A Guest Review by Andrea
Review Summary: It should have been an emotional tale of a young man’s journey to self discovery, but I had trouble connecting with him due to his need for submission.
Blurb: The violent implosion of Lawrence McKenna’s last relationship left him floundering at the bottom of a bottle. Recently unemployed and struggling with his newly discovered submissive tendencies, Laurie needs his best friend, Jeff, more than ever. One sleepless night of detox and a desperate kiss convince him that the attraction they’ve battled all their lives has become too hard to ignore, but Jeff has other responsibilities that take him far away from Laurie and his self-destructive behavior.
When Jeff leaves, all Laurie wants is to be left alone to wallow. Instead, he finds himself riding herd on his friends who have quit their jobs to achieve their dream of starting their own manga publisher. Those same friends return the favor by riding him: about the booze, talking about what happened, seeing a doctor—and about Jeff, whose abandonment left Laurie bitter and resentful. Laurie knows they can’t have a relationship without forgiveness, but when Jeff returns, can he be what Laurie needs?
Right off, I’m going to let you know that I struggle with BDSM books. I don’t understand the need for dominance or submission, I just don’t get it. Why do I read them? I’m totally down with the S&M parts, that’s a need I understand and enjoy reading about. It’s always a toss up for me when I pick up a BDSM book because I’m never sure which way it’s going to go. If a main character is submissive, I will have trouble connecting with him. Take that into consideration when you read this review.
The most important person in this book is Laurie. He just got out of a bad relationship, a really bad relationship. He is devastated by the way the relationship ended and confused about things he learned about himself during the relationship. It gave him his first taste for bondage and submission. He learned to crave the safety he felt in them. Once it’s all gone, Laurie has no idea how to cope and turns to alcohol to escape.
Laurie’s friends see him struggling and jump in to help. Leading the cause is his best friend Jeff. They’ve always had a mild attraction but the close quarters prove too much for Jeff. He takes off once he realizes he can’t control his desire for Laurie. Another friend steps in to take over in Jeff’s absence. Laurie’s friends help him get his life together and stop drinking. One major aspect of that recovery is to determine his role in a D/s relationship. Jeff tells Laurie he has to figure that out for himself before Jeff will come back into his life. They know they love each other, but won’t know if they’re compatible in that way until Laurie figures out what he needs in a relationship.
Laurie’s struggle with submission was a big issue for me. I read the words, I understood their meaning, but his emotions didn’t resonate with me. It’s a fairly big issue in this book and that part was lost on me. Even though I didn’t connect with Laurie on that level, I still liked him. He was a bit whiny for my taste, but I wanted him to be happy. Jeff deserted Laurie pretty early on. He was too distant for me to get a read on him. He seemed like a decent guy but I only got to know him through a few interactions and a couple phone calls. Laurie’s other friends were much more prominent. They were an eclectic group and I liked them.
A couple things bugged me.
1. I thought Laurie healed too easily. He was just out of an abusive relationship, his best friend deserted him in his time of need, and he was a dysfunctional alcoholic. I have a hard time believing a few months and the support of friends were enough to turn his life around. It
was too easy.
2. After Laurie’s miraculous turn around, every other aspect of his life worked out perfectly. Jeff was the perfect partner and every other loose end was tied up nice and neat. It was too convenient for me.
I was in the mood for messy and painful. I didn’t get it. Laurie was certainly dealing with enough emotional pain, but my lack of connection kept me from feeling it. I think it would be a lot more meaningful to readers who can identify with a character like him. While it was an enjoyable read, I feel like I missed out on a big portion of it.