Femme

Marshall Thornton. CreateSpace, $10.99 trade paper (228p) ISBN 978-1-5349-0696-9
Thornton’s opposites-attract contemporary romp perfectly threads the needle, addressing internalized homophobia and the heartbreak of self-denial without ever falling into cliché or forgetting to be fun. Lionel is barely scraping by as a waiter at a gay bar in Long Beach, Calif. After he enjoys a one-night stand with Dog, a “straight-acting” athlete who’s a regular customer at the bar, both men are confused to realize their mutual attraction goes beyond lust, though neither is the other’s usual type. Dog is a closet case; Lionel’s never been able to hide or lie about himself in that way. As they face the social pressure of the gay scene, needing to stay employed, and forced honesty with family members, each must navigate his disrupted world and minimize harm to his loved ones. Thornton (the Boystown Mysteries series) confronts the contradictions of modern homosexuality, addressing the pressure to conform to mainstream culture rather than embracing the more flamboyant aspects of gay identity. The instructive nature of the narrative is obvious, but the delightful characters and their struggles are engaging and realistic. The conclusion is satisfying without dismissing the painful aspects of the romantic journey, a delicate balancing act well executed by a talented writer who remains in control of the playful chaos he has created. (BookLife)
Reviewed on: 10/17/2016
Release date: 07/01/2016
Genre: Fiction
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