Ethan Day and his men also represent perfectly the common idea people have of a mid-twenty, thirty-something gay men: good looking but not gym butch, cultured and bright, with a deep passion for all his glamour and fashion, a love for the old divas like Bette Davis and Joan Crawford (if they are a bit more radical for Katherine Hepburn, more European leaning, for the "other" Hepburn, Audrey). It seems a stereotype? I can already listen some of you say, "this is not real, this is how people tag the gay community, but reality is way more different?" Right? Wrong! The gay community is "also" it, but not only. If you want to read a gay romance, you have to know that you gay character can be like Julian, not all are some Alpha Males or omega men.
I like Julian, he is a man who knows his own faults but likes them. He is a bit crazy, very much lazy and easily distracted. He is almost thirty years old and he is still living on his parents shoulders, even if he went out of home at 18 years old to attend college. He has a job as bartender to pay his tuition (for the fourth time trying to finish a degree), but the car he drives is his father's gift, the credit card he uses to buy clothes is his mother's, and so on. Is Julian's repentant to live like that? No, and why should he be? His parents are all right with that, his roommate Danny is more than happy to share the living expenses and Julian has all day full with his best friend Gabby, his mother's visits and whatever else catch his very shifting attention, most of the time dreaming of finding the right man and settle down.
There is a problem: he is in love with Danny. And Danny is a man-heater that brings back a different boy every night. At first Julian dreamed that sooner or later Danny will awake one day to the realization that he was in love with Julian, but when that day never came, Julian behaved like a child to whom was refused a toy he wanted... the toy is not so good after all. And so now Julian wants to show to Danny that he can have a good man by his side, and the good man has to be Andy... but even if Andy kisses as a pro, and is handsome and with a wonderful job, he is also Republicans and very religious, two things that Julian is unable to move over on.
In all of this maybe Danny is a little on the backstage: it's not that he is a bad character, it's only that Julian shines so much that he overwhelms a bit his counterpart. Danny is probably like most of the mid-thirty men out there (and no, I'm not meaning gay men, this is common to all men), he is comfortable with his life as it's, he doesn't see why he has to change that, but then he has not yet realized that, in 10 years or so, finding new young chicken every night will be harder and harder, and also that, probably, it's better to come home to always the same person, who knows and loves you. Sound boring? To me it sounds happiness.
All the novel is a big one question: will Julian renounce to his dream of Mr Right, and settle down for a Mr Not-so-much-Right-but-almost? And it's funny and light and so good to follow him, again, I had the feeling to really see the author in this novel, this is probably the best of the three I read. Ethan Day is growing with his novels, and in a way, I think he stopped to write what he thought people wanted to read, to finally write what he likes, and in doing so, he is gifting us with Comedy books that are the paper version of the Comedy movies I love so much.
Amazon: As You Are
Amazon Kindle: As You Are
Paperback: 200 pages
Publisher: MLR Press (July 12, 2011)
Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bott