click on cover
Author: Jeremy E. Elwell
Genre: GLBT, Adventure, Coming of Age
Book Rating: 8.5
Personal Rating: 7.5
This was an interesting book. Coming of age, repressed memories, love, triumph in the face of man eating bears. What more could one want from a book. Maybe someone who listens to their mind argue with itself and doesn't think this is cause for therapy. In theory if the voices in my head were this entertaining, I wouldn't try to shut them up either.
Hilarious head voices aside, this book did keep me intrigued enough to want to keep reading it. It started of a bit to slow for me but once the plot kicked in it went rather smoothly. One good thing about this novel was the length of time it took to bring in the partner. The focus was on the main character and you got the feel that the book was about his journey before the journey even began.
The flashback style of the story worked very well to move the plot along. And the transition in the second half to the main character retelling the story to his partner, but having it told to the reader in a flashback was a very good use of duality. Getting two things done at the same time by informing a character while also informing us. A very smart decision after using blackouts for the first few flashbacks or dreams. Which has been done before and would've been over done if it were used the entire book. Very glad it didn't continue this way.
The main character, Jeremy was clearly defined, as was the sub character, Brian. The good thing about Brian was that he turned out to be more of what the main character thought he himself was. That was a nice twist on character arch. Unexpected and good because I was afraid I'd be stuck with the wining partner cliche who just wants to go home during the entire book. Another notable thing is the lack of sex. I've read my share of gay romance novels and they always seem to float in-between soft-core and erotica. Both of the only sex scenes in this novel were used to drive along the plot. That was refreshing that it wasn't riddled with steamy sexcapades.
This book hit all the right points of a coming of age. The flashbacks of Jeremy as a boy were believable although a bit fantastical at times. Which was perfect for this novel. Discovering ones sexuality, trying to venture out on their own way before it's actually time. Dealing with adult situations before actually being an adult, and navigating through that phase where you are no longer a boy, but not quite a man. It hit every point I would expect it to make. As an adult the things of the past clearly line up with what has become of Jeremy in the future.
I found that this was a well thought out book. The plot lines fit into their perfect positions. Just enough information was given at just the right points to keep you wanting to know what would happen next, and the adventure side of the novel didn't fail to disappoint on any level. Boy becoming one with nature, boy conquering nature, boy wanting to leave modern life and live of the forest, this novel doesn't miss much on any point. If you're a friend of adventure and of self discovery then this story is a read I would recommend.
With all that goodness floating above you're probably wondering why a 7.5. This part may contain some plot spoilers so beware. It just went too smoothly. Every memory trigger was found too easily and I have trouble believing that one particular trigger lasted for over fifteen years. An almost rape scene, and then the every popular we tried to degay you. (These last two I was hoping didn't make it in the book.)
I was secretly hoping, that a shot to Jeremy at the end of the book, was what caused the memory lapse. I quite literally tried my hardest to convince myself that some sort of head trauma, or selective amnesia, although cliche, would be the cause. Turns out it was along the lines of what I thought. Which really bummed me out. When I received the big reveal at the end of the novel I almost screamed a bit. Why does GLBT always have to go for the over dramatic, or 'the we only done what we thought was best for you' tear jerker, or the 'I can't believe you betrayed me', the list is endless kind of endings. I was really hoping beyond hope for another kind of ending. That I would consider none typical of this genre of novel. Especially the juvenile camp situation that let me down the most by falling into the 'what I expect but would've liked not to see' in this kind of genre. I wanted some seriously psychological disturbance that would lead to why his memory was wiped. I guess I was just a little disappointed that the type of ending I knew was coming but actually felt I might escape for once, the book was doing pretty good even with all the all too perfect memory jog set ups, but escape for once the kind of endings i associate with this genre.
Then there was the child being wanted for murder and them not telling the mother. Or, the fact that they had no idea this guy was a sex offender. I just don't buy that they wouldn't be efficient enough to check the background of both the boy and the man. It would've been easy to deduce this boy had never done anything like this and as such must've been provoked and also easy enough to find out this man had a history of being a child offender. It just seemed a big leap to assume this thirteen year old boy went from harmless to dangerous killer.
The voices in the head, again I loved them. I smiled through every multiple personality discussion. Especially Jeremy's apparent separation from the voices even though they are his own. Naming the main characters after himself and partner was just, awwwww. It might have released my inner sap, but shhh my bf thinks I'm not the romantic type. I smiled a lot reading this book, I dunno if it's because the humorous parts were brilliant or because I just got this author, but either way it was good.
And only one thing really, unfortunately did me in, I could let all the above slide but this thing about roughing it and being all sad about killing stuff, I just don't get it. It's kind of how I felt about Eragon in the inheritance cycle by Christopher Poilini. He was in war and all he did was cry and moan about killing. You're a warrior and a dragon rider. Deal with it. Same here. The boy Jeremy seemed to have issues with killing stuff, and the adult Jeremy handled it better but didn't seem to eager either. Maybe I'm just weird but if I'm going to be a wild native I'm not shedding a tear over the dear I speared. Chances are I could've been bear food and I'm sure the bear wouldn't cry over eating me. You know what they say when in Vegas, okay i really mean when in Rome, but you get the picture. That being said, mega plot spoiler here, the most amusing thing in this entire novel for me was a scene where they said goodbye to a fish. It was so innocently endearing because I once had a funeral for a french fry that fell out of my bag in highschool. I have a serious love affair with fries, and my friends dutifully read the eulogy, impromptu, we're all nuts apparently. So I got it on a funny level even though it was meant to be sad. It just made sense even though I rolled my eyes at it. And if you can make me go 'this is ridiculous', while also smiling like 'this is pretty cool' at the same time, then you are definitely doing something good.
And now that I've gotten to the end, the reason this book did get an eight was for one reason. This novel being glbt, I read this and never felt for one instant, other than the ending of course, that it was about being gay. There where no issues to point, no agendas to find, even the coming of age plot was something I could place in any boy journeying into man book. It was a coming of age story that read like a coming of age story that just happened to have a gay couple in it but it wasn't a gay book. And to me, that is just as it should be.
When work and life in the city become too much to bear any longer, Jeremy decides it is time to escape to the forest. After convincing his partner to join in, the two self-proclaimed city boys are sucked into a world of survival of the fittest in some of the most remote wilderness in America. Confronting nature is only half the battle as Jeremy recalls, from memories that are deeply repressed, an adventure he once took as a young teen.
Jeremy Elwell is an adventure enthusiast. He loves the outdoors, and daydreams about living off grid. A small farm out in the country sounds like paradise. He like to write about this lifestyle that he dreams about. Since he is city bound at the moment, he makes the best of it by spending his free time hiking, biking, kayaking, camping, and the occasional trip to the mountains to snowboard. In life he is a dreamer. Always looking towards the future and always have a scheme to reach a higher level of happiness.
A dreamer who schemes towards happiness. Anyone who understands that you do have to scheme your way towards happiness is a genius. And, naturally, too brilliant to have their novel purchased buy all other brilliant people who read this review.