Book Reviews

Book Review: Dirty Like Brody

Title: Dirty Like Brody
Author: Jaine Diamond
Genre: Romance, Fiction

What It’s About: Jessa Mayes arrives in Vancouver, nearly twenty-four hours late and exhales in joy just as she leaves the doors of the airport, only to find herself face to face with Brody Mason, who is angry at her not only for being delayed but for running and never returning his calls over six and a half years. Brody takes her into his truck, tells her that he is dead to her since she hadn’t wanted to return his calls, and drops her off at the floatplane that will take her directly to her brother’s wedding in Vancouver Island. He then turns around to go pick up his girlfriend, Amanda, for the wedding of his best friend, Jesse Mayes. Jessa turns around and strikes up a conversation with her friend, Roni.

Brody arrives later in the day at the party–after the rehearsal dinner has already happened–and takes Amanda around, introducing her to everyone else, except that he cannot stop searching the room for Jessa nor can he stop brooding. Jessa finally arrives at the party, makes her introductions, and then makes a fool of herself by sitting down in the cake at the party, before having to head home and change out.

Not too long after, they have the bachelor and bachelorette parties, which go wild when the men crash the bachelorette party. Jessa needs to take a break from watching her brother make out with his fiancĂ©e, and she walks outside the house, where she walks into Brody. They have a heated exchange, and without realizing she almost falls off the boardwalk, when Brody pulls her into him to save her. This confuses Jessa as she has feelings for Brody–she’s been running from him and her messed up young adulthood for six and a half years–but it seems like he’s hot and cold every so often.

The following day the wedding happens, and the whole band as well as the guests have an amazing time. As the party dies down, the circle gets smaller–with only the members of Dirty and their significant others making the way to the fire pit, where they have to sing in order to join the pit. Brody steps away to take a piss in the woods, when Jessa shows up and has to sing in order to join the fire pit. He stays hidden in the woods to listen as Jessa sings on the guitar because he is afraid that she will stop singing if she sees him, and only enters the circle once she’s done. Throughout the night, Brody and Jessa continue to avoid each other, until Jesse takes his wife, Katie, back to their cabin, and the group gets egged on by Zane, the lead singer, to jump into the cold river. Dylan, Ash and Roni jump in right after Zane, Jessa takes a few minutes before jumping in, and Zane calls to Maggie, who ultimately does join them. Since the water is really cold, they get out shortly thereafter, and Jessa runs up to the fire, only to be covered by a blanket by Brody while everyone else streaks to their cabins.

At the fire, Jessa reveals to Brody that she hadn’t left because she was lost in this maze of a resort and doesn’t know how to get back to her cabin, which is why it took so long for her to get to the pit. As a result, Brody walks her back to her room, and enters with her into the cabin to get the fireplace started, since Jessa tells him that she doesn’t know how to do it. He also goes into the bathroom to warm up the bath for her, and they end up having an argument over her running away and Brody says cruel words to her, while she reveals that the Led Zeppelin shirt that she had worn at the airport was his shirt that she stole from his house after the last party there. Brody leaves Jessa with Roni, and Jessa falls asleep once she’s in bed, with the Led Zeppelin shirt that Jessa had left behind at the fire.

The next morning Jessa is hung over, but makes the decision to stay in Vancouver, while Brody is nowhere to be seen around. Jesse decides to postpone his honeymoon with his wife so that he can spend some time with Jessa who hasn’t been home in six and a half years. When they return to Vancouver, she stays with Roni, but Jesse shows her the church that the band has been practicing at–it was an abandoned church and they needed bigger space. It is there that Zane and Jesse are messing around when Jessa provides some lyrics that have all of the makings of a Dirty hit song–like the Dirty Like Me. Ultimately Brody finds his way to the church, and when they’re done playing, he tells Jessa that she needs to go packing; she does not belong here, and that she shouldn’t say his name because she means nothing to him.

This leads Jessa into a depressive spell where she hides in Roni’s apartment, and the members of the band come visiting her, but she does not want to leave. Katie, her sister-in-law, finally pulls her to her own studio, where she has Jessa sit for her as part of the 10th anniversary paintings for the band, and Jessa sees a painting of Seth which brings up a lot of memories for her because Seth looks exactly like she remembers him in that painting. She doesn’t want to run, anymore, because she’s finally home, and wants to stay home, even though her instinct is to run first and foremost.

Jessa eventually makes up with Brody, telling him that she loves him, and they have sex several times. But she cannot come clean about what happened to make her run away as a younger person. Then she finds out that Brody and Dirty had hired Seth for a 10 year reunion show that will start out at a bar, where she will also be playing. As a result of this, she clams up because she does not know how to even tell Brody the truth. One night before the show, Brody has a business meeting with Seth, and it happens to be the same day that Jessa had planned to make tacos for the two of them. She has no problem making additional tacos, but she did not know it was Seth that would be the one that was coming to dinner.

She makes the taco–enough for two–and runs away to Roni, who takes her to a biker gang club party. But Jessa feels scared, so she calls Jude-Dirty’s security and a member of a different biker gang-who comes with Brody to pick her up. This leads to a subsequent argument with Brody about him thinking that she is a whore, when really that was not what the party was about. Once again Jessa asks him how much longer will he punish her for leaving and running away, when she’s here now and not going anywhere. Brody makes her get on the motorcycle and then drives her to Jesse’s house, where Jessa wants to stay for the night. Another argument ensues, this time because Brody assumes that Jessa is in love with Seth or has some unresolved feelings regarding Seth from her childhood. At which point Jessa tells him that it has always been him–just before Jesse shows up opening the door at the commotion, while Brody stalks off in anger.

They make up again, after the band’s 10 Year Reunion kick-off show, when they have sex in the bathroom of the club. Jessa goes to a modeling gig in the US, before returning and they continue their blissful relationship, but Jessa knows that Seth will be signing a contract with Dirty to come on as their rhythm guitarist. She knows that she cannot continue to lie about things and needs to come clean, so she gives Seth a chance to come clean–24 hours–to the band, before going over to Maggie’s house where the ladies talk. It is then that Maggie reveals that she and Zane have been married almost a year since their trip to Las Vegas but that she does not take Zane seriously because he’s such a womanizer. Maggie then tells Jessa to just tell Brody the truth, whatever it may be, because then she would really have her answer. Jessa has been afraid that Brody would never love her after he found out the truth about the her–and if she tells him and he walks away she has her answer. If she tells him and he sticks by her, she has her answer. Maggie reveals to her that the group has signed Seth as a rhythm guitarist.

Brody shows up at Maggie’s house and is wary about what will happen with Jessa. At first he thinks that she’s running away, but she reassures him that this is not the case, while Maggie threatens him if he doesn’t listen to Jessa, and then leaves for a while. So Jessa lays it all out at his feet.

Jesse’s and Jessa’s father left them when their mother was pregnant with Jessa which is why Jesse named her after himself. Their father returned at some point and when Jesse was nine, Jessa was five, he committed suicide. From there, their mother worked long hours and was often sick, which meant that Jesse was taking care of Jessa and she grew up at Dolly’s–Zane’s grandmother. She met Brody when she was eight, and she’s loved him ever since, really, because he was the one that showed up with tampons for her when she got her first period, and she turned to him when she needed him for something. But then when she was sixteen, her mother died, and that wrecked her in a way. Seth had joined the band at the time, and she became really close with him because he was the only one who seemed to not judge her, and he would tried to sneak her alcohol and things when there were all of these rules imposed by Jesse, and Brody on her. She couldn’t even get into a concert without being kicked out by Brody and Jude even though she really wanted to party and just feel the crowd. Eventually Seth also supplied her drugs, and she had done all of the different types of drugs with him, but she was worried that he was not getting anything in exchange for the drugs, so she slept with him several times–giving up sex for drugs. And when the tour started, there was pressure from Jesse and Brody that she goes on tour when she did not really want to be on tour–she always just wanted to be a lyricist–but no one seemed to really care what she wanted, and things with Seth were bad, and things with Brody were impossible as he had been with one girl or another, even though he had told her that he would wait for her when she was fifteen. So she ran–she ran to escape it all and just to get better. And Brody’s messages, though unanswered by her, had saved her life in the six and a half years that she was away, giving her hope. She also reveals that the hit song Dirty Like Me which was written by her and then also tinkered by Seth, was about the relationship she had with Seth as well as her relationship with Brody.

Brody listens to all that and tells her that he is no better–though he is very angry about Seth, because he believes that Seth raped her, while Jessa tells him that is not the case. But he tells her that he loves her no matter what. When he finally does visit the church where the group has been playing, he beats Seth up for raping Jessa, but then falls on an amp, gets a concussion, vomits and blacks out. Because of this, Seth gets kicked out of the band again. A few days later, once he’s been released from the hospital and the world has stopped spinning, Brody finds Jessa and Jesse jamming in the church. At first he talks to Jesse who asks him if he’s been for real about Jessa and Brody says yes. Jesse tells him that he approves, and goes back inside to tell Jessa to see Brody.

The two of them sit on the stoop, and Brody tells her that her life is not messed up, that she has no reason to feel guilt about a lot of things, but that he wishes that she would have come to them as they would have had her back. He also reveals the truth about his father, who beat him as a young child, and whom he grew to hate. He wanted to find a way to be stronger than his father to scare him to stop beating him, when Brody got recruited by the Sinners, a biker gang, from which he had the pin that he gave Jessa at the playground when she was eight and being bullied. He is honest with her about their past from his perspective, and Jessa is very understanding, empathetic. She also reiterates that she has zero desire to be on stage with Dirty, but she wants to be a lyricist and would sign on as such for the band.

Few days after that, he throws a party at his mansion for his friends, and once everyone is taken care of, the food is cooked, he asks Jessa to follow him upstairs with him. There he shows her a room that he had specially decorated for her to do her work as a lyricist, and asks her to move in, which she agrees to.

Six months later, Seth Brothers has finished playing at a bar in the US as part of a band where he uses the alias Todd Becker–his father’s name–when the announcement comes that Dirty is doing auditions and a reality TV show about the auditions for a Rhythm guitarist. He decides to walk away from that band in order to go for the auditions in Vancouver for Dirty, because while he understands why he got kicked out of the band the first time, and understands the second time, he knows that he’s exactly what the band needs. The fans love him, and no one has stayed on as long as he has with the band over the last several years–bringing him back onto the band would be a good decision for the band.

My Thoughts: I loved the love story between Jessa and Brody, but I do think that the reasons why she ran away for six and a half years was slightly underwhelming. They didn’t seem bad enough to warrant the running away from someone and several someones that you loved. I get that she could have gotten so caught up in the lack of trust that they had in her–after all, no one seemed to want to listen to what Jessa wanted, it was all about the rules and her following the rules–and she knew she had to get clean from her drug use, but I think that it’s so unrealistic that Brody would not have done something if Jessa had simply opened up and told him what happened before she disappeared out of his life at 18 for six years. It is incredible to me that she would do this, and have this concept that Brody would chase after her.

I wished that there was more explosive revelations than there actually were in this book. I wish that some things were a little bit stronger, more forth coming with how Brody reassured her or how she reassured him. But overall it was a fair enough story–certainly Dirty Like Me is the stronger one in the series so far–but this was good enough to keep me interested in what is going on with all of the men in the band.

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