By Rob Rosen
Review by: OJ
Paperback, 262 pages
Published November 11th 2015 by MLR Press
ISBN 1608209962 (ISBN13: 9781608209965)
BLURB One man, four lovers, and just ten years to choose one set the Hollywood stage in this hilarious coming of age tale of family, friendship, and fate. Eddie is in love. The problem is, Eddie’s in love with four men… four men simultaneously, that is. But who does Eddie love more? And can the heart feel for that many men equally? Ah, but it does have four chambers, so four seems the most logical choice… at least, of course, to Eddie.
Paula is Eddie’s famous mom. One by one, each of his lovers comes to work for her, their lives so connected that if one of them itches, another one scratches. But who will wind up with whom in this comedic tale of life and love and friendship? In the end, it’s up to fate to decide what none of them could possibly have seen coming. Personal Tags: Coming of Age; Really funny; Comedy; Self-Awareness; GFY; Bisexual; Hot Angst; Show Business
My good friend Lisa and I were going over new releases and she mentioned FAte to me. Well, with my being in the entertainment industry my whole life, this book called right out to me. What I didn’t expect was what turned out to be an extremely funny, riveting read that took me back to my own young, innocent (OK, maybe not quite so innocent) college days and our very tight circle of friends in an updated, 21st Century way. In a fashion, I do envy the Millenials and their amazing sense of self awareness.
Eddie Jackson, ‘Eddie’:
Eddie is the brown haired, brown eyed son of aspiring comedian Paula and her husband Sam Jackson.
I was born in the wagon of a travelling show. Um, yeah, I know that statement fairly—okay, exactly—resembles a certain song refrain from a certain timeless diva—Cher!—but, honest to God, I was born in a wagon, albeit a station wagon, and that travelling show was my mom’s standup act. Dad was driving her on the weekends during her last trimester, while Mom cussed for money. Me, well, I was just a fetus at the time, but I was told I showed great potential even then. As to being born in the family car, which, by the way, became mine when I turned eighteen, dents and all—“all” being one hundred and thirty thousand miles and a temperamental radiator that hissed when the temperature outside got to anywhere near eighty—well, the story goes that my mom booked the gig just after I was conceived, forgot about it until it was too late to cancel—the show must go on, even in a maternity muumuu!— and I cried my way into the world along Highway 5 just after midnight, halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The stains are still there to prove it, though they could just as easily be from a spilled Slushie.
In fact, if I hadn’t been born there, if my mom’s water hadn’t gushed like the Suez Canal springing a leak, as she likes to put it, along that certain stretch of highway, then Brian and I never would have met—at least not the first time around.
Blond, blue eyed Brian is the son of Ted and Lisa and was born six minutes before Eddie in the same hospital in San Luis Obispo that Paula, ‘Ma’, ended up going to and sharing a room with Lisa. Paula, ‘Ma’, and Lisa hit it off in the hospital and despite such disparate life experiences became steadfast friends.
One and one didn’t even come close to two when it came to the pair of them: lustrous blonde vs. mousy brown, rich vs. poor, quiet vs. my mom. The only thing they had in common, of course, was us, me and Brian, and we, as it’s told, also got along famously, side by side in our cribs, staring at each other through the slats.
Even though the two families lived twenty miles apart, which apparently might as well be light years in California standards, the two families stayed extremely close and Eddie and Brian became best friends, attached at the hip until, at age seven, Brian’s dad got a job in Pittsburg, PA, all the way cross country. This began the first, years long separation between Eddie and Brian.
John - ‘Curtis’:
As the years go on and Eddie starts college, in walks Curtis, Eddie’s college roommate:
“Howdy,” he said as he tentatively walked in, jolting me out of my reverie. I nodded, smiled, waved. “Howdy,” I replied, which, if memory serves, was the first time I’d ever used that word. Did anyone outside of Texas use it? I rose from the bed and held out my hand. “Eddie,” I said, his hand in mine, a spark of something akin to electricity riding up my spine as his eyes locked with mine. His were a sea of green with specks of grey, all filling my line of vision. He was my height, maybe an inch taller, with jet black hair, a hint of fuzz poking out from his collar, hairy arms, and lips the color of vine-ripened tomatoes. Which sounded gay, gay, gay, if not wholly accurate. “John,” he said. “But my friends call me Curtis.”
What transpires between Curtis and Eddie is nothing short of the quintessential coming of age experience that we all go through. The first awakenings of true adulthood and the cementing of a life-long relationship that transcends the age-old ‘friends with benefits’ routine.
Aaron. Fucking Aaron. Fucking ginger haired Aaron with the stunning eyes of blue and the dimple in his chin and that spark of something naughty in his smirk.
College is such a wonderful time. A time of discoveries and adventures and life-long friendships forged, and as often is the case Curtis meets Aaron, thereby changing the whole dynamics of Eddie and Curtis’ friendship/relationship. I don’t do spoilers, but suffice it to say this is a pivotal moment in this book, exquisitely carried through.
“It isn’t what you think,” he said as I closed the door behind me and plopped down on my own bed. “You’re dating Aaron.” He frowned. “Then, yes, it’s exactly what you think.”
Trevor had curly brown hair, very seventies looking, except shorter and more styled. He had brown eyes leaning toward hazel, an aquiline nose, stubbled cheeks, a soul patch beneath his bottom lip, and a cleft in his chin. He was cuter more than handsome, and, no, the binoculars hadn’t done him justice. He was also shorter than me by an inch or so, though broader, more muscular looking, his clothes tight around his frame, a second skin of sorts. He had a warm smile and a sure handshake.
Trevor comes into Eddie’s life via Brian. Remember Brian from Eddie’s childhood? Well, Brian is now one awesomely good looking man that’s taken a couple of years off to go explore Europe where he meets Trevor at a youth hostel. After wondering around Europe for a couple of years Brian comes back to finally start college and ends up moving in with his friend he made in Europe.
The four characters are now firmly in place! Let the games continue! I say continue as I am not one for spoilers. I know, you’ve heard that before.
Wow, what a great story! I really wasn’t expecting what I got, and as I was reading Eddie’s journey through the first third of his life I kept laughing and giggling. My poor husband was all like “is it really that funny?” Why, yes. Yes, it is.
This is Eddie’s journey, as told by Eddie. Since the beginning Eddie is trying to not acknowledge fate, however Ms. Fate has other plans. Intertwined in Eddie’s story is Brian’s, Curtis’, Aaron’s, and Trevor’s stories, all told in the same witty, funny, at times a bit sarcastic style. With Paula, ‘Ma’, as the backdrop/puppeteer in this Male Romance Comedy the whole story arc flows seamlessly and flawlessly towards its inevitable, wonderful end.
Eddie and his four loves are the central focus around which most of the story revolves, however I haven’t let you in on some of the other great characters that Mr. Rosen brings forth, what would be the fun in that? And, most importantly, there’s those final, few, delicious chapters. Enjoy!
This is my first book by Rob Rosen and boy am I ever glad I was afforded this opportunity! The comedic timing and delivery flows so smoothly throughout this book that it was hard to put it down and go to sleep, or put it down and do work. I relished this read like a fine piece of Belgian chocolate. So nice and rich and delicious.
The characters are vibrant and alive, like an old Technicolor movie, drawn and developed in exquisite fashion into the tapestry of the story that I was taken back in time to my youth, my college days and 20’s. A time of wonderful discoveries, close friends, fantastic fun, incredible insecurities trying to figure things out. Somehow the innocence and expectancy of those years shines through in this book.
The editing is well done, albeit a couple of typos. Note to editors and beta/proof readers: check on spellcheck, please. In a few places one of the main character’s names: Brian, came through as Brain. Not quite the same thing.
All in all, a solid 4.5 stars and well worth the time. Bravo!
I would like to thank Will Parkinson, Pride Promotions, and Man Love Romance Press, LLC, for providing Attention Is Arbitrary with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
Meet the author:
Rob Rosen (www.therobrosen.com) is the author of the critically acclaimed novels, Sparkle: The Queerest Book You'll Ever Love, the Lambda Literary Award Nominated Divas Las Vegas, which was the winner of the 2010 TLA Gaybies for Best Gay Fiction, Hot Lava, Southern Fried, the Lambda Literary Award Nominated Queerwolf, Vamp, Queens of the Apocalypse, Creature Comfort and the Lambda Literary nominated Fate. His short stories have appeared in more than 200 anthologies. You can find 20 of them in his erotic romance anthology, Good & Hot. He is also the editor of Lust in Time: Erotic Romance Through the Ages, Men of the Manor, Best Gay Erotica 2015 and Best Gay Erotica of the Year, Volume 1.
Where to find the author:
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27832169-fate
Publisher: MLR Press
Cover Artist: Melody Pond
Visit Lisa Arbitrary at Goodreads