Middle twenty Calculus high school teacher Andrew falls for his 17 years old student Robert. Said like that, many adults will already hate on the spot Andrew, especially if they have experience with teaching and with the ethic that comes with that. But this is not a story you can judge with prejudices; first of all, Robert is a troubled kid, his estranged father is dying of terminal cancer right in their home, and in a way, Robert is guilty he cannot feel the pain he should in such situation. From that side, this is not the story of a father and a son who manages to find each other before it’s too late, Robert has never had a relationship with his father since his father was a kid himself not ready to raising one. Right for this bad relationship with the father figure, I have never felt like Robert was searching a substitute to his father in Andrew.
If instead we took Andrew’s perspective, I see a man who would like to be still a young boy without commitments, and instead he is not only a teacher, with all the commitment it meant, but he is also the father of a little girl. Andrew is gay, always has been, and his daughter is the classical mistake of a drunken night. Not that Andrew is regretting the decision to have her, but he is probably feeling like all the world is on his shoulders, when in the end he is still a boy. That is a reason more why he is not a fatherly figure to Robert, and on the contrary, I think he sees himself more like a peer to Robert’s 17 years.
The novel is not easy because it’s clear we are heading towards a catastrophe; there is no possible happily ever after to Andrew and Robert, not if Andrew wants to continue being a teacher. At the same time, I was hoping for them to be able to find a solution, a solution that had to hurt someone, but I was hoping not them. My hope in the end was not fully met, but at least I can assure the potential reader that this drama will not turn into tragedy; there is a price to pay for happiness, but Andrew and Robert will be willing to pay it.
Amazon: Where You Are
Amazon Kindle: Where You Are
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Kensington (December 24, 2012)
Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bott
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