Dream Boy by Jim Grimsley
While this is a beautifully written story with several positive points, the ending really sours the entire story for me.
What I liked
Writing. The style is unique and moving, feeling abstract and distant in many cases, which works to illustrate how the main character has become closed off (although the writing style doesn't change as he opens up.
Abuse. The main character's relationship with his father is handled well. The fear is palpable without showing any actual abuse being committed, just threats (which is enough).
What didn't work
The ending. I'm not sure if I'm missing something, I didn't read carefully enough, or it's just the style of the book, but the ending was extremely confusing. I'm not exactly sure what happened, and I'm not certain if I'm supposed to know if certain things happened. I found it frustrating to feel uncertain and confused about the ending.
Boyfriend. We have an obviously limited view of what other people think and feel, but the main characters "boyfriend" had several moments where I really disliked him. He had a girlfriend, he's hot and cold, he's almost cruel in some instances. While I can understand this logically, I never felt his behaviors were satisfactorily explained or defended. It wasn't until the end that he both ruined and redeemed himself.