M/M, Romance - novella
THIS HAS A LOT OF SEX BUT NOTHING REALLY HOT.
Michael Maguire is living in the suburbs with his wife, a woman who is as unhappy as he is in their relationship, and two teenage kids that he barely knows anymore. Tired of being ordered around by his wife, and desperate from his lack of love life, Michael goes looking for a female prostitute in the dark corners of the local pick-up park. What he ends up with is James, a man in his early twenties, who tries to survive working as a rent boy. Despite James cheery
manners, he has his own emotional baggage. He is struggling with dyslexia, feeling inferior and stupid because of it and believing that all he can ever be is a prostitute. When the two men come together, both their lives are turned upside down and together they try to find a new, better place in life.
This was a very emotional love story, dealing with some of the sadder and tougher parts of life and the society in a believable way. With no instant fixes for a happy ending, we get to follow the inner thoughts of the main characters in their decisions and feelings as they work towards something different in their lives. It is a hard story to review as there are parts that were good but there was parts that weren´t as good and takes away points from the story as a whole.
One of the good things is that the author manages to create interesting, three-dimensional and likeable characters out of something that could easily have been caricatures from a well known and often used story line. The characters backgrounds and personal history are nicely done and fits well with how they act and how they attack their problems. This story deals with a lot of heavy things, such as sexual abuse, prostitution and infidelity. Although these are things that doesn´t appeal to all readers, I liked that the author kept it real and didn´t apologize for being real about it, while still being graceful about sensitive issues. The relationship between James and Michael draws you in and I liked how it moved forward and transforms in small steps, rather than just being insta-love. It keeps you interested the whole time and you really want the characters to succeed in their quests for a better life.
The bad things for me were mainly the sex scenes. There was something that bothered me in almost every one of them. For all that the book felt real and was beautifully written, the sex scenes were neither. Also, for no understandable reason at all, Michael decides to have unprotected sex with James, even though they know James has an STD and Michael is still officially with his wife (albeit in a relationship not really involving sex).
Even with those flaws, Something Different was still a good read.