elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

Half of the Other by Joanne Kells

This is a nice and sweet romantic comedy. Even if Tom and Charlie are both adult, and white collar working men, they behave more like teenagers in love than experienced lovers; if not for this sweet naivite in both men, the starting point of Half of the Other could have been a “friends with benefits” or an “office affairs” theme: not only Tom and Charlie are co-workers, they are also best friends out of work. But their friendship is recent, Tom joined the same firm Charlie is working for one year before and since then they became close friends. They meet outside work, they share tidbit of their lives, but they have never arrived to share the very important matters, like the fact that Charlie is gay and that he is attracted by Tom.

One morning, after a Christmas party, Charlie awakes with a bad hang-over and with the clear memory to have kissed Tom; he is both scared and excited by the idea of meeting again Tom, to see what his best friend’s reaction will be. But Tom is playing the forgetful, more than that, he involves Charlie in a double blind date with two girls. Charlie sees his world, and his dreams of a future with Tom, crashing down around him: if Tom remembers Charlie’s kiss, then he is giving him a clear message; if he doesn’t remember, in any case he is proving to Charlie that he is straight and nothing can happen between them.

Even if this is a short novella, the story is clearly set in two part: the beginning and the developing of Tom and Charlie’s relationship. Despite what I told above, this is an happily ever after story, and there is enough for the romantic reader to be satisfied in the development of the love story. Moreover, Half of the Other is also a light comedy, with some really fun moments, like when Charlie, in the haste to “conclude” with Tom ends up in the emergency room of an hospital; or Charlie’s mother, that is also Charlie and Tom’s boss, that instead of mothering hen Charlie about his relationship with Tom is more interested in playing the role of the boss or in telling him her sexual experience with Charlie’s father (something that Charlie, sincerely, doesn’t want to know).

The story is told first point of view from Charlie, even better from Charlie and his inner self: he is not an experienced man in love, and every move he does, every step he takes, he is always there wondering if he did the right thing, if he could have done something different, if he has to do something else and if yes, how and when and why… from the self-assured man Charlie seems to be at the beginning of the story he becomes an insecure teenager in the blink of a novella, and all because, or thanks to, love.


Amazon Kindle: Half of the Other

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Tags: author: joanne kells, genre: contemporary, length: novella, review, theme: friends benefits, theme: office affairs, theme: seasonal romance

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