- Paperback: 312 pages
- Publisher: Alyson Publications Inc (6 Jan 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1555838448
- ISBN-13: 978-1555838447
- Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 13.7 x 1.8 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,818,666 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
"The Deal" tells the story of a group of longtime friends in their late 20's/early 30's, all living in the Montrose area of Houston TX, during the year 2000. The main character/narrator is Aaron, an openly gay English literature teacher who gets along well with his closeknit parents and sisters. His roommate is Patrick, a straight-but-not-narrow owner of a local bar, who has a girlfriend, Vivian, who is in lawschool. There's also Alexander, a gay musician who is somewhat private, and Miranda, a lesbian who makes her own line of jewelry. Last but not least, there's Heath, who was in a relationship with Aaron when they were younger, and recently re-entered their clique after moving back to Houston.
After realizing that their frequent dinners and nights out were often bogged down by the single members whining about failed relationships, the friends make "The Deal" to refrain from talking about their relationships except for at one monthly "Love Sucks" gathering, where they were free to vent as much as they want. Alexander and Miranda, the chief "whiners" of the group, also have until the following New Year's Eve to find a relationship, or forever lose the right to whine about lost loves to their friends. What's more, if both are successful in finding love this year, then Aaron (a self-proclaimed loner) must find a relationship the following year, or suffer the same fate.
You can't but help identifying with this colorful group of characters, sharing their joys and disappointments, and wanting them all to find someone to love. We root for Miranda in her efforts to get Joey, the female drummer of Alex's new rock group, to go out with her, and for Aaron and Heath to get over the hurt feelings of the past and give a relationship another try. When Alex meets a guy at the gym he starts to date, but complains that the guy doesn't want him to call him at home, or to be out anywhere where others are likely to see him, and isn't available on holidays, you are ready to yell "He's married, you idiot!" even before one of his friends clues him in on that. And you feel the professional quandry Aaron finds himself in, when an (untrue) rumor starts that he was dating one of his male students. There's colorful additional characters as well, both straight and gay, and you soon wonder "Why can't my friends be that great?"
A extremely enjoyable, light read, definitely in the genre of previous novels by Timothy James Beck ("He's the One," "It Had to Be You"), the pen name of a writing group that includes the authors of this book. Much recommended!
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