Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Shy, John Inman

Two men with social anxiety disorder (SAD), a cheating ex, a jerk brother and a an incontinent Chihuahua will have you laughing your head off at the worst possible times.  There's humor, sadness and a prank that doesn't exactly go as planned.

- Review by Cindi

Tom Morgan has social anxiety disorder, also known as SAD (Why couldn't they call it something frivolous and lightly charming, like party pooper paranoia. "I have PPP," I'd tell people.  Doesn't sound too bad.  Sounds kind of perky.)  He is still mourning the loss of his long-term relationship to Jerry (Tom and Jerry.. get it?).  Jerry took off a year earlier and moved in with Stanley, the man he had cheated on Tom with.  Stanley is a jerk.  No. Jerk is much too nice of a word to describe Stanley.  Tom and Jerry somehow manage to maintain a weird friendship after the break-up.  Tom is still in love with Jerry but Jerry has moved on and has no intention of rekindling the old relationship.   When Jerry moved out a year prior he left Tom with half the rent, all the bills and their incontinent Chihuahua, Pedro.  

I guess after five years with me he'd had enough of social anxiety disorder to last a lifetime.  Jerry has never been shy in his life.  Most sluts aren't.  Not that he's a slut.  Well, yes he is.  He cheated on me with Stanley.  That's pretty slutty.

Stanley is planning a birthday party for Jerry and both men insist on Tom going even knowing that Tom's anxiety issues and crowds don't mix.  They are persistent so he finally gives in.  In the days leading up to the party Tom's anxiety gets worse.  Jerry has tried to convince him that it will only be a few people there and that his worries are unfounded.  Tom knows better.  Each time he has gone to their place for a small gathering it has ended up being a large crowd that Tom has no doubt Stanley invited on purpose... just to watch Tom have a panic attack. That's Stanley.  All around nice guy.  Not.

And suddenly there they were, closing in all over again; every symptom of SAD known to man.  This time it started with cramps in the crotch area.  If it wasn't SAD, then either my period was starting or my bladder had just exploded like a water balloon.  I was hoping for the second option since I was all out of feminine napkins and I faint at the sight of blood.

"Stanley's a dick, Jerry.  You're married to a dick.  And he's not a pretty dick, either.  He's a diseased dick." 

Stanley's brother, Frank Wells, has come to town from the family farm in Indiana and he is immediately pawned off on Tom by the jerk Stanley who treats his brother like dirt.  Frank also has SAD only his is even worse than Tom's.  
As I lay there thinking about Frank and once again wondering if he was a cute as Jerry said he was, I also mulled over the possibility that I may have just manifested the first concrete symptoms of OCD.  Well, good.  I hated being a one-trick pony.  Social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive behavior, and the owner of an incontinent Chihuahua.  Now if I could just sprout a couple of zits and contract a stubborn case of gonorrhea, I would have a nicely balanced palette of woe.
After an awkward meeting (and a lot of beer) on the day of Jerry's party, Tom and Frank begin an odd friendship and decide to go to the party together.  This goes exactly as feared and both men end up back at Tom's place after a scene with Stanley.  When they arrive back at Tom's apartment after the party, they jump into a sexual relationship and within 24 hours each man has already decided that they are either in love or very close to falling.  They decide to give a relationship a shot and it is going beautifully until something happens with Frank and Stanley's father back in Indiana. They then cross the country to help him out on his farm.  Tom is a city boy who is terrified of chickens and what do you know?  The family farm has over 900 chickens that Tom will get to know up close and personal. Tom loves Frank so he (reluctantly) jumps in doing whatever he has to do to take the load off of Frank and his father, Joe.  Of course Jerry and Stanley are not done as each man decides to do whatever necessary to ruin what Tom and Frank have together.

Stanley is one of those characters that makes the reader wish that he/she can reach into the book and smack him a few times.  He has zero redeeming qualities and is one of the most cruel and self-absorbed bastards I have ever had the pleasure of reading about. I say pleasure because he is the perfect bad guy.  You hate him but what fun it is to do so. :)  He is cruel and selfish and has no qualms letting everyone know this, even his ill father.  

Jerry is the classic wimp.  He treated Tom poorly in the way he cheated on him and ended their five year relationship but when it comes to Stanley later he takes a step back instead of standing up for what's right.  He then goes on to do things that I probably should not consider funny but they really were.  One of my only complaints about this book (and I have very few) is that I would have liked to have seen more in how the Jerry thing played out later.

Then there's Pedro the dog who had me laughing out loud more than once.  Tom's entire apartment is his bathroom... literally.  Every piece of furniture, shoes, you name it and Pedro used the bathroom on it.  He loves taking walks but not to do his business.  Why do that when he can destroy yet another item of furniture when he walks back inside?  I loved that dog.

Pedro seemed to be as proud as punch about the mess he had made, dancing around the room like he had just won a Tony Award for Best Original Poop.

I adored Frank's father Joe.  He is a proud man who would never ask his son (I refuse to throw Stanley in the "son" category) to do anything on the farm though he knows he is dying.  Instead it takes Frank and Tom figuring things out on their own before he accepts any kind of help.

When the men get to the farm in Indiana, it is a comedy of errors as far as Tom is concerned.  I mentioned him being a city boy and this is proven time and again as he learns farming.  In no time at all he gets kicked in the eye by a pig, stung in the ear by a bumblebee, has his foot sucked on by a leech and attacked and left bloody by a very angry 'mama' chicken as he is trying to remove an egg.  Throw in a massive man-eating hog who is determined to kill him and you can not read this without laughing.  

All is not funny, however.  Joe's health is failing fast and he refuses any type of medical treatment.  Frank and Tom must watch this formerly strong farmer as he deteriorates to nothing before their eyes.  My heart broke a few times reading about Joe.  When Stanley somehow gets wind of his father's bad health, he decides to show up and wait for the man to die.  He's not concerned about his father.  All he cares about is getting his half of the huge farm.  Little does he know but Joe has other plans and he plays a little prank that doesn't quite go as planned.  Giving it away would be too telling.  The way the Stanley thing is resolved is one of those cases where I found myself laughing out loud when I really shouldn't have.  Saying anything more than that will give it away but I found it to be horrible but yet funny as hell.  I'm not sure what that says about me but there you go.

This is one of those books where you will giggle at times and feel sad in others.  You will laugh at things that by all rights should not be considered funny in any way but the author manages to pull off the humor in those situations anyway.

Then there is the insta-love between Tom and Frank.  I'm not a big fan of insta-love normally but the way this was written, I couldn't help but root for these guys.

"... I'm beginning to understand what maybe falling in love is like.  And I don't want to stop understanding it.  And I don't want to fall in love with anyone else, either.  I want to fall in love with you.  All the way.  I already love your body.  I already love your humongous cock.  I love the way you make me feel.  I love the way I think I make you feel.  I love the way you come.  I love the way I come when I am watching you come.  That's love already, isn't it?  I'm already in love with you, aren't I, Tom?"

I have had this book on my Kindle Fire for months.  For some reason I put off reading it.  After reading Loving Hector yesterday I knew I could not jump into it fast enough.  There are others by John Inman that I am eager to jump into but unfortunately, I have to put them off (for now) in order to read others I have committed to.  Soon.  Shy is my third by John Inman and I have to say that I have loved all three (for those interested the first one I read was A Hard Winter Rain).

This is another excellent book by an author who has quickly jumped on my favorites list.  I can't wait to read his others.  Highly recommended for those who are willing to suspend belief and who are not squeamish easily offended.


  1. "... I'm beginning to understand what maybe falling in love is like. And I don't want to stop understanding it. And I don't want to fall in love with anyone else, either. I want to fall in love with you. All the way. I already love your body. I already love your humongous cock. I love the way you make me feel. I love the way I think I make you feel. I love the way you come. I love the way I come when I am watching you come. That's love already, isn't it? I'm already in love with you, aren't I, Tom?"

    I loved the quote. Great review, Cindi. I believe you have found a new favourite :)

    1. Thank you my friend and yes I have found a new fave. As with Loving Hector, I had to leave a lot of the quotes out. Otherwise the review would have been too long. It was a great read.