Rating: 1 star out of 5
Hollywood photographer Jesse Lee Templeton III needs to put his ex boyfriend’s betrayal behind him. So a ”sexcursion” to the Dominican Republic with a friend is just what Jesse feels he needs. But a chance meeting at a bodega with worker Étienne Saldano changes their lives forever. Etie is Jesse’s forever love just as Jesse is the person Etienne has always dreamed of. When Jesse’s vacation comes to an end, neither man wants to part from the other. With immigration laws standing in their way, can Jesse and Etie find their way to happiness and a life together?
Where to start, where to start? Never has such a short book flummoxed me on so many areas. This includes a schizophrenic writing style that alternates between Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest florid and common man/broken spanglish style. Add to that unflattering and unappealing characters, confused plot, immigration fraud, and a story that just stops cold. The whole things just overwhelms me.
But let’s just start with the writing. Here is a sample of one style found within the narrative:
Back in our room we attempted to wean ourselves from the blistering and bliss-filled heat of our passion in the shower, but even the tepid-to-cool water that rained upon us couldn’t put out the fire we ignited over and over with our kissing and soaping and sucking and cleansing and licking and f*&^g. We grew dangerously close to the scorch of unbearable pleasure, but our hearts gave us no choice. Our carnal expressions of love new and immortal were commands from our rapture we gladly obeyed.
Each night we fell asleep in each other’s arms. Each morning we awoke, still embraced. That all too brief time together couldn’t quench the thirst we had for each other. Our moments on the beach; during candlelight dinners when knowing mariachi underscored our telling glances; in each other’s arms, minds, bodies, souls and hearts created a pact of eternalness that we knew not even death could tear apart, though time loomed as a too strict overseer.
And there are pages containing even more florid expressions of love. Then as if someone flicked a switch, we get this:
“She come to my room, baby,” Étie tried to explain as calmly as possible, but he was obviously very upset. “And she drunk. I invite her in. We talk. I go to pee. Come back and she naked! I say to her, ‘What you doing, Francesca?’
I don’t know about Francesca, but I am giggling away. And back and forth we go, from the supposedly profound and florid to the profane and in your face dialog. From run on sentences that last a paragraph to short bursts of “I am so sorry, Junie,” she boohooed softly.” Boohooed?
Here is a more typical example:
Still, the paper-cut battles that lay ahead, the fight against the subtle tyranny of the heterosexual majority, and the trudging through the maze of that pejorative ignorance and polite dispassion, wearied me.
Rare black butterflies are we, our exoticness admired under glass, on the carnival stage, for the love we share. Our love is a love that speaks its name in tongues too foreign to be understood by those well-meaning, condescending heterosexist admirers, yet with a lilt that intrigues them enough to indulge in things they wouldn’t dare try within the civilized civility of their pristine opposite-sex existences. The very thought of a man lusting after his brother’s wife is a universal abhorrence. Fucking your gay brother’s partner? No problem.
Disturbing writing style aside, there is also the fact that Jesse is down in the Dominican Republic visiting The House of John, a brothel specializing in “young male sex workers, known as bugarrones, were readily available for as little as twenty American dollars” The younger the better. Even the author has Jesse acknowledging that
“I was just another john at House of John, the notorious whorehouse gay Americanos frequented for the purpose of sexually exploiting Étie’s fellow countrymen.”
Still, flip flops in the narrative such as these did make this story memorable, although not in a good way. From
Our carnal expressions of love new and immortal were commands from our rapture we gladly obeyed.
“Ahhh!” Étie shrieked, “Ahhh! Ahhh! Ahhh! Papi, Ahhh!”
The cover is lush and gorgeous, so undeserving of the story within. Cover design by Dar Albert Cover photography by Simedrol68, Allen Penton, Lunamarina/Fotolia.com