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Latter Days: A Novel by T. Fabris

Latter Days: A Novel

by T. Fabris

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Latter Days is basically the screenplay of the movie by the same title, directed by C. Jay Cox, who also wrote it. T. Fabris adapted the screenplay into a novels: usually the process is not simple, and not always the result is good. I loved the movie and so I tried to read the novel without playing too much the scenes in my mind as I saw them in the movie. I tried to understand if the book was good despite the movie, if the story could appeal someone that maybe hasn't seen the movie and pick up the book. I think it's good, the story is basically good and it's a nice romance. It's not an overtly erotic book, it's almost a sweet romance.

Christian is a very handsome gay guy... he is young, probably barely 20 years old, and he is doing nothing much than enjoy his life. I have the feeling that Christian has not money trouble, he has not a supporting family from a loving point of view, but I believe that he knows where to find an help if he needs it. He supports himself working as a waiter in an upperclass restaurant, owned by a former movie star, and his life style is up to his work. in the end, Christian is living in a perennial night party, changing partner every night and enjoying every minute of it.

Then in the apartment near him moves a Mormon congregation, 4 young guys. One of them is Aaron, All American good boy type of guy but with a secret... he enjoys life! He has a deep faith but he doesn't believe that loving God means judging other people, he actually likes his proselytism mission since he allows him to meet new people, but he would like to also listen to other people not only to tell them 'their' story. Aaron also loves the old black and white movies and the cute boys... yes, Aaron is gay, even if he has never had the chance to 'test' his preferences. And when he is thrown in the middle of a gay friendly neighborhood, he has many of them, the nearer of which represented by Christian.

Scorned when he brought the first friendly neighborly gift, Christian bets with his friends that he will seduce one of the young mormon boys, and obviously Aaron is the most likely candidate, since not only he is probably willing, but also since he is the only who talks with Christian. And here he proves how different he is from all the other guys Christian met, Aaron actually talks with him, he sees something other in Christian than a pretty boy [...] (one of Christian's friend tells him, you don't need to be deep, you are pretty! to give you an example of how was Christian's life before Aaron). The bet is soon forgotten and Christian starts to wonder if his life has a meaning, when, on the other side, Aaron start to question his faith, or better, the interpretation of faith that was taught to him.

Actually of the two men, Christian is the one that has more chance to come out from the page of the book. I have the strong feeling to have listened to Christian's mind, to his reason, and instead Aaron was a little more undertone. Maybe it's right like that, it's in their character, Christian is the butterfly and instead Aaron is the thinker; it's Christian's character that has to develop, Aaron is almost already at the end of his discovery path. And I found quite interesting that Christian did a sprint to reach Aaron in that journey and in the end, it was him that reach the finishing line as first, while Aaron practically withdraw from the 'competition'.

When I said that this is almost a sweet romance, I was referring to the fact that the sex is not the main purpose of the story. Christian lets aside his bet to really try to conquer Aaron, and they are basically the main characters of the story, but there are also a good parade of supporting characters and also a fairy godmother in the guise of Lila, the restaurant owner.

  elisa.rolle | Feb 24, 2010 |
"Combine a hunky repressed Mormon missionary and a LA party boy, sensual sex and knowing humor, and the result is a sure fire crowd-pleaser. But in a heartfelt conclusion, love wins out over fear." One of my favorite romantic books. ( )
1 vote Libncourt | Mar 30, 2007 |
LATTER DAYS at the first glance seems a little out of the ordinary and is almost unconvincing: a WeHo pretty boy with muscles like fully-baked puffy muffins living in a kitschy apartment falls in love with his Mormon missionary neighbor who is in the closet. Christian Markelli is the typical player of the loose-moral, carefree, long-term-relationship shunning bunch who enjoys quick pleasure. Working at a high-end restaurant which makes prey hunting handy, Christian literally has hooked up with every straight male customer and commemorates each steamy encounter with an entry in his PDA.

So when four young Mormon missionaries set us housekeeping in the apartment across the way, Christian and his friends place bets on how long it will take him to capitulate Elder Aaron Davis, the apple-cheeked, broad-shouldered evangelist who jolts his heart with love at first sight. Christian is stunned; he cannot make out of what it is that is so attractive about this young missionary. For Aaron the encounter evokes his repressed, closeted sensuality rooted in him. Aaron has nursed himself in the safety of the past, and in absolute obeisance to the ways of life the church has so diligently inculcated in him. He does not dare to reciprocate his affection to Christian for fear of harsh persecution from his colleagues.

Above the comic inserts and episodes surrounding the budding romance between the two hangs the significant ideas of self-discovery, revelation, love, for both Aaron and Christian. Aaron has negotiated with himself, and with God, the consequence of the sin of homosexuality but at the same time nudges closer to the tender thought of Christian, who has heartedly declared his love for him. Aaron's discomfit escalates at the thought of his encounters with Christian and throws him into a constant state of enhanced sensuality. Self-discovery of who he is, instead of what he has done, puts him on the mettle to come out to his family and act in defiance of the church's expectations. The strenuous journey to enlightenment affords pain, humiliation and guilt.

For Christian, he has never experienced such an indefinable madness for Aaron has stoically challenged and rebuked his shallow lifestyle. It prompts him to think about true intimacy, about getting to know the person to whom he wakes up in the morning. Christian's revelation is a glum one: that he has been fearful and inept to commitment and true intimacy. At the same time he feels utterly remorseful for getting Aaron into serious trouble with the church.

LATTER DAYS, though a sweeping romantic story it advertises to be, teaches us a lesson or two in relationship. It might have gone a little far with the miracle and the angel's singing but it's what fiction does after all. Neither Aaron nor Christian has ever felt the way he feels about anyone in his entire life - the snuggly feeling that "it's got to mean something." Yet they are both somewhat fearful to conform to this heart's calling. What if he is really the one he's been waiting for his whole life and he lets him go? In a world where everyone dances with one eye on the door, like we are all waiting for that next something better to walk in, LATTER DAYS calls us to be genuine with ourselves and promises the reward will be right around the corner. ( )
  mattviews | Feb 20, 2006 |
About a Mormon missionary sent to California for his mission, and the neighbour who sets out to seduce him for a bet and ends up falling in love. Since my DVD player is still on the fritz and I've been wanting to set the movie forever, I settled for the book. A light, frothy read. I would love to know what, if any, research C. Jay Cox did. I know that I found the portrayals of the missionaries incredibly stereotypical, which was rather frustrating because I was hoping for a more balanced look at the LDS. I have several LDS friends who, I think, would be outraged at the portrayal. At the same time, many of the situations and reactions certainly do exist in the LDS.

Ultimately, I was just happy... thrilled... ECSTATIC... to get a happy ending for once. Hallelujah! And I still want to see the movie!

(Reviewed October 2004) ( )
  severina | Jan 14, 2006 |
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Offical movie tie-in. West Hollywood pretty boy Christian Markelli takes special pride in his talent for 'turning' straight boys. So when four young Mormon missionaries set up housekeeping in the apartment across the way, he and his friends place bets in how long it will take Christian this time.… (more)

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