So Matthew is self-destructing with alcohol and drugs, and above all with unprotected sex. He more than once is out on the street completely drunk and easy prey for a bashing or a raping, or both. When nothing of that works, he even tries the “traditional” way of pills. Actually all above is something I couldn’t really understand: Matthew is a medicine student and he is doing his foundation year; he is often missing days at the hospital and he is most of the time drunk or drugged… how can he manage that? And above all if he really wanted to try suicide, I think he will manage to. But maybe Matthew wants to be rescued? That is the reason why he picks up Aaron? Because Aaron is the only one who didn’t get into Matthew’s pants as soon as he had the chance to and actually is trying to help him?
We don’t have many info on Matthew and Joe’s relationship, and the little we see of Joe is not positive, but maybe Joe was the strong one in the couple, the one who was leading them into their future, and when he left, Matthew lost is balance and target. Matthew is desperately trying to find a substitute or to find an end to the pain: the first to arrive he will accept.
Aaron has a secret on his past, a secret that is the main reason why he cannot abandon Matthew: he needs someone to take care of, someone who gives him a reason to live and come back home. He didn’t pick up Matthew because he was the cuter or funnier of the place, but because he was the most desperate, and lucky Matthew he didn’t understand it.
The story felt a bit rushed in the end, I think that another 30 or 50 pages wouldn’t have done bad to it, above all since we had enough details to like and understand Matthew, not so many for Aaron. One thing I noticed of the story was that most of the action was into the characters mind and not all of it was shared with the reader, like when Matthew is snooping on Aaron’s emails and then we find him drunk in bed; what happened in the middle is pretty clear, and the author didn’t feel necessary to lead the reader step by step into the drama. I actually found this “dry” way to deal almost refreshing, way different from many similar books which are heavy on angst. If I remember well this was the first attempt to M/M romance of this author, so I would say that the output was pretty good.
Amazon Kindle: Life After Joe
Publisher: Carina Press (June 28, 2010)