When I saw the title of this book I clearly had to read it, mostly because at a party in December my friend Caroline was talking about 50 Shades of Gray and accidentally said this title and we both were like YES.
I have not read, nor do I intend to read, the original, but from what I’ve quickly researched they are pretty similar. I received a copy of this novel from the publisher and received no compensation for my honest response.
This was not a bad book, don’t get me wrong it wasn’t a great literary achievement either, but it wasn’t bad. I had a few issues with it, but I appreciated the refreshing writing style of the author and the tongue-in-cheek comments and countless pop-culture references that made me smile and or question why I’ve the social skills/knowledge of an 80-year-old southern woman.
What really helped with this book is that I was able to identify with the protagonist on some level, and isn’t that what you’re looking for in any book you read?
“It’s not that I have a problem with being gay, I don’t. I just grew up in the type of family that didn’t like talking about feelings and certainly never uttered the word ‘sex’.” (Chapter 2)
It also helped that the protagonist changed and took charge of his own life with a happy ending (yes double entendre intended). It also helped that he was flustered and a bit of a social misfit like me too 🙂
In addition, the observations about gay culture, and specifically the club scene, although somewhat stereotypical were pretty true-to-life,
“Time passes in gay bars in the strangest ways. It’s like Alice’s Wonderland except with a bunch more than one queen and there’s no drink being drunk, just tea being spilled.” (Chapter 10)
You could tell Self experienced the culture out in California and has a definite opinion of it.
There were two things that I had issues with: the lack of development and the pace of the relationship.
I really felt like there could’ve easily been another 50 pages added with character development filling out their personalities, wants and desires even more (and not just the narrator’s). There were hints of all of these but the author seemed to stop just short. This goes for all of the characters because I felt the roommate had the potential to be a great minor character, but just sort of fell flat. Self’s writing is clearly good enough to leave me wanting to know more about Taylor, but I don’t think I’d go out of my way to read a sequel.
The second issue I had is no (real) fault of the authors, but of the genre itself: the shortness of the relationship before happily ever after. Things could happen that fast, and I’m sure they do, but for me it just seems so unrealistic! From meeting to sex to drama to love to long-term forever in less than a month!? Throw in the fact one of them is a famous movie star who comes out less than a month after meeting this guy even though he was going to get married!? I mean swoon, of course, but too much. (It’s really not too much because this is the part that I love about these novels, I don’t read them for realism, but where are the ‘realistic books’.
Recommendation: I thought it was a fun escaping read. It only took me three hours to read the 174 pages. I’m not sure I would recommend this to just anyone, but if you’re open to it and you’re a bit of a romantic you could appreciate the ridiculousness of it.
Opening Line: “‘Can you do me a huge favor?’ Matty asks, poking his head into my bedroom and looking paler than La Toya Jackson with a stomach virus.”
Closing Line: “And in the process, he changes a tiny fraction of a world ready to change—and more importantly—his own life, once and for all.” (Whited out.)