Nothing makes me sadder than a good premise that goes unfulfilled. It smacks of wasted opportunity, misspent labor and the possibility of a great book gone out the window. And the waste is even greater when the premise deals with a subject that isn’t approached very often. That’s the case with Mykola Dementiuk’s Dee Dee Day.
Dee Dee Day is a self-described sissy – an effeminate cross-dressing gay man who beds and falls in love with Bill, a younger man who is her downstairs tenant. Bill has an attraction for this type of guy, which is alluded to in internal monologue and anecdotes about his previous boyfriend, Randy. But Dee Dee also has a past, including a boyfriend named Billy who was killed in WWII (Dee Dee is much older than Bill) and a former lover named George, a pedophile who still maintains a presence in Dee Dee’s life.
See what I mean? There’s so much potential here it’s mouth-watering. Not only could this have been a terrific love story, but it also could have been a detailed examination of why effeminate men seem to be so reviled by the majority of gay culture as well as a great character study of a man who flies in the face of that prejudice. And then there’s the relationship between Dee Dee and George, a twisted mess of complications that deserves untangling, not to mention the whole intergenerational Harold and Maude relationship between Bill and Dee Dee.
But that’s not what we get in our 126 pages on Kindle.
Dee Dee Day turns out to be a plot summary with dialogue. There is little attempt at characterization, not much description and absolutely no sense of place or time (it takes place in NYC during the 1970’s—a colorful locale and decade, again, rich with potential, but you’d never know it). By the time the book reaches its tragic end, I could have cared less and that’s not right at all, not with so many possibilities in the air.
And then there are the copy editing problems of oddly spaced lines, misspellings, sloppy punctuation and the like (“nevertheless” is all one word – not “never the less”) that jar the reader out of whatever forward momentum there is, almost as if the product was being pushed out as quickly as possible so it could be uploaded and the author could move on to the next project. Such assembly line writing serves neither the author nor the reader well, let alone what it does to a marvelous premise.
On the positive side, Dementiuk is fearless with the sex scenes and does manage to spark interest in Dee Dee Day as a character, but without some depth, some detail, some pathos, she ultimately goes nowhere. Bill, the point of view character, is so sketchy as to be nearly absent. Amazingly enough, this has two five-star and one four-star review on Amazon. And it’s only $3.19 – download it to Kindle and start reading it for yourself in five minutes if you don’t believe me. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.
If e-books like this are the wave of the future that will save the sinking publishing industry, just tie me to the rudder and let me go down with the print ship.
Reviewed by Jerry Wheeler