Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Book Review: When You Don't See Me

When You Don’t See Me by Timothy James Beck
Gay Book Reviews/Fiction
TITLE: When You Don't See Me AUTHOR: Timothy James Beck
ISBN: 978-0-7582-1686-1 PUBLISHER: Kensington Books

For nineteen years, he's been "the one who disappears" to his disapproving, Midwestern family. And now in New York City, a metropolis of anonymity built on not making eye contact, he feels right at home. Walking the streets of the Village, sneaking into dive bars, cleaning apartments, and trying to co-exist in a cramped apartment with his three roommates, Nick's trying to find his way without doing anything to put his wounded heart at risk, all the while wondering, "Does anything last?"

In this novel, New York City is as much a character as Nick Dunhill. At times, Nick is very mature, but then, he shows how young and immature he is. I wanted to slap him, when he did something stupid, but then, I realized that I had been sucked into Beck's world and that the characters were so well-developed they felt like real people ~ friends. Even the minor characters become real and feel like they can walk off the page.

Since the novel is written in first person from Nick's point of view, it took me a few chapters to realize that not everything with his family and friends was what they appeared. I really enjoyed the insight into how the family and friends felt and thought about Nick in the letters from them to him slipped in between the chapters. Without these letters, the reader wouldn't get these glimpses into the other character's heads and hearts about him.

This novel follows Nick through several ups and downs, such as dealing with losing someone on September 11th, losing his job, dropping out of school, moving into his own apartment, finding out his roommate works in a fetish shop, and so much more. I laughed out loud, cried, and wanted to strangle Kendra, Nick, Fred, and several of the other characters. I wanted to hug them to me, during a bad time, or shake my head at a stupid decision they made. They were so real that I didn't want the book to end.

I loved to watch Nick grow and mature with each event in his life. This author has gained a fan, and I look forward to the next novel. I highly recommend this book and this author to everyone.

Review by Fred Towers

Reprinted from Rainbow Reviews

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