Sunday, May 8, 2011

A New Normal


Hello all, I need to spend just a few minutes on my soapbox. I was supposed to go to Atlanta this weekend for a commitment ceremony, but the couple decided to wait unitl they moved to DC so it would be recognized and legal. I just do not understand what the deal is. Why should they have to wait, or go to another state? I don't think it should matter who we love and want to spend our lives with, and I certainly don't think the government should be involved in that decision. I am in a hetero relationship and I have to say that my marriage would NOT be threatened or mean less to me because two men or two women want to make that commitment as well. I live in a state right now where it is illegal but I hope that some day soon that will not be the case.
Ok now I am off my soapbox and on to William Neale's newest book, A New Normal. I am a fan of Mr. Neale and his book, Home, was one of my favorite books for 2010, well his latest book is in my top 5 for this year.

A New Normal, William Neale, MLR Press, May 2011
Former Marine Corps Major Jake Vincenzo had a plan. He was convinced that his son Mark and his long-time best friend Cade were in love but just didn't know it. Forced for years to hide his own gayness because of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," Jake had kept a secret getaway - a remote mountain cabin where he now intended to play matchmaker for the two nineteen year-olds. What he didn't count on was falling in love with Cade. How will the three navigate the minefields of potential hurt, jealousy and even betrayal? How will father and son maintain their close relationship without viewing each other as rivals? And how will Cade manage not only accepting being gay but also being in love with the two most important men in his life? For the three, it means redefining everything each had thought was normal. Two will live happily ever after. One will go on with a broken heart. And all must recognize that life will never be the same again - that it now means finding a new normal.

Major Jake Vincenzo promised his son and his son's best friend that he would take them camping for two weeks this summer to celebrate their high school graduation. One problem...his son failed History and has to take summer school to get his diploma. To teach Mark a lesson in responsibility Jake takes Cade on the trip while Mark is left at home to deal with the consequences of not passing his class.

Jake has suspected for some time that Mark and Cade are in love with each other and he is hoping to take their time away as an opportunity to encourage them to admit to themselves and to each other how they feel. Jake knows what it is like to deny your true feelings and doesn't want his son and Cade to miss out.

During those first two weeks Jake and Cade become close and Cade confides in Jake his thoughts about his sexual orientation and his concerns for the future. Being the only child of older, devout parents Cade is afraid of what will happen when he tells them that not only is he gay but he really doesn't want to become a CPA and take over his fathers business.

When those first two weeks are up and Mark is able to join them he has some confessions of his own and is surprised and concerned at how close his father and Cade have become. While the two boys work on trying to figure out their relationship a misunderstanding could end it and possibly cost them the future they are trying to plan.

This book for me was completely un-put-downable. I fell into this story and very quickly became invested in not only Cade and Mark's life but Jake's as well. While the first chapter is a bit weighed down with back story, once past that the story takes off and never slows down. I enjoy Mr. Neale's writing style and love how quickly he can make me care about his characters. Some of the dialogue seemed a little "old" for two 19 year old's but in no way did that take away from the story line for me. I wish that every teenager out there struggling with their identity could have a Jake in their life to tell them it's OK. If you are looking for a great coming of age story look no further than A New Normal. I give A New Normal 5 chocolate dipped strawberries.
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