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The Boy In The Book by Tom    Nussbaum
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The Boy In The Book

by Tom    Nussbaum

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132723,089 (2.83)None
English books (1) fiction (2) gaw (1) gay (2) gay fiction (1) glbt (1) homosexuality (1) lgbt (1) Maine (1) Roman (1) Schwul (1) Sexarbeit (1)

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This brisk novel employs elements of magical realism to weave a thoroughly charming tale combining mystery, romance, coming of age and, most importantly, self-acceptance. It charts the friendship between Rick, a financially fixed thirty eight year old Microsoft retiree, and Jon (aka Spider) a homeless eighteen year old on the run from an emotionally abusive father. Both characters, along with Rick's best friend Jay, embark on a road trip that, through a series of increasingly more odd coincidences, leads them on a path to self-discovery and, eventually, to their (collective) destinies. Along the way the reader learns that each man is hiding something, not only from the others but from himself as well. Nussbaum's prose style is deceptively breezy which belies some of the deeper themes being explored here, but that's one of the joys of this book; even when dealing with heavy subject matter it is never preachy, ominous or depressing.

I enjoyed The Boy In The Book enormously and, because it is very much a mystery, will refrain from divulging too many details of the plot. Suffice it to say, there are countless surprising twists. The only aspect of it that disappointed me was the author's choice not to spend more time in Jon's childhood home of Coeur d'Alene. This section of the book struck me as somewhat rushed and perfunctory, particularly in light of the depth of the secrets that are revealed and the magnitude of the events that transpire there. Not to mention that more time in his home town would have allowed the reader to become better acquainted with the Jon's family and friends, especially the boy's mother, Sherrie, and his high school "girlfriend," Sierra. Both were interesting and fairly well-rounded female characters - a rarity in books aimed at a gay male audience.

This novel has something for everyone - complicated characters, a romantic (wholly unexpected) love story, multiple mysteries to unravel, a little sex, a lot of humour, an uplifting message and more than a hint of spirituality. On that note, I should add that after reading The Boy In The Book, every time I get a whiff of musk I don't think I'll be able to stop myself from imagining that some little gay angel has just earned his wings. ( )
  blakefraina | Aug 31, 2008 |
I really, really enjoyed this book. I thought the 2 main characters of Rick & Jon were really fleshed out and seemed real. The storyline for the most part was interesting as well, all the family secrets etc. The only problem I had was who ended up with who in the end. I really thought the book was heading toward a relationship between Rick & Jon, but then it veered off, and for the sake of irony in the story, Jon ended up with Jay. Now, I understand the author's reasoning here, the whole fate thing and certain coincidences leading down certain paths in our lives. However, I just didn't feel like the character of Jay was fleshed out enough. I didn't have feelings for him like I did for Rick. I wasn't invested in Jay, as I was in Jon & Rick. So maybe the problem here was just that there needed to be more one-on-one time with Jay & Jon, stuff from inside Jay's head, not necessarily what his actions were in the past. I just didn't feel the emotional involvement with Jay. So therefore when he ended up winning Jon, I felt bad for Rick, since he was the one I was invested in. In the end, Rick just ended up being a stepping stone to Jay, and I didn't feel like that was what came across emotionally.

On a scale of 1 to 10, a 8. ( )
  krysteria | Apr 15, 2008 |
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