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4.9 out of 5 stars
Memorizing You
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 26 January 2014
Memorizing You is one of the most poetically beautiful, poignant and heart-breaking stories I’ve read. I truly don’t have enough accolades in my vocabulary to throw at this book nor its Author.

“You’ll always be my ‘Wow!”

It had my heart beating out of my chest with every emotion, my body and mind owns. The writing was flawless; every word bled off the pages into my heart and trickled out as tears of sadness or joy. This story became a part of me, I lived every bit of it alongside the characters. I shared their struggles, their love, their despair and their hope. I’d become so immersed, I cried on and off all day after finishing and writing this review now brings it all back. A truly astounding book that should be experienced by everyone. This is one of those journeys that resonate so deeply. This story right here is why I love reading.

‘A thirsty man can only think of water. A hungry man can only think of food. The more I was deprived of the intimacy I wanted with Ryan, the stronger became my inclination for him.’

Memorizing You is the journey of David told in retrospect. We begin to follow him from a young age as he discovers – then comes to understand his sexuality.

‘The body knew of what the mind had no knowledge.’

We end when he’s a man in his fifties having learnt and experienced through his life alongside him;

his first kiss….

“That kiss was bigger than my dreams.”

his first love…

“You devastate me…You always have.”

his friendships…

“Things just change. If there’s one thing we have to get used to…it’s that we can’t get used to things.”

His family, his highs and his lows were intense, heart-breaking and beautiful. I was exhausted by the time I’d finished; my whole being had been through an emotional wringer. I was gutted when I reached that last page, I could have continued forever, I didn’t want to leave! I wasn’t ready to say goodbye….

“It’s because you can’t dream in the light, if you can’t live in it.”

Davis begins to come into his own when he meets the amazing Ryan with a heart so big and wonderful. Oh wow; these two had a love everyone dreams to experience and have. It was so all-encompassing, so beautiful, so real and so very honest. Two very different lads who came together to face the world with the purity of their love.

“… sometimes I feel like I’m caught in your gravity. And no matter where I am, anywhere in the world, if I wrote ‘I love you’ on a note, and made a paper airplane, and threw it into the breeze…. it would still find you. My words couldn’t escape you, any more than I can.”

The time in which this story begins made this journey that much harder to read due to the prejudice and ignorance. Set in the sixties and seventies this is a story of love deemed wrong by society and living through the adversity that brings. It’s a story of two lads wanting understanding and acceptance; wanting to be able to hold hands; but ultimately just wanting to be together without being in the spotlight for being ‘different’.

Memorizing you is also about loss. The loss of not being able to be who you truly are, the loss of what you want to be, the loss of the love that lives in your heart and the loss of hope caused by heart-breaking tragedy.

‘You are where I can read my happy ending…’

I cannot stress enough how much I wish for every single one of you to go and one-click this book. You need to, you’ll want to and you’ll never regret reading the story of David & Ryan. Please go right now and do just that, then get comfortable with a huge box of tissues next to you and get completely swept up and lost in an emotional and poetic romance reader’s dream.

“Sometimes what you want is right in front of you.”
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 July 2013
I have just spent most of the weekend reading this book. I finished it about an hour ago and the last line is still echoing in my head.

Set in an era I have never read before, and am too young to remember, this story will transport you back to the sixties as if you were there. I am sure many readers will have seen the little joke meme that goes round the internet, about how readers have a problem that after reading such a good book we can't start a new one because we're still living in the world of the last book. Right now, that is where I am.

Memorizing You is a beautifully written story about first love, but to say it is simply a love story does not do it justice. It is about so much more. Growing up, friendship and families, hopes and dreams, as well as that inherent belief that all romantics have... that love will conquer all.

For anyone who has ever doubted that a gay (male/male) love story can be written without being graphic or borderline erotica, pick up this book now and see that it can.

The characters are wonderfully drawn and will certainly stay with me for a long time to come. Even secondary characters, who so often pale in comparison to the main ones, pull you in. To name just a few: David's mother, Rosemary, Judy, and even Connor, sucked me into their world, making me care about them as much as I did about David and Ryan. And boy did I care about what happened to these two adorable young men.

There aren't many books that can actually make me laugh out loud. There are even fewer that can make me cry. This one did both. I actually can't remember the last time that happened.

Since I know how awful it is to read a review with spoilers in for a story I'll simply say that this is a story that will stay with me for many years to come. I strongly suspect it will be one I re-read so frequently I will have memorised the story itself.

The one thing I hope I never forget, not even for a moment, is the truth Memorizing You delivers so eloquently, in that we should all treasure each and every good moment in our lives, else what are we living for at all?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 February 2014
This book is one to really make you feel good about life. It is beautifully written with an elegiac quality that is truly beautiful. Dan Skinner has perfectly captured the aching intensity and sweetness of first love. The slow and steady deepening of the love between his unforgettable characters of David and Ryan is exceptionally well drawn and it is thoroughly refreshing in that their love does not start in bed. There are no graphic scenes of sex but the novel is still powerfully erotic simply because it is so genuinely romantic. I laughed out loud often and, yes, I cried openly too.

Another reviewer has mentioned the ending of the book. I don't wish to spoil anything but, if you read this, and you should read it, I believe that the ending will live with you for a long, long time .... and make you smile in gratitude that such a thing called love actually and really does exist.

Congratulations to Dan Skinner on a truly remarkable achievement and many thanks for such an unforgettable novel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 March 2014
Such a beautifully written book. It's one of the first I've read within the gay genre. Couldn't help but cry in the latter chapters. The author is very talented. Without a doubt one of the most interesting books I've read, a story beautifully told. After years of reading hundreds of books it's finally great to read one that I can relate to on so many levels as a gay man. For that I say, Thanks.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 March 2014
I have just finished this book and felt compelled to write this review because everyone should read this. It should be used in schools to educate children to see how love is just love no matter who it is between. This is a most beautifully written book that touched my heart, made me laugh and cry; made me so angry and so happy. David and Ryan are wonderful characters and very easy to empathize with and I really felt part of their lives ups and downs. It made me sad that they couldn't have grown up in more forgiving times. I'm left with a heavy but hopeful heart. This is a true love story and I'm grateful to have read it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 August 2014
I read the reviews and I never thought I'd feel this way. Empty, sad, happy. Omg what an amazing book I was sobbing. I wish it never ended that way. My heart broke for David. I'm going to make my own happy ending up! As I know there will not be another book. Dan is an amazing writer. Second of his books I have read. We'll done! Please please buy this book it's a wonderful read. Thank you Dan
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on 30 January 2015
This stunningly beautiful book is perhaps the finest gay novel I have ever read. Dan Skinner writes with a passion and precision of Caravaggio or Rembrandt.... the two lead characters, Ryan and David, are shaped with loving care - and it is as if the reader is standing at a half opened door silently watching the story unfold. I started 'bookmarking' passages that jumped from the page - but there were so many.......
'Memorizing You' spans the decades from the sixties to the present day with an accuracy that is perhaps only obvious to someone such as myself who lived through the days of the Nixon Presidency, free love and the wobbly first steps of gay liberation.
In the final chapters of 'Memorizing You' a tragedy unfolds that Dan Skinner handles with a skill worthy of Shakespeare and tissues are called for! But the final page brings hope and the possibility of closure to a love that indeed 'Dare to speak its name.' The highest possible recommendation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 February 2014
This book was really well written and I was completely enthralled by it. The characters came to life and I felt connected to them. Don't do what I did and read it on your lunch breaks. It made me late back and now all my colleagues have seen me cry. Cannot stress how much I enjoyed this book
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on 9 April 2015
This was an absolutely wonderful read. Moving and poignant sad and happy, and not at all what I expected it to be, or the outcome for that matter. Beautifully and sensitively written it made me cry when i read the ending. It also had me unable to speak from welling up when I later tried to convey the injustice of it to my partner.
I almost didn't buy it because of the sickly cover but thank goodness I did. A truly brilliant piece, I cannot praise it enough, it touched something in me. It didn't go into scorching sex scenes, it was gentle and innocent and perfect and made my heart sore for the happiness that was stolen from both boys. Its rare I read a book more than once, but I think in a few years when I can manage it again, I shall re-read this. I adore the way it was written with understanding and empathy. Brilliant book.
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on 16 May 2015
This story will take you on an emotional rollercoaster.

The development of the two main characters, David and Ryan, is intelligently written, and I was with them every step of the way as their friendship evolved into deep love. Other characters in the book were well written and each fitted into the story perfectly.

I'm not going to summarise the story (you can find plenty of summaries elsewhere if you want one) but without giving anything away, the ending was incredibly satisfying and left me with a happy heart.

This is my first Dan Skinner book but it definitely won't be my last!
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