Author: Jason Lloyd
Publisher: Self Published
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
What would you do if everything changed in the blink of an eye? Life teaches us that everything happens for a reason. Every good or bad experience, every event, shapes us into the adults we become. We are our pasts and they shape our future.
In this nonfiction coming of age mini-memoir, Kevin and Jason embark on an adventure to Philadelphia to visit friends and to get into their normal hijinks. Along their journey, they confide in each other the only way best friends can; through laughter, love and pain. They share stories of coming out, first time sexual experiences and dramatic events that changed their lives forever. This hilarious and heartfelt journey through the past can only strengthen their friendship in the present.
Your best friend knows all your little secrets. They know all your dirty laundry. Can you air it all out? How dirty is your laundry?
Jason and Kevin live in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and they’re going on a road trip to see their friend Jelissa in Philadelphia. I love this premise, because it feels so real, and indeed probably reflects the author’s life, given what I know of him (and, yes, he’s a redhead like Jason, I checked).
The entire action of the book is Kevin and Jason’s process of getting into Philadelphia. In the course of things, these two close friends share stories of their childhood and youth (and this threw me, because I assumed they were early-twenty-somethings; but it is clear by the end that they’re in their late twenties at least).
This little slip of a book is an oddity. The language is colloquial, and in places very clever. The grammar is sometimes bad—but there were almost no typos, so I’m thinking it was intentional. And yet there is some very explicitly bad grammar used jokingly—and amusingly—as the two protagonists banter.
The entire novella seems like a thinly-veiled memoir, narrated in the semi-articulate language of young provincial gay men who haven’t seen much of the world. We learn their personal stories about coming out and hooking up; about bullying and families and the vagaries of online friendships.
It’s no “Boys in the Band,” although at times it felt as much like a period set-piece as that great play has become.
There is a longing quality in Jason’s character, expressed in lines like this: “I wanted a knight in shining armor, but what I got were douchebags in ripped jeans.”
The pain of being marginalized in school, (something that might even be worse for 21st-century gay boys than it was for my generation, who could be their fathers) shines clear in Jason’s rhetorical complaint: “If grown-ups will not stop harassment, then who will?”
And, again, for a gay man of my age, the peculiar boundaries of sex for today’s young people are never more apparent. In recounting his physical interactions with Dino (one of the more appealing and fully rounded characters in the book), Jason assures Kevin: “Trust me, we didn’t have sex, but there were plenty of hands on fun.” Back in my day, we apparently set a very low bar for the definition of sex.
Jason’s development as a gay man looks pretty random at first glance, but there is a definite guiding principle, molded by circumstances, an underlying maturing that you might not notice at first. In the midst of the sexual banter and apparent insouciance of his sexual journey, he admits “I didn’t need to be in love, but I wanted to at least have some sort of emotional connection.” That sort of candor took me by surprise, and also took me back to my own early twenties. Indeed, there was much of what Jason and Kevin discuss that made me think about the 1970s, when I was going through this part of my life. How odd to realize, in an era when being gay is supposed to be easy and accepted, that the truth behind much of the perceived “post-gay” optimism is tarnished with the same sense of longing and need for fulfillment with which my generation struggled.
At first, like other reviewers, I was startled and annoyed at the abrupt ending, seemingly in the middle of a conversation with Jason and Kevin’s friend Tommy over margaritas at a Philadelphia gay bar. But, thinking about it, I realized that there wasn’t really much more I needed to know to comprehend Jason. This messy, sometimes delightful, sometimes sloppily-written, story is actually something of a miniature epic. Jason hasn’t gone anywhere much and hasn’t done anything much; but he’s been through a lot. As he and his friends roll their eyes over Tommy’s absurd stories at the bar, we finally understand.
I would like to thank the author for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
|This post may contain affiliate links.
|Prism Book Alliance® assumes no liability for the ownership of photos or content used in guest posts and interviews. The post author assumes all responsibility and liability for this content.|