elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

Perfect Score by Susan Roebuck

Perfect Score is a mix of a lot of themes, but in a way it’s a story all of its own. Since when the two main characters, Sam and Alex, meet they are teenagers, one might think that this is a coming of age story, but indead not, the scene is very fast, and on the next chapter, both Sam than Alex are young men, and the youth is long forgot; true, Sam did an impression to Alex, and he has become both Alex’s innocent fantasy friend than the main character in his sexual, and no more innocent, fantasies. In only one chapter, the author told an entire story about two boys so different and than so similar: Sam is a drifter, orphaned and on the street, he is risking his life everyday, but he has the strength, and the cleverness a boy his age should not know; the author didn’t play fair when describing Sam’s first night on the street tells us about how other boys stripped him of everything, even if stuffed rabbit… yes, stupid me I was more impressed by a stuffed rabbit than clothes or dignity. On the other side, on that first chapter, Alex comes out like a privileged kid, with more money than he can ask, but very lonely, and in a way, as abandooned as Sam, living with his uncle and aunt, I had the impression of a “poor” kid, not in money but in love. For this reason Alex and Sam seemed more similar than what you can see at first glance.

But as soon as the author digs in Alex’s past, what it comes out his a spoiled brat, and someone who could have as much love as he wanted, but he chose to be rich and lonely; Alex’s mother is not dead, on the contrary she loves him dearly, but Alex was dazzled by his uncle’s wealth, and he left behind his origins. Coincidentally Sam arrives to Alex’s homefarm, and the contrast is even more strong: what Alex so superficially refused would be Sam’s dream, a family, a farm and the possibility to prove that he is not useless.

The author uses 2 points of view, Alex and Sam’s, and she is so good in doing so that they are completely different writing styles, as Alex and Sam are completely different men. Sam has a speech problem, he is dyslexic, and when it’s his time to tell the story, the style is fractured; it’s not that he doesn’t know what he wants to say, it’s only that it difficulty comes out and sometime only when the event or the scene ends, the reader understands what has just happened. When it’s instead Alex’s time, the writing flows without problem, but truth be told, Alex’s role doesn’t come out in a good way: I had really big issue to like him, more than once I thought Sam was too good for him and that Alex didn’t deserve a man like him. I think Alex is only lucky that Sam is a good man, up until the last chapter, when a bit of Alex’s selfishness was again showing and Sam, again, was the one with the right mind and the generous soul.

The story is set in the ’60 and ’70 and even if it’s a gay romance, or better, since it’s a gay romance, the author had to take some turns in the plot that maybe the most romantic readers will not like. But thinking at the time, it was the only possible outcome; enough to say that she donated the only possible happily ever after to her characters, and if in the end they are together, what they had to go through to arrive to that was worth it.


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Tags: author: susan roebuck, genre: contemporary, length: novel, review, theme: cinderfella, theme: disability, theme: show business

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