"...it has to be about love--for everyone. Otherwise, there isn't enough reason to get through the rough parts."
Ultimately, that is the heart and soul of the story, the moral to the fable within it, the lesson to take from it. Not to minimize it to anything trite, for this book is anything but that. It is a love story, a tragedy, and the fairy tale aspects of it, the dream that it represents of what we all ultimately want, to love and to be loved, wake back to the harsh reality of our lives and end with what is all our destinies. Even though the death at the end was sudden and shocking, it was foretold throughout, as it was inevitable. Things end. They start, go on for a while, and end, and somehow, go on from there. And it is the love that happens and the tragic ending here that is what makes this something great and not just another also-ran story---as well-written as it is---with lots of gratuitous sex. The journey to the end was explicit, gritty, touching, and imbued with the author's vision of what love is supposed to be like, and despite our best efforts to avoid it at all costs because it makes us vulnerable, it remains the noble and elegant ambition we all in fact do have, hiding down within ourselves in ways we're told we should never let out, because it would be too dangerous.
It is this risk of baring ourselves, of being hurt, that is the only way for happiness to happen. We all know that; this telling story shows it. The backfires that have taught us to be careful, to not commit to each other, are the edges that are dealt with here and shown that no matter what, the payoff is worth it. Even in the end. The happinesses in here are transcendent.
And the telling of this tale is dangerous. It is rife with sex scenes that are, in many ways, more direct than the most hardcore porn there is; this is not for children, nor is it for those who cannot tolerate the exposures (that are, at their deepest, about ourselves, to ourselves) that erotica demands. Remittance Girl pulls no punches. The intimacies are detailed explicit depictions of homosexual and heterosexual acts, end to end. And they are as sexy as can be done. No matter how one feels about what goes on in here, one cannot help but fall in love with the people in it. They are not characters; they're people.
This is a story that is worth growing up for to read. That, THAT is what it, in the end, is about: growing up, taking what life can throw, both the incredibly good and the incredibly bad, and finding a way through it to rejoice in it all. We are here to live our lives, not cower from them. And to love.