Posted by gaylistbookreviews
Author: Cardeno C
Narrator: Alexander Collins
Publisher: The Romance Authors Llc
Length: 6 hours 19 minutes
Rating: A List
Blurb: People-pleaser Ben Forman has been in the closet so long he has almost convinced himself he is straight, but his denial train gets derailed when hotshot lawyer Micah Trains walks into his life. Micah is brilliant, funny, driven…and he assumes Ben is gay and starts dating him. Finding himself truly happy for the first time, Ben doesn’t have the willpower to resist Micah’s affection.
When his relationship with Micah heats up, Ben realizes has a problem: his parents won’t tolerate a gay son and self-confident Micah isn’t the type to hide. If Ben wants to maintain his hold on his happiness, he’ll have to decide what’s important and own up to the truth of who he is. The trouble is figuring out just what that truth is.
Review: This book is perfect for creating an audiobook version. Alexander Collins did a wonderful job bringing it to life and establishing the internal and external voices in this story. You are inside Ben Foreman’s mind as he struggles to come to terms with his sexuality and the process, consequences, and rewards of coming out as a gay man. You become a part of the narrative as he battles self hatred, internalized homophobia and the evil voices of all of the homophobic people who spat blatant lies, gross exaggerations, generalizations, derogatives, and curses aimed at homosexuals throughout his life. He had taken all of the garbage inside of himself and it was slowly killing him. He had no joy, no peace, no rest. He is gay and there is nothing that he can ever do or say to make that change. It takes him a while to finally accept that fact. When he meets and falls for Micah Trains it all comes to a head and Ben is forced to accept himself and who he is.
There are moments where I wanted to do what Ben suggests and hit him. But mostly I wanted to hug him, cry with him, and reassure him that he was good and that everything would be alright. The people who needed a serious ass kicking were Ben’s parents. They refused to learn from their mistakes and to accept their children for who they are. It was heartbreaking to see the destruction they caused in their sons with their attitude and hurtful words. Ben worked so hard to keep his family together and was wrecked by his inability to make everyone happy. But this is Cardeno C’s world so there is always hope, redemption, love and a happy ending.
While you don’t have to have read the book Home Again to read this book, I strongly suggest that you do. It is the story of Noah Foreman and Clark Lehman and Ben plays an important role in that book as Noah’s brother and Clark’s best friend throughout high school and college. You begin to understand Ben a little through that story and it definitely helps you to understand his relationships with Clark and Noah in this book. Having that insight into the past makes the relationships deeper and the events between the men more profound in this book.
Micah is great. The perfect man for Ben. He is steady and calm, older and confident, sure in who he is and what he wants. Micah is able to deal with the emotional turmoil that is inside of Ben. He brings peace to Ben’s heart and helps him to accept himself, in part because he completely accepts Ben. Once Ben is honest with Micah he has all of the patience and tenderness that anyone could ask for. I adored that Micah started dating Ben without realizing that Ben wasn’t out. He was so take charge and gently dominant that he just pulled Ben along with him into a relationship and love. I know that sounds bad, but it is actually exactly what Ben needed. Micah never forced Ben to do anything. Ben desperately wanted to find love with a man, but was so terrified of disappointing his parents, of losing his family, of ending up all alone, that love and family with a man were not possible, that he was stuck in a very deep, dark, toxic, terrifying, and suffocating closet. Micah’s assertiveness allowed him to fall into what his heart, and body, desired most. Ben had to walk out of that closet and claim himself, but it was Micah who opened the door and held out his hand to Ben. Being with Micah was worth losing everything else.
This is an emotional journey story with lots of character growth. The Ben you see at the beginning of the story will break your heart. While he struggles to become the man he deserves to be, a man worthy of being Micah’s partner, Clark’s friend, Ben’s brother, you begin to see him slowly realize that he’s always been those things. He just needed to realize it and allow himself to be that man. He has such a big, soft heart. And while he did some stupid things, it was always because he thought it was the right thing. Or because he was afraid. There was never malice in Ben’s heart. The thing that he wanted more than anything else was a loving family. And did he ever get lucky by being born in Cardeno C’s world where he was allowed to grow and learn, find love and happiness, create the happy, loving family that he deserves. The Ben that you see at the end is a fulfillment of all of the promise of that scared, exhausted, wounded man you first met. It is glorious.
Reviewed by Nina
Tags: a haunting past, A List, Acceptance, Alexander Collins, Audiobook, Awesome, Brothers, Cardeno C, Career, Changes, Choices, Closeted, Coming Out, Family, Family Rejection, Finding Yourself, First Love, First Times, Friendship, Grief, Healing, Heartwarming, Hiding Who You Are, Home, Homophobia, Hope, Lies, Loss, Love, love triumphs over all, Lying, M/M, Making a New Life, Making Your Own Family, Patience, romance, Second Chances, Secrets, Series, Sexy, Sweet, The Romance Writers LLC