Title: Think Outside the Box
Author: Ellen Holliday
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 200 pages
Rating: B List
Blurb: Political radio host Ryan Ryder’s motto is “What I do is none of your business.” He refuses to label himself as liberal, conservative, rich, poor, straight, or gay. Ryan is a great on-air personality, but in daily life he has trouble making connections and feels no attraction to a rising pop star when she comes onto him after a benefit. Reporter Craig Ducey is a fan of Ryan’s who calls Ryan’s radio show to accuse him of being gay. Ryan blows him off on-air, but not before Craig hints at where he’ll be later. Ryan meets him, and their intense one-night stand blows Ryan’s mind.
As their relationship intensifies, Ryan starts to understand why people let society put them in a box. When he finally accepts who he is, he has a big decision to make. He can continue to hide from the truth and risk losing Craig, or learn to think outside the box of his own prejudices, and accept that placing himself into a category may not be the death sentence for individuality he’d once thought.
Review: A solid coming out for you romance with shades of politics and public life.
I liked this story. Liked Ryan and Craig and enjoyed watching their love develop. Things move quickly between them and they are sweet and treat each other well.
We are in Ryan’s head and he’s smart and opinionated and will not keep those opinions to himself. He has a genuine sweetness to him that is appealing. He meets Craig and his whole world flips and he is just gone, crazy in love with him,
Ryan struggled, but it was reasonable and most people don’t choose to change their lives so completely once they’ve reached success in their careers. I was glad that there wasn’t a lot of self hating or homophobia on his part. He didn’t seem as much denying his sexuality as hiding from it for a long time.
Craig is out and proud. He works as a reporter for Out Washington and he does not want to live his life with secrets or shame. He has his own struggles and drama that he’s dealt with by living his truth. Craig is right there with Ryan falling fast and wanting forever together.
I know a lot of people don’t have much sympathy for people who hide their sexual orientation. I don’t believe that I have any right to tell anyone else how to lead their life (barring of course the usual disclaimers here and those who try to bring harm to people).
I’m really uncomfortable with ultimatums. I don’t really think you have the right to tell your lover of four months that they have to come out, and risk their careers, or they won’t see you anymore. I’d think if you could claim to be in love you’d get a little more time before you tried to force them to conform to what you want them to be. Especially when they aren’t conflicted about being with you, they are asking for time to figure it all out and decide how and when.
One aspect that I loved is that the author created Ryan as a complicated, flawed and interesting person – in other words, human. While Ryan discarded some of his philosophy because it no longer worked for him, he stayed true to his beliefs that we are all individuals and deserve to be met as such. There are reasons to mark boxes that have nothing to do with conforming to society’s standards and everything to do with love, acceptance and choice.
Reviewed by Nina