For many years, I reviewed romances. You can see some of the reviews here. But lately I've been writing romance novellas. So whether you've come to read the reviews or get information about my writing, WELCOME! Read, enjoy, and leave messages if you wish. Every day is a good day for romance.
Friday, July 11, 2014
Reading Challenge for July: Every Time I Think of You
2014 Reading Challenge
July Challenge: Lovely RITA (past RITA winners or nominees)
Title: Every Time I Think of You
Author: Jim Provenzano
My Rating: 4 stars
Since I'm trying to keep this year's Reading Challenge books
to all gay romances, taking titles from the Rita winners or nominees won't work
for this month's challenge.Maybe
someday, but not this year, alas.
So where would I find award-winning and award-nominated gay
romance books?There are a few good
choices, but my go-to site is the Lambda Literary Awards.
A short recap:From
1989-2001 although Lambda gave awards, none were for romance per se.This year's winner for gay romance is Into This River I Drown by TJ Klune, and although I haven't read it, I decided not
to read it for this challenge.
Instead I chose the 2012 winner, Every Time I Think of You
by Jim Provenzano, which was a self-published work.I'd read the nominated Something Like Summer
by Jay Bell, also self-published, and loved it, so I wanted to see if I would
have chosen Provenzano's book over Bell's.
Now I know why Provenzano won, but I'm not sure if I agree
with the choice.Fortunately, Bell's
Kamikaze Boys, another m/m romance I really enjoyed, won the award in 2013, so
I didn't feel so badly that Bell lost in 2012.
While Provenzano's book is enjoyable after the first few
chapters, it's the beginning chapters that really bothered me the most.In them two boys go into the wooded area
between their two very different neighborhoods in the middle of an Illinois
winter to pull of their clothes and jack off.They don't know each other, but spy what the other is doing and form a
Not a bad opening volley, right?It's clever, catches attention, and seems right
enough for two teenage boys.So what's
my gripe?The writing style which is
overblown and pretentious.Not only was
it off-putting considering what was going on in the scene, but I was really
afraid it would be used throughout the book.
I understand that the narrator is supposed to be a nerdy,
word-smith geek, maybe even a precocious kid, but considering that the language
choices and tone don't continue throughout the book, the beginning struck me as
unnecessarily condescending considering that male teens might want to read
But I don't think that is why the book won the Lambda Award,
even though many award-winning literary fiction works begin the same way.
I think the book won because it centers on one character's
unexpected off-scene accident which makes him paraplegic.Although the issue of gay men and paraplegia
isn't really addressed in the book, I think the shock value of a young men in
love romance turning down that path sealed its award.
True, because the book is a first person account from the
boy who isn't injured, delving into the mechanics of how a young man lives and
functions in a wheelchair isn't the focus of the romance.Perhaps that's why Provenzano published the
sequel, Message of Love, this March--in order to flesh out the parts that were
missing in the original story.
No matter what his purpose, even with the quibbles I talk
about here, Every Time I Think of You was a good choice as the Lambda 2012 gay
romance of the year.It took an
established theme in a new direction and did it well.