We are introduced to Della St. James immediately in Color Me Pretty by B. Celeste when Della is attending her father’s funeral. A man that meant so much to her and was leaving a gaping hole in her chest where her heart had been. Her mother had already passed away and now she is trying to finish college after losing both of her parents while she is still so relatively young. Born into a wealthy family where she doesn’t want for many things other than the freedom to choose what she wants to do with her life.
Della is a young, privileged woman that really struggles with her own self image. Her family raised her with high expectations and forced her to be involved in things, like ballet, even when it became painful for her to do so. Anything in her life that pushed her to focus on her self-image too much, fed into her low self esteem issue.
They crucified me in every way possible until I hated myself more than I already did. Because I did gain weight from stress eating. I did stop trying at ballet. I did stop caring. Not about others. About me.Della, Color Me Pretty, B. Celeste
What I loved most about Della though was her ability to see those struggles within herself, even if it was painful to do so. This is not to say that she easily overcame them, because it was never an easy task. However, with the help of Theo, she was able to be strong enough to face her challenges in ways she was never encourage to do so by her own family.
Theo was her father’s best friend and is not quite her father’s age, but pretty close. Della spent most of her childhood with him around in place of her over-working father that she adored so much. Theo was always there to support her and get her through difficult times. As she grew into a young woman though, Theo quickly became her first love interest, and then as she then grew into adulthood, he became something she couldn’t deny to herself anymore.
I wanted to tell her she was wrong. She had me too, we both knew it. But the second those words left my mouth it would change everything. It’d mean more than an innocent declaration of family— of familiarity that we were accustomed to over the years.Theo, Color Me Pretty, B. Celeste
The taboo of him being nearly old enough to be her father caused them both to shy away from the reality of them actually being together. But even with all the tension between them, he was always her rock. As life continued to throw curve balls at Della, Theo was the one there to pick up the pieces.
This kind of support system and bond between them is really what allowed for the most amazing relationship foundation when they finally looked at it for what it was.
Della St. James was not the weak little girl that everyone in her family wanted her to believe she was. She could face her fears, with Theo by her side; She could hold her back straight and walk away from the things she thought she loved that were hurting her; She could pursue her true dreams that her family tried to keep her from pursuing.
That kind of inner strength is what makes Della a character worth knowing and loving with all your heart. She will help you see the beauty within and to encourage you to follow your own dreams. Put a paintbrush in her hands and let her show you that beauty.
This was the very first book I read by B. Celeste and her ability to write about inner depths of the soul is what drew me to read several more of her works after this one. All of her books bring something special like this to them; It’s her mark on the writing world. You will love Della in Color Me Pretty and you will most certainly feel more self-reflective afte reading her story.
Read the full Book Review: Color Me Pretty by B. Celeste!