- Review by K.M.
The story starts in present day where the protagonists Joe & Casey come across Austin, a runaway kid on the side of the road on a cold winter night. They offer Austin food, warmth and most importantly a safe place to stay for the night. As Austin gets settled in the sidecar of Joe’s motorcycle, the reader learns that twenty five years ago they were in a very similar situation, where Casey was the runaway and Joe was the one offering safety. On the drive back home, Casey reminisces about their last twenty five years together. How they started out, the ups and downs of their journey together.
Casey is kicked out of his home by his parents when they discovered him making out with a teammate from his high school basketball team. It takes him two months to hitchhike his way to Foresthill and he grows up pretty quick in those two months. He is skeptical of Joe’s kindness at first but learns to trust him eventually. He never made a secret of his attraction and feelings towards Joe. He is determined to make Joe his and is willing to bide his time. Casey’s resilience is what appealed the most to me. He never lost the ability to hope, even after everything he went through.
Joe is a male nurse (a rarity in the nineties) who believes in doing good work and treating people with kindness and decency. When he brings a sixteen year old Casey home, his intention is to get Casey cleaned up, fed, let him rest and then turn him over to social services in the morning. Some events derail his plan and Casey persuades Joe to let him stay. You can see Joe’s feelings toward Casey changing as the book progresses. Joe is determined to not take advantage of Casey’s vulnerability even after Casey’s multiple attempts at seducing Joe. In fact it takes something drastic for Joe to realize what Casey has come to mean to him. I really admire the fact that Joe strived to do right by Casey and the other “strays” he took in. This would have been a totally different review if Joe had given in and started a romantic relationship with Casey when he was younger. Joe reminds me a little of Deacon Winters from Keeping Promise Rock, a favorite of mine by Amy Lane.
Amy Lane’s writing style is fluid and easy to follow. Each chapter was a song title which I thought was pretty nice and unique. She manages to touch on important issues that were just coming to light in the nineties, issues like AIDS and babies addicted to drugs before birth, without making the book too intense. You understand the gravity of the issue without losing the focus of the story.
All in all this was an enjoyable read and I’d recommend it to readers who want a good book which is not too intense and not too blithe.
This book was provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange for a fair and honest review.