Life After Joe by Harper Fox
A touching, highly emotional tale of love, trust, and rebuilding life. Matt's long-time boyfriend and best friend leaves him for the straight life, and Matt falls apart. He's rescued by Aaron, who has some demons of his own, and together it may be possible for them to help each other. Emotionally charged, some may not read these as "manly men," but they read true to me. Some may say the story was "angsty" but it felt like honest pain and suffering to me, a man drowning in having lost all that he knew in life.
What I liked
Honest writing. The prose was well done and neither too heavy nor too much. Considering the story comes from the perspective of a depressed man, things could have gotten out of control. Fox may have toed the line at some points, but overall the reader is shown inside the mind of someone spiraling out of control, but the reader is never forced to deal with too much whining.
Emotions. I enjoyed the overwhelming emotions evoked by the author. Matt makes us feel desperate for love (enough to ignore possible cheating) and so worthless that we understand his need for affection. Aaron becomes his rock, and when that balance is off-kilter, we see that Matt is as strong as Aaron says.
What didn't work
Aaron's background. Without spoiling...Aaron's history felt a little contrived, which could just be the chance meeting of these two men who both have devastating pasts. Aaron is strong through the entire book and the later chapter felt out of character for him, in my opinion. However, in the end, I think the resolution worked out well and what Aaron's history provided to the story was important, so overall, not too bad.