elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,
elisa_rolle
elisa_rolle

Benediction by Jim Arnold

It's really difficult to disconnect the author, Jim Arnold, from his character, Ben Schmidt. They have so many traits in common and Ben comes out so strong from the page of Arnold's novel, that it was really like reading a personal journal more than a fictional novel.

Ben is a wanna-be-director, with actually a first movie going out on Festivals all around the world, a nice work in San Francisco, an handsome boyfriend,Jake, living in the attic of the Victorian house where he has a first floor apartment, and an affair on the side with Eric, and nice guy who is always ready to have sex when Ben wants something different than maybe too perfect Jake. At mid-forthy Ben seems to have the perfect dream life for every modern gay man, but he is not happy. He has a constant desire to ruin his own happiness, and his relationship wth Jake is a perfect example of that: Ben has the chance to have a perfect life and he is trying to destroy it. If nothing else happened, I think Ben would have never understood that. It was his own right to destroy his life since he has the power to do so.

But then that power is taken off from him. Ben discovers to have prostate cancer. And it's bad. Suddenly his life is crashing around him and he has no power on that. He can't do anything if not wait for the next tragedy to struck. And life is no more good for him. When he is down and without chance to fight back, everything he thought due in his previous life is put at risk: his job, his boyfriend, his passing lovers, even his apartment, with the small threat of mice. When Ben had everything, he didn't know what he really wanted, now that he is on the edge to loose everything, he will have the chance to understand what is really important for him. In a way tragedy helps Ben, freeing him from all the unnecessary things, he will have an enough clear view to see what it really matters.

I didn't expect to enjoy the romance in this book like I did, and truth be told, at first I didn't like so much Ben. But in a way he got better with the story, and I liked that he didn't come out as an hero. There is nothing of heroic in Ben, he is a real man struggling against the world with only the strength of a normal man. And he doesn't cling on his friends, he tries to find the strength inside him. I liked that, amidst all the tragedy, Ben realized that love was the answer, not for the cancer, but at least to give a reason to his life.

Benediction is not an easy book to read, above all if you had an experience with cancer. It's not all roses for Ben, it's not that, since he has cancer, everything else has to go smoothly for him, it's not that people who dislike him suddenly step back. Ben has not only to fight the cancer but also all the other small and big trouble people have in their everyday life. He has to continue to worry for everything he worried before and plus he has the cancer. That is the strength of Ben, being able to face all and take the right decision.

Amazon: Benediction

Amazon Kindle: Benediction

The Rainbow Awards: Third (and last!) Phase: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/850354.html 


Cover Art by Jaime Flores
Tags: author: jim arnold, genre: contemporary, length: novel, theme: show business, theme: silver romance
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