Sunday, April 28, 2013

Review of Family Man by Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton

Family ManI've been sort of subconsciously intending to  read more M/M this year, so here we go--a nice contemporary that actually sort of surprised me with some of the directions it took.

Vinnie, a forty-something accountant turned plumber from a big Italian family, has a sudden epiphany that he might be gay. In an effort to figure this out, he goes to a gay club way outside of his usual haunts--and of course, runs into a guy from his family's neighborhood. Trey is twenty-six, but old for his age, and the attraction between them is intense.

I want to say right off that the age difference is a total non-issue. Trey is, as I said, very old for his age, having endured a pretty rough home life with an alcoholic mother. Vinnie is not remotely experienced in the art of dating men, so Trey's relative sexual innocence actually suites him well. Their attraction is deep, but they put off having sex, so it's a slow burn sort of thing. I actually really enjoyed the fact that they took their time jumping into bed together, because they both wanted it to mean something. I also liked that once they do end up together, it's not quite what you would expect.

The highlight of this book for me was the way that Vinnie treats Trey. He's extremely considerate and affectionate. He takes Trey out on really excellent dates and makes sure he's comfortable with everything. When Trey's situation with his mother comes to a crisis point, Vinnie drops every selfish hang-up that he has in order to make sure that Trey has the support he needs. This book is so much sweeter than I expected.

The major hang-up I had with this book was the fact that Vinnie's transformation from "No, not gay, no way." to "I would like to marry a man." is really, really quick. His family's acceptance of him is equally very abrupt. It's as though both Vinnie and a majority of his family exist in a rainbows-and-puppies ideal universe where any reservations about sexuality are worked out in the blink of an eye. From the set-up, I expected it to be more of a journey.

I also thought the ending was a bit saccharine. It through the tone off for me a bit, because for awhile it goes to a really dark place with Trey and his mother and all of that. I thought it might just end on a hopeful note. I didn't feel like the grand public gestures were necessary in this case.

So to sum up: this book is sweet and hot (like pie), and it's totally worth reading if you like contemporary M/M. I dare say it might even make a good introduction for readers who haven't tried contemporary M/M before. 3.5 stars.

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