elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

The William Neale Award for Best Gay Romance: Caregiver by Rick R. Reed

“I was beautiful, I was young, I was awesome… please just remember me.” While reading Caregiver these are the words in my mind, whispered by Adam this time, but whispered by so many other young men each time I post about one of them. They are survived by their long-time companions… is this companion looking the news to see if someone is remembering them? After the painful first years, when it was obvious to remember them, 10 years, 15 years later, 20 years now later, there is still someone sending an email to whom survived? The books are out of print, but the memory? Is it still vivid? This is what I think each time I read about a young life AIDS stole too soon, and as the same Rick R. Reed said in the novel, if they had managed to survive for an year or two, maybe they would have been in time for those cures that don’t take the plague away, but at least allow you to survive longer than your twenties.

This was probably what passed through Rick R. Reed’s mind; he jokes about this being a novel in a memoir in a novel, i.e. the novel written by Rick R. Reed start with another author, Dan Shoemaker, having his novel rejected by a publisher since memoirs don’t sell, but Shoemaker insists he hasn’t written a memoir but a novel with the main character by the name of Dan Calzolaio. Now maybe I’m Italian and know that Calzolaio is the Italian translation of Shoemaker, and though I have found one another reason why Dan Shoemaker is not telling the truth, not even to himself, but I also happen to know that Rick R. Reed has Italian origins (I believe from his mother side) and so maybe there is yet another reason why Caregiver, the real Caregiver, not the one written by Dan Shoemaker, but the one by Rick R. Reed, is more a memoir than a novel? Is this for me a reason to refuse that like the publisher refused it in the novel? Of course not! On the contrary, it makes it more real, more near to my heart, since I can feel in it the same pain I feel each time I think about those young men.

Maybe this is also the reason why, while the romance is nice, and sweet, it’s also ordinary, in a positive meaning of the word. The love between Dan and Sullivan (Sullivan is Adam’s surviving companion) is not immediate, even if the attraction was; Sullivan needed time to mourn and Dan to think about his life and what was important for him. They didn’t do the “hero/proud” thing of so many romances, leaving each other, suffering for years due the distance and then finding each other full of regrets for the lost years, but they did what is ordinary to do, talk openly about their reticence, giving each other time without cutting each other out, and then, when both of them were ready, starting a relationship with a lighter heart and a better predisposition. In this way, if someone is worried about Adam (yes, he is dead, but he entered in my heart as much as he entered in Dan’s one, and he was already in Sullivan’s), they have not to be: Adam was loved and missed, and he is remembered, dearly remembered even 20 years later.


Amazon: Caregiver
Amazon Kindle: Caregiver
Paperback: 210 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (October 24, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1613722087
ISBN-13: 978-1613722084

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle

Cover Art by Paul Richmond
Tags: author: rick r. reed, genre: contemporary, length: novel, rainbow awards 2012, review

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