January 24th, 2011

andrew potter

Home by William Neale

As the author himself says in the “about the author” section of this book, he is a strong believer in romance and as such he is presenting himself as a romance author. So, if the plot outside the romance was maybe overlooked, I think the reason is that William Neale was more aiming to the love story than anything else, and of course, you will never hear me saying that this is not a good thing, on the contrary, it’s very positive to me.

The romance in this story is so pushed, and the pink glasses perspective as well, that despite everything and everyone should be against them, the two main heroes manage to ignore it and enjoy their long-due love story. A lot of obstacles are in their path, but one by one they dodge them apparently without much effort. Sometime I wondered if that was even possible, if really it was that simple, or if instead the author was not planning for some big blow to strike… but nope, the romance flew smoothly, the men enjoyed their love story, and in the end, more or less the last 20 page, the author rushed for the time span of 13 months, letting the reader enjoying different moments of domestic bliss.

The starting point of the story is quite believable, and probably common: a gay man, Lucas, comes back home, in a small town in Tennessee, for his father’s funeral, a father who disowned his son when he came out. Among all the unexpected people who came to pay their homage there is Rogan, the high-school bully who harassed Lucas when they were in school. Of course to an external eye, the reason why Rogan was so fixated with Lucas was obvious, it was an unrequited love the guy was not able to admit. But now they are 30 years old, both financially independent, and so there is no reason why they cannot enjoy each other. Of course the author decided to write both of them like that to avoid any little problem to their happiness: they have not to worry to lose their job since they don’t really need it; living in two different, and far away States is no problem, since they can simply decided what suits them best an move in. Their only problem is to decide if they finally want to enjoy the romance they dreamt at school, and of course the answer to that question is simple: Yes, they do.

As I said, the romance overcomes anything else in the story, such as the unpleasant experience they have with a nasty reporter who made his point to outing Rogan, apparently for his personal agenda. But him, and the following scandal, are so minor occurrences, that they are soon forgotten. Actually everything seems to turning gay or gay friendly, and instead of being ostracized, Lucas and Rogan are almost invited to be the first couple of the small town. That is probably the point where I wondered if it was really possible, if it was believable that everything was so smooth for this duo, but then I thought, well, this is a romance after all!

I’m not sure, but after the rushing the reader experienced in the last few pages of the story, the ending was almost abrupt; that made me wonder if the author doesn’t have a plan to write a sequel for this story and these men.


Buy Here

Amazon: Home
Amazon Kindle: Home
Paperback: 212 pages
Publisher: MLR Press (August 18, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1608202127
ISBN-13: 978-1608202126

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

Life After Joe by Harper Fox

All right, from page one it’s quite clear that Matthew is out on a suicidal mission. He is not at all over the break-up with his former lover Joe, a lover that was not only first but also the only one until 6 months ago; a lover who has left him not for another man, something Matthew could have accepted, or related to, but for a woman: I think this is the same thing a woman experiments when her lover leaves for another man, she cannot compete, there is no way she can do that. And for Matthew is the same, Joe wants the 2.5 kids’ family, to appease his family and the world, and Matthew has no way to satisfy that desire.

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)

Reading List:

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