elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

Top 100 Gay Novel: Strings Attached by Nick Nolan

Until I haven’t read this book I was thinking that the “strings attached” of the title was a way to refer to emotional links, and in a way it’s like that since Jeremy, the 17 years old who is the main character of this coming of age novel has never had the safety you usually find in a family while you are growing up: his father died when he was only a little baby, her mother has an alcohol problem that prevents her to be a real role figure, and they are living far from any relatives. Considering all of this, Jeremy is even a good boy, he has no rebellion feelings and he is probably only waiting to be independent to build his own life and stability.

Then suddenly everything change, Jeremy’s mother has to be recovered in a rehabilitation center and Jeremy is sent living with his great-aunt, a woman who Jeremy barely knows and only since his mother hates her. Katherine is a very wealthy business woman, living in Ballena Beach, a rich heaven for rich people and their rich kids. Suddenly Jeremy looses even what little stability he had and he is in the hand of Katherine, who wants to watch, and drive, his every step. Katherine is probably the Mangiafuoco of this modern version of Pinocchio, the puppeteer, and Jeremy is the puppet. There is even the fairy godmother (fata turchina), Arthur, the cat and the wolf (il gatto e la volpe), Reed and Ellie, and I’m not sure if Lucignolo is Cody or Carlo… but considering that Lucignolo is the bad role model, then I think it’s Cody, since Carlo is indeed a good role model, an openly and proud gay teenager.

It’s not that Carlo is perfect or has a perfect life, on the contrary, he is still grieving his mother loss, and his father has practically disowned him for being gay; he is so unsure of himself, due to the instability of his family origins, that Carlo is always trying to prove that he is there, in the center of the scene. Sometime he is even too much and so Jeremy is almost scared by him.

Jeremy is a guy with a lot of doubts. One thing he is pretty sure, he likes boys; but this is something that he doesn’t want to consider as a possibility, Jeremy is already considering himself an outcast, that adding to it also the gay chip will be too much. And so Jeremy tries to be the perfect straight guys with a beautiful girlfriend and the right circle of friends, but his desires are always there.

Even if there is a love story or two, this is not the story of Jeremy’s search for true love; Jeremy is 17 years old, he has time to find Mr Right, in this moment is more important for him to understand who he is and what he wants. So even if he has relationships in this novel, mostly platonic, I don’t think that in the end he has really reached that level of self-confidence he needs. At the end of the novel, he is still a teenager, still with all his open questions; he has maybe some clues more to understand the puzzle of his life, but he is far from resolving it.

Even if the events around him are monumental and life-changing, Jeremy’s personal life story is simple and tender, the story of a misfit who wants with all himself to find his place in what he considers the world, and that, in reality, is only a neighbourhood and an high school. Real life is still out there, and Jeremy has yet to taste it.

Amazon: Strings Attached

Amazon Kindle: Strings Attached

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Tags: author: nick nolan, genre: contemporary, length: novel, review, theme: coming of age, top 100 gay novels list

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