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Seven Sweet Things by Shaun Levin

Seven Sweet Things

by Shaun Levin

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An illicit affair accompanied by sweet things, this is probably a classic of love. Told in first point of view by the author himself, it’s the story of Shaun who is having a clandestine relationship with Martin; the underground shade is all from Martin’s side, he is the one with a girlfriend at home waiting for him, while instead all Shaun’s friends seem to know about Martin. And so at the beginning I felt like Shaun was the one to sympathize to, the one who is left alone after love and sex, while Martin go back home to his fiancé. Shaun who consoles himself baking cake for his lover, and then ends to eat them alone. It’s strange since, playing the role of the clandestine lover, Shaun is not at the same time the submissive, but more the caretaker; usually the one with a parallel life is also the one dictating the rules, and instead sometime it seems to me that Martin was searching reassurance in Shaun, and Shaun was giving it with sex, love and food, but then he was also the one who was not able to close all of it with love words.

There is a small scene, about a stray dog, Shaun wanting to help him, Martin doing it, but then instead of taking the stray dog at home, or feeding him, Shaun turns his shoulder to the dog, as he will turn his shoulder to Martin, when he will look behind; I had the feeling that Martin had to go home, but wanted from Shaun to stop him, to give him a reason to finally break up with his girlfriend.

There is almost a routine in Martin and Shaun’s life, they are not nightly lovers, they meet in plain daylight, at lunch time; Shaun spends the morning baking sweet things for Martin, Martin arrives and Shaun feeds him with words, food and sex; Martin is recharged for the rest of the day and instead Shaun has unloaded all the love he accumulated from the last time he saw Martin. It’s like with the exchange of bodily fluids, they also exchange life force.

The story lasts one year in Shaun and Martin’s life, and in that span of time I completely changed my mind: at the end of the first story, I was cheering for Shaun, hoping that uncaring Martin could finally understand what wonderful man Shaun was, and that his girlfriend had nothing more to satisfy him; story after story, I saw little things of Shaun, his insecurities, his need to be the caretaker to prove that he is not alone, his refusal to share his inner soul replacing the void with food; food for Shaun represents love, the love he lacked, the love he desperately wants; at the end, I understood that maybe Shaun was not ready to love Martin, that he needed time, that one year was just enough to know each other. At the end of the book, Shaun is changed, and instead Martin is always the same, but maybe now Shaun is ready for another part of his life, no more only the lover, but also the partner.

Seven Sweet Things is a wonderful novel, really, high dose of sugar in the recipes, but an almost ethereal feeling in the story, light and heavy, heavy and light, perfectly balanced.

  elisa.rolle | Jun 25, 2010 |
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