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Gym Dandy by Storm Grant

andrew potter
Gym Dandy is a story that has many surprises, mostly good surprise. Victor is a personal trainer in a not so good gym; an old and decaying building, not so nice work colleague, it's not wonder that Victor seems not to like too much his work. I realized after finishing the book, that I haven't a clear physical perception of Victor, other than he should be fit, due to his work, but not so handsome: a man who arrives where he wants thanks more to his attitude than to his look. And even if Victor has an ex-wife, he is quite openly gay, even if it's not the first thing he says as presentation. And so when he meets for the first time Doug, new customer at the gym who paid for personal lessons, and Doug gives him some mixed signals, Victor is ready to jump in for an enjoyable adventure, since even if not so fit, Doug is really handsome and cute. But even if he is not disgusted by the kiss Victor gives him, Doug is firm in his claim that he is straight, and that he wants only friendship from Victor.

It's clear to all the readers, that Doug has some unresolved issues in his past. Even in his behavior he is broadcasting clear signals of not being comfortable in his skin; Doug is quite shy, never looking directly in face of the person he is talking to, but if you manage to find a breach in his shield, he is like an uncontrollable falls, throwing himself in a soliloquy where it's almost impossible to interfere with. And he is so tender in his plain admission of loneliness and in his desire to find a friend, that Victor, even if dumped, can't help to volunteer to be that friend.

Victor is a strange character, and someone that has a very surprising turn in the story. He is clearly fascinated by Doug, but as he could be for an exotic bird (no pun intended...): he looks and listens to Doug as if he was expecting for him to turn in a strange being, he can't believe that Doug is so naive and innocent at his age. And Doug for sure unveils some quite unbelievable events in his past, that also the reader has some problem to understand: for example, all the story about his father and his undercover cop friend, I still am not sure if I really understood its meaning if not for giving a background of loneliness to Doug. Instead the story with his jock best friend from high school, helped me to look into the present Doug in a different way, and all what happened to him till the present day is a quite normal and right evolution for someone in that situation.

It's strange, since the story is told from Victor's point of view, but he himself remains almost a secret; during the book, we read of Doug's journey, how he changes and mistakes, how he, maybe unintentionally, wounds Victor's feelings. All in all, even if not a brainiac man, Victor is really tender, he really wants to help Doug without second intentions; but almost till the end of the book, I feel as I didn't really know him. Sometime something happened that let me wonder for a minute or two, like when they met his friends, and he didn't want for Doug to say where he works, but then Doug's story distracted me, and I almost forgot what made me wonder.

There are some funny moments, even when they should be dramatic, like when Victor tells his changing life experience, or when Doug, in one of his soliloquies, tells how he lost his father, and those make the book even more interesting: I didn't know if I should take them seriously or laugh... well, just the fact that they make me wonder is a proof that they were original.

Finally the relationship between Victor and Doug: I really started this book convinced that, in a way or another, they would end out together; yes, maybe with some obstacles to overtake, but in the end together... and instead more I read and more I was unsure. Where exactly was the author going to? maybe what I believed was not correct? was it possible that the book had all another ending?... well, again, just the fact that she makes me wonder is a proof that ALL this story is original.

http://www.mlrpress.com/ShowBook.php?book=GYMDANDY

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Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
gina_stormgrant
Jan. 24th, 2009 03:23 pm (UTC)
5 out of 5 stars!
Thank you so much for the review, and for giving it FIVE STARS on Amazon. Yay!

I thought I was way down your list, but to get such a detailed review the same day the book debuted, that's terrific!

I'm so glad you enjoyed the twists and turns of the plot, it does have, as you say, its surprises.

Thank you again, Elisa. You're the best!



elisa_rolle
Jan. 24th, 2009 03:37 pm (UTC)
Re: 5 out of 5 stars!
You are welcome Storm, it's really an interesting novel. I had no problem in reading it fast and soon. Elisa
(Anonymous)
Oct. 6th, 2009 01:14 pm (UTC)
I love a book with twists and turns and unpredictable endings. This story sounds intriguing!

Sharon Bernas (TRW member)
elisa_rolle
Oct. 6th, 2009 02:39 pm (UTC)
It's very funny. Elisa
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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