Please Understand by Fai Marie Dawson ~ Book Review by Queue

pleaseTitle: Please Understand

Author: Fai Marie Dawson

Publisher: MLR Press

Cover Artist: Melody Pond

Rating: 1.5 of 5 Stars

Publication Date: 07/30/2015

Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)

Genre: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance


Fox claims to be straight as an arrow, but will his life turn upside down when he meets his girlfriend’s twin brother, Tommie?

To keep his mother off his back, Fox struggles to live life as a straight man. Following his failed marriage, he thinks he’s found a piece of heaven when he meets Audrey, a sexy dark-haired beauty. When he’s introduced to her twin brother, his life turns upside down. Mrs. Jones, a regular shopper at Fox’s quaint neighborhood bookstore, steps in to referee the fall-out. Can Fox maintain relationships with both Audrey and her brother? Can a late night train chase bring Fox closer to the one he loves? How far will Fox’s mother go to keep her son tight in her clutches?

My View:

*WARNING: This Review Contains Major Spoilers!*




This was one of those books where it is hard for me to say anything positive because there was just so many things wrong with it.

The story centers around bookstore owner Fox Jordain. He’s recently divorced and lives a rather lonely life except for his nosy and domineering mother. He sees Audrey at a bar and is instantly drawn to her. They go out several times. While they kiss, Audrey doesn’t allow anything below the belt. She also acts very odd at times, occasionally running off and bursting into tears.

Right away Fox shows some tendencies that made me ask why I was supposed to like this guy. First he tells Audrey what to wear on a date. Not a simple request, he practically ordered her to wear what he wanted.

At another point, Fox drops Audrey off outside her apartment so she can once again run away, crying. Fox doesn’t know which apartment Audrey lives in so he tries every door and goes inside the one that isn’t locked. Isn’t that against the law? The open door happens to be Audrey’s place, but it just as easily could’ve been someone else’s home. When Audrey comes out of her bathroom and finds Fox in her place she doesn’t care that her boyfriend is apparently a stalker.

A short time later while Audrey is in the bathroom, Fox picks up her phone and looks at her pictures. Hello? Invasion of privacy! And this is the hero of the story?

Around here was a part of the story that made absolutely no sense. Fox reads a fictional book based the Sphinx, but believes some of the information to be true. He is then upset when he discovers it was entirely fictional. Not just upset, totally pissed. Fox is a bookstore owner and has read many, many books. But somehow he’s never come across a novel that wasn’t based on the real life. I know the author was using this as foreshadowing, but it was a clumsy and unrealistic way to do it.

Just as their relationship starts to heat up Audrey tells Fox that she has to leave town to take care of her ailing mother. However, her disowned twin brother will be staying at her place and she encourages Fox to get to know him.

Here’s where the spoiler comes in. There’s no way I can talk about many of the issues with this story without revealing the truth.

Fox meets Tommie and gets to know him, spending several months with him. But Tommie is actually Audrey the entire time. The truth isn’t revealed until closer to the end but I figured out the secret right from the get go. I don’t know if it was the author’s intent to keep the truth from the reader, but it was pretty damn obvious,

So not only is one of our MCs controlling with stalker tendencies, the other is an outright liar, trying to fool the man he loves. You see Tommie does drag and it was after a show that he met Fox. Instead of telling the truth right away, he let Fox continue to believe he was a she. And when he fell for Fox he thought it would be better to put on an elaborate masquerade and lie to Fox.

Yeah, I didn’t like either one of these characters. In fact, Fox gets even worse. He doesn’t seem to have a problem with Tommie being gay until they fall asleep on the couch and Fox wakes up to Tommie’s hand in an inappropriate spot. He assumes Tommie is making a move on him. Later, they’re messing around and wrestle over a pen but all of a sudden Fox is pissed.

The pen was dropped in the scuffle and was no longer part of the game, but I was furious. When he wouldn’t let go of me, I grabbed his shoulders and shook him hard.

“You assume too much,” I shouted in his face. “You assume I want to touch you.”

Huh? The wrestling was as much Fox as it was Tommie, but Fox gets made at Tommie. Fox even calls Tommie a queer bastard!

When Fox’s shop is vandalized he instantly blames Tommie even though Tommie had never displayed such violent tendencies. That’s when the following interaction takes place.

“What kind of man do you think I am?”

“I don’t know, Tommie. Do people like you call themselves men?”

If a man ever said that to me I’d be done with him, no matter how much I loved him.

Since Fox told the cops he suspected Tommie as being behind the vandalism police officers come to speak to Tommie. He agrees to allow them to take DNA but for some reason they cuff him while they swab his mouth. They wouldn’t cuff him, especially if he was cooperating.

Tommie cries while he is cuffed and this happens:

“Big boys don’t cry,” the shorter officer soothed, running a fingertip along Tommie’s jaw.

Yeah, that’s normal behavior for a cop dealing with someone he’s never met before.

For some reason Tommie forgives Fox and they become friends again. That’s when Fox begins to have feelings for Tommie. This entire time he has no clue that Tommie could actually be Audrey. Not even when Tommie gets sick and has a fever for several days and Audrey never calls once. This was when Fox thought he was still in love with Audrey. Wouldn’t he at least be a little suspicious?

I decided Fox was not only a stalker asshat but also an idiot when he and Tommie are at a pride festival and someone comes up to Tommie and says:

“I loved it when you danced as Audrey.”

Fox hears this but doesn’t think twice about it. What? Why would he just forget about it, even if he was in love with Tommie by then?

When Tommie finally comes clean it practically takes a hammer to the head for him to realize the truth. The author felt it necessary to hit the reader over the head too.

“Are you saying that you were Audrey, that my dates with her with really with you?”


Of course there is a major fight between Tommie and Fox and they go their separate ways. Fox soon realizes he misses Tommie but when Fox gets to Tommie’s apartment, he’s gone. He does find a couple of boxes of Tommie’s belongings, which includes private journals.

Fox and Tommie’s friend, Mrs. Jones says that Tommie got on a train and convinces Fox to go with her and chase the train, trying to get to the stops before him. On the drive Fox, obviously not concerned about privacy, begins reading Tommie’s diary.

The reader is subjected to pages and pages and pages of Tommie’s life that really has nothing to do with the story, then we get to relive what happened from Tommie’s perspective. It was as if the author had all this back story and just had to find a way to include. It totally wasn’t needed, instead it just slowed the story.

What could’ve a unique take on the rush to the airport, we get a slow ride as Fox reads the diary. Total waste of pages. A good editor would’ve convinced the author not to bother with all of it.

Along the way we’re subjected to unrealistic problems and dialogue. At one point they have a flat tire, but no jack so Fox finds a local house. That person not only provides a jack but also has a tire for the car. One problem there, tires are not one size fit all. The chances of that guy having the correct sized tire is minimal.

When another problem arise Mrs. Jones suddenly sends a long-winded prayer despite neither her nor Fox ever displaying a religious bone in their body. It just didn’t fit with the characters.

Tommie and Fox catch up to each other and decide to give their relationship a try.

Up ‘til now the book had been in Fox’s POV, then suddenly at 84% we now have Tommie’s POV. I don’t mind multiple POVs, but I don’t having ones added when the book is nearing the end. Either do it the entire way or not at all.

Tommie now doesn’t have a place to live, but, ta-da, Mrs. Jones just happens to have a place to stay. Later, Mrs. Jones also happens to have lots money and insists on paying for Tommie’s school.

Fox and Tommie work things out again but Fox’s domineering bitch of a mother interferes once more. This time Tommie runs from Fox and stays away. He’s doing okay without Fox and going to school when Mrs. Jones dies suddenly and her son, who disowned his father for living as a woman, kicks Tommie out.

Between then and the end the reader is subjected to pointless scenes of Tommie finding a new place to stay and dealing with school.

Even the supposedly happy ending wasn’t enough for me to have a smile on my face when it was finally over.

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Please Understand on Goodreads
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I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
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,

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