{Between} Boyfriends – Michael Salvatore (Kensington Press)

Buy it now from TLAgay.com or from our Amazon.com store – Between Boyfriends

I finished this book less than a day ago but still had to
look up the main character’s name to write this review. My incipient dementia
notwithstanding, that’s not a good sign. There are other equally disturbing
harbingers here—a plot as thin as a Walmart quilt, overwrought overwriting and
the typical cast of Chelsea queen stereotypes. Oh, and a kooky mother. They’re
usually Jewish, but this one’s Sicilian.

Steven Bartholomew Ferrante, producer of the daytime soap If
Tomorrow Never Comes
has been recovering from a disastrous relationship for
four years, aided by Starbucks and a gaggle of gay geese that includes Lindsay,
winner of a pewter Olympic medal for figure skating, HIV positive Flynn and slutty
Sebastian among others. But this isn’t enough for Steven. He wants love. Will
it be Brian? Frank? Or perhaps his secret admirer? You won’t know until the
very last chapter.

Actually, that’s not true. If you’re an astute reader,
you’ll be able to tell by page 11. It’s not that this is a particularly bad
book, it’s just that you’ve read it before. From the cute ‘n’ clever
conversations over coffee to Mom’s witty retiree wisdom to continual references
to the gay cultural touchstones of disco, divas and drag, there’s a
disconcerting feeling that we’ve been here, done it, bought the t-shirt and
sent the postcard.

That’s not to say that Salvatore doesn’t have bouts with
originality. When his soap opera male lead, Lucas, comes out on the Daytime
Emmy show, the moment is both powerful and empowering. Sadly, however, those
moments are sucker-punched by their surroundings and wind up on the canvas,
down for the count despite their efforts.

“But,” I hear its supporters cry, “it’s just a light, fun
read. It’s not supposed to be anything but entertaining.” Sigh. As I’ve
done for years, I maintain it’s possible to have a light, fun, entertaining
read that has interesting characters moving through an original plot and
speaking dialogue that sounds like actual conversation instead of a Bruce
Vilanch routine. It’s an old rant, but I keep reciting it in the vain hope I
might win another convert or two.

{Between} Boyfriends isn’t an awful book, nor is it a
wonderful one. It’s simply one that bears more than a slight resemblance to
other mediocre beach reads. If that’s what you’re looking for, this will fill
the bill nicely.

But don’t settle unless you have to. 

Reviewed by Jerry Wheeler

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