This is actually two stories in one. In 1978 Travis and Craig meet in boarding school, both with a dysfunctional family behind and with a lot of dreams ahead; they are 17 years old, and they don’t believe to be gay, even if, when you know by memory Barbra Streisand’s birthday, when she was not yet the gay icon, maybe a little doubt you should have. Anyway, the Travis and Craig of 17 years are sweet and cute, and as all the young people, they love with all their heart. They are young and they believe the world is right there in front of them, ready to see their love grows and becoming the only important thing in their life. They really believe they will be together forever… they are only 17 years old. That is the catch of first love, it’s wonderful and enormous, it’s all you can think, but it doesn’t survive the long distance. When Travis moves to California and Craig to Massachusetts for College, the love of their lives becomes a warm memory. It’s not even said why they stopped to write, it’s probably as simple as it’s, they were young and they were far from each other.
20 years later, in 1998, Craig is in a long-term relationship with Clayton, who is really a good men, and Travis is pursuing a love affair with Julian, a 28 years old twink. Suddenly Travis realizes that he has never found the love of his life since that place is already occupied, by Craig. Now the only important thing is to find Craig and to tell him that he still loves him and everything will be perfect. But what will happen when Travis will find out about Clayton? The problem is that Clayton has really no fault: he is madly in love with Craig, he is handsome and caring, he asked Craig to marry him. And while Travis and Craig shared a blissful and young romance of less than a year, Clayton shared 12 years with Craig.
That is the strength of this novel, that I, the reader, was not able to pick between Travis and Clayton. I like both of them. At first I was hoping for a misstep of Clayton, for something that would help my romantic heart to fall on the basic rule, you will never forget your first love, but I was not lucky, the author didn’t help me, and Clayton was really perfect, but not that perfect that makes a man boring, the perfect that makes a man a wet dream. On the other side there is Travis, funny, crazy, madly in love Travis. How can you don’t cheer for him? Really at one point I was almost hoping for a threesome, yes, me, the romantic at heart that always says that she doesn’t like ménages, but there was really another choice?
The story has not a typical development, it’s written like writing on block notes, exchanges of emails, piece of hypothetical screenplays, even jury verdicts, all of them written by the different characters, Travis, Craig and Clayton, obviously, but also their family and friends. If at the beginning it’s a little strange, soon you start to enter in the flow, and you even have your favourite, like mine that were the American History Test where Travis asked to his students to help him in love, and the exchange of email between Gordon, Travis’ best friend, and his father.
Amazon: Almost Like Being in Love: A Novel
Amazon Kindle: Almost Like Being in Love: A Novel
Steve Kluger's In the Spotlight post: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/338505.html