5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Jumbo (Kindle Edition)
I have mixed feeling about this short novel.
On the up side it is good to choose a lead encumbered with a problem seldom to be found in M/M coming of age stories. Endowment is a relevant issue that can surely cripple a man's self esteem as it does here. Mitchell is also 18 y.o. and like many boys his age, even clever ones, he is quite immature, unable to deal with adults and fellow students. All this makes for an interesting approach: Mitchell's struggles feel relatable, especially for all those readers who have had a troubled childhood.
On the down side Mr Young has exaggerated. It is obviously not his intent that of delivering a heartwarming romance with a happily ever after, but it seems to me he feels the need to push several buttons at once, unleashing on his character, who already has quite a lot to deal with, an emotional storm of difficult, challenging situations, some of which (the family troubles) unwarranted for.
To cut it short, Mitchell is portrayed in the eye of the cyclone but without the author's taking enough time to let him analyze it and attempt to grow through it. He is as immature, conflicted and self hating at the beginning of the novel as he is in the last page. This may be realistic as people do not change overnight and the timespan covered by the novel was actually short, but I still think that a novel should portray an evolution to have sense as a work of fiction/art.
The only possible exception to this rule of mine concerns those authors gifted with such a beautiful, powerful writing that they manage to make any kind of situation and plot acceptable.
This is not the case here: Mr Young's style is rough edged, especially proficient in portraying negative emotions, but it is certainly not exquisite. Moreover he seems to overindulge in his taste for humiliation and pain without taking the literary time to give it more justification. This is particularly evident in the sex scenes which are not only explicit but also charged with every possible negative emotion a self hating character can experience. Sex scenes aside one could also mention that several plot twists seem only meant to add to Mitchell's discomfort and pain.
Devoid of any particular literary beauty and or of any character's growth this short novel ends by being a good but disagreeable read I am not planning to reread.