Title: Man*hattan: a fairy tale
Author: Philip Higgins
Cover artist: n/a
Amazon: Buy Link Man*hattan: a fairy tale
Genre: gay fiction/ gay romance
Length: 241 pages
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
A guest review by Sirius
Summary: Enjoyable story about realizing whom you really want to spend your life with.
Meet Michael Dearborn. Telephone therapist by day, complete and utter mess by night. It’s just another New York story of boy meets boy, boy breaks up with boy, boy gets depressed, works in the basement of a funeral home, drinks too much, wakes up in a strange bed, dates a crazy person, and still makes it to brunch in time to tell the tale.
I stumbled across this book because I follow Ulisses’ reviews on Amazon. It was actually amusing – one day I decided that I wanted this book and next day it was offered for free on Amazon for 24 hours or so. Do I think the book is worth the price it is being sold for now? Absolutely, but I also think that several things in this book may turn some readers off.
I found it to be a very charming mix of gay fiction and gay romance, but beware that the characters are much less romanticized than in the regular mm book. When I say not romanticized, I mean that they are more flawed and their flaws did not feel romantic either, more like regular people’s shortcomings, and while I liked and sympathized with main character, I can see how you can easily find him to be a bit of an asshole. Heck, in the end of the book *he* acknowledges that he is one, but to me it was also very clear that he will at least try very hard not to be one. And I actually thought that he was being too hard on himself in a way – yes, he made mistakes in the relationship, yes he was being selfish and not attentive enough to his boyfriend, but Michael to me felt so very human and I thought that him fighting his better judgments through the book was such a painful thing to read and at the end all the more rewarding because of the ending.
Also not that there is a cheating in the book. – I thought it was well inserted to show that the relationship was almost broken and it made total sense for me, but if cheating turns you off no matter what, stay away from this book.
I thought this book managed to create something very lovely – characters which were portrayed with enough psychological depth and quite happy ending relationship wise.
I liked how the writer managed to show everyday life of thirty something years of age gay men in Manhattan and put a lot of realistic details in the settings and characterizations (not always flattering, no), but at the same time I thought that the book was at least just as much about the relationships as about their everyday life, friendships, families. It is so true IMO that you could just feel how lonely these guys were and how much they wanted to have somebody special in heir lives. Yes, I wanted to slap Michael and David more than once throughout the story (especially Michael), because it was painfully obvious to me how they are drawn to each other like magnets, break up or no break up and they just kept resisting it over and over again. I actually thought that these two guys should win an award for “most stubborn and painfully oblivious idiots”, but at the same time I applaud the writer that wanting for them to be together was the only reason I was annoyed with them.
As you can see from the review, I really enjoyed this story, but I do have to say this: writing wise, – some sentences were just too long for me. I do not feel qualified to say whether they were run-on sentences or not, and maybe it was just the writing style, but as a reader often enough I felt like I needed to catch a breath and was hoping to see a period or a coma. Instead some sentences kept going and going. It did not stop me from enjoying the story, but I think I would have enjoyed it more had I not had to struggle through some sentences.