Maybe due to my “bad” past experiences, I didn’t read sooner Desert Sons by Mark Kendrick, even if this is one of those covers that came often to my notice, and not since it is pretty; Mark Kendrick’s romance novels were among the few you could find in the Gay Fiction department in bookstores, and when you browsed the net, most often than not they came out atop of the search. Other than being mostly tragic, at the time it was also pretty common to have stories about teenagers, don’t know why, maybe since many authors had a not easy period at that same age and they really felt the matter was important.
What I immediately noticed about Desert Sons is that these two teenagers are… teenagers! They are not little men with a teenager body but an adult mind, they are two horny guys who mostly want to experience, and if in the meantime they also find love, well, even better. Truth be told, this is a better description for Scott, Ryan, poor guy, has not an easy life, and he is scared by everything, and being gay is one big secret more that he doesn’t want to reveal, I think since he is afraid that would be another reason for people to shun him. Ryan has not a steady family, he tragically lost his parents and his brother and grandmother are not enough for him to feel safe. He clings to every adult figure he meets, with or without sexual interest: that is the reason why he is friend with Frank, a married man who he sees as the only counsellor he can trust, and why he started an abusive relationship with Crawford, an older guy, 28 years old.
When things got awry, Ryan’s grandmother sends him living with his uncle Howard in the Desert. Here Ryan meets Scott, another gay teenager, even if at the beginning they don’t know about each other; Ryan thinks his entire problem derive from him being gay, and he doesn’t want to act upon it no more. But Scott has other ideas, above all since, as I said, he is gay in a place where there are no other boys like him, and when he meets Ryan it’s like the manna from the sky; it doesn’t hurt that Ryan is cute, but basically Scott wants so much a boyfriend that he would take everyone, and sincerely, at the beginning, I had the felling he didn’t like so much Ryan as a friend, but as a boyfriend he could do.
Now, joke aside, I wanted to highlight as this novel really pointed out how these two boys, 16 and 17 years old, are still young, and unsure, and with the whole life in front of them to make mistake; you cannot pretend from them to be comfortable with their own life, they need time to take they own decision, and yes, maybe even take them wrong. But, thumbs up to Mark Kendrick, at least he gave them the chance to do that, and also to learn from their mistake.
Amazon: Desert Sons
Amazon Kindle: Desert Sons
Paperback: 350 pages
Publisher: iUniverse Star (June 24, 2001)
Mark Kendrick's In the Spotlight post: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/868065.html