Saturday, February 25, 2012
Review: A Private Gentleman
A Private Gentleman by Heidi Cullinan
This book was like one of those vending events where a well-versed eloquent salesperson effortlessly as anything manages to convince you that you can't live without their goods - and you listen raptly nodding your head and open your purse wide since you're sold, literally. Only once you're outside the sales room with your absolutely superfluous overpriced heating blanket, you wake from your daze enough to take a break to think, and then you shake your head at your own gullibility. But do you storm back in to demand a refund? No, you just walk off with a shrug. After all, it was a nice event, and you had fun listening to the salesperson. You clutch your blanket tighter with a slightly embarrassed self-indulgent smile. All things considered, it's a nice blanket.
What I'm trying to say is that while reading this story, I was totally engrossed in it and I bought every word I read. Only afterwards, when I thought about it, I realized what total wimps both main characters were, Wes even more than Michael. Dreadful childhood experiences and a**hole of a father aside, wallowing in self-pity like he did is a luxury few of his contemporaries could afford. Putting the blame for all that's wrong with your life on everybody else, circumstances and bad luck is a behavior for which I can't muster much patience, either in real life or in fiction. And he didn't fight his way out of it on his own, no, it took some kind of fairy godmother to pull him free of the swamp.
Michael, whose lot in life admittedly was dire, lucked out tremendously with Rodger. Okay, Rodger pimped Michael, but he put up with a lot from him, too, showing tremendous patience and support when Michael's belated PTSD hit hard and square. And eventually Michael was miraculously cured by love (another stumbling stone in fiction with me).
But did I throw the book across the room in annoyance? Obviously not. Will I shout a stay off this warning all over the place? Not at all. This book was engrossing, poignant, sweet and heartwarming and above all, so beautifully written that I had an incredibly good time reading it. Let the warm blanket of the writing enfold you, and you'll close this book with a sigh and a smile, like I did, and forgive the small niggles that will take their time to pop up anyway, if they do with you at all. ;-)
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