©.


Arabelle’s Shadows is a very emotional read that is based on a true story.  Arabelle, a model from New Zealand, struggles to find success as she travels through different countries in Europe and Asia, hopping from agency to agency, and often returning to Bangkok.  Her struggles during this time are chronicled in an easy-to-read journal format that includes vignettes of her childhood and teenage years. Throughout the story, Arabelle is continuously fighting her depression and discusses her battles with anxiety, a father who is an alcoholic, and a less than perfect childhood. She also desperately wants to find someone who loves her for her rather than engage in superficial flings, situations that she often finds herself in.  Her desperation to find peace within herself and overcome her insecurities are shared through very detailed and heartfelt writing.

Arabelle’s struggles with depression, which she refers to as her shadows, are revealed as the story progresses, often ending a chapter with an experience in her life that helps the reader understand her present mindset. I was especially moved by Arabelle’s emotional connection to the family dog and her close childhood friendships that she discussed in the story.  Arabellle’s understanding of her own empathy and its consequences gave me a better understanding of the choices she made and pain that she experienced.

Although Arabelle is a model, travels to many countries, and has many friends, the shadows that are portrayed in this story allowed me to experience true depression regardless of circumstance.  Her detailed depictions of self harm and self destructive behavior describe the true intensity and debilitating effects of depression.  Her portrayal of being on drugs was realistic and the physical effects of using drugs is illustrated precisely.  For instance, she said that “each individual hair tickled her” while describing her experience on ecstasy.  She goes on to rationalize her drug use by saying that the antidepressants made her feel no emotion.  This type of cause and effect is illustrated throughout the book.

Arabelle’s Shadows is a coming of age book that highlights the struggles of a person suffering from depression.  It also brings to light the dark side of the modeling industry. It is intense, raw, and real- a great read for an adult looking for an emotive read.