The Back Porch Reader has flown the coop to soak up some tropic sun.
I’ll be back soon with new book reviews and recommendations. In the meantime, please enjoy this favorite selected from my GoodReads archives.
Kevin Morrison had it all. A house he worked hard for, a loving wife, and three beautiful children. But it wasn’t until his marriage ended that he realized what the void he’d felt almost all his life meant. Coming out as a gay man at thirty-six is not an easy feat, but he is determined to be true to his heart. Meeting a man who shares his values, and is good with his children would be a bonus, but when the guy arrives in a uniquely wrapped package, and has very specific handling instructions, Kevin needs to decide if he’s up for that kind of love.
Obsessed with order and symmetry, and a paralyzing fear of germs, Cedric Haughton-Disley has lived with isolation and loneliness as long as he can remember. Desperate to be normal, he makes some much-needed changes in his life. If he can commit to his treatment, he might very well be able to procure some quality of life… even if that’s all he can get, as finding love and having a relationship are only possible in Cedric’s wildest dreams. But when a chance encounter leaves Cedric wishing for more, he decides to take a leap of faith, and pursue the guy he wants.
Together the two men make an unlikely match. Cedric needs organization, and Kevin represents chaos. In order to stay together they both need to compromise, but will they be able to deal with Cedric’s issues and the potential disaster, or let it break them apart?
MLR Press, LLC
Contemporary, M/M, GLBT+
362 e-book pages
June 21-22, 2015
Ratings are 1 to 5 stars and based mostly on GoodReads standards.
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This review originally posted on GoodReads June 22, 1015.
It took me a while to engage in this story – but that is totally my fault. My less than stellar attitude had far more to do with my frame of mind on the outset than anything with the writing or the story. I needed humor and only mild angst–and that adorable cover made me think this would be a rollicking good time. This had some amusing moments – but was far too serious and hit on some of my hot-button topics that were too much for my fragile state of mind at the time.
So…a warning fellow readers…this is probably not the best book to read when you’ve got a book hangover from hell that has resulted in lots and lots of tears from another absolutely gut-wrenching book. A book that leaves you sobbing for hours after the fact. Don’t do it. Save it for a time when you can handle some ‘heavy’. At least, wait until your tears are dried and your eyes aren’t so red and puffy and you can breathe freely without broken hitches from your waning sobs. Yep, that was me going into this.
The writing, the characters, the story were fantastic. This took on some very serious topics that are deeply meaningful to me, and I think they were handled very well. Again, I wasn’t equipped emotionally to feel this deeply. I wanted these two guys to get their HEA, and they did, so there’s that.
I read a few reviews that felt the OCD was overdone and seemed to take over as the leading theme. Here’s the thing, we’re talking about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – so maybe it being a factor in every scene is being true to the disorder itself so we readers always have a mind to what Cedric’s life is like, what he goes through day by day, minute by minute. He can’t escape it, so neither can we. If it were omitted, diminished, or treated as an afterthought from even one scene that involved Cedric, it would not have been a true portrayal of OCD or Cedric. OCD is a relentless bitch, but it can sometimes be managed by a cocktail of drugs, some behavior modification/coping techniques, and a circle of loved ones who know how to help without always enabling. We saw that. We were in a position to hope for Cedric finding some peace and sense of ‘normalcy’ in his life and relationship. And, the fact that he continued to seriously push himself beyond his comfort zone speaks volumes to his character. As much as a disorder or illness should not define a person, in many cases it does. It defines Cedric’s every action and reaction and how he shapes his world in order to be able to take part in general productive society. He pushed and fought instead of hiding in his mother’s ivory tower where he never would have met Kevin, and we wouldn’t have this book. OCD is a serious thing, and it’s frustrating, heartbreaking, and gut-wrenching to witness. I think the portrayal was beautifully done. While an ongoing theme, it did not feel repetitive in the least…which speaks to the author’s talent since OCD, by definition, involves repetitive behavior.
My other hot-button topic, while I’m perched on my soap-box, has to do with any person living a closeted life due to any internal or external factors. It simply breaks my heart to the point that I have a hard time reading about it in fear of how it will be handled. I can see the reasons why people feel the need to closet themselves, but still it’s just so…sad. I could go on and ramble (I did…and I edited it out), but I’m not. I’ll just say that I know it takes immeasurable courage for some people to live their true life. I long for the day when it isn’t so difficult for so many people to just be — and be accepted by loved ones for whom and how they love, without fear and lies. I thought Kevin’s coming out process was handled very well – especially since most instances weren’t exactly within his control and had to include keeping an eye to Cedric.