My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Far superior to the movie, Pretty Woman, it references, Something Different plots the journey of Michael Maguire as he navigates his way out of the constrictive, boring life he has made for himself for years, searching for something to make him feel alive again. Temptation and perhaps his salvation pops up in the form of rent boy James Campbell, who needs saving himself.
I loved this book. It is the first I have read by S. A. Reid but won’t be the last. The author makes you feel how suffocated Michael is by his life, unhappy and repressed in all avenues, work and family. But the characters are certainly not cardboard but fully fleshed out and breathing. Michael’s wife, Frannie, cold, self involved and materialistic could have been a one-dimentional villain but instead you understand, as does Michael, the reasons behind her actions and her words. And by the end of the book, she is likable.
James Campbell is another character who could have become cliched in other hands. But from the beginning, I loved James. He’s snarky, vulnerable, prickly, kind and aware of karma. Each character reveals layers upon layers as the story unfolds. As Michael and James start to score small and then larger victories for each other and themselves, you just want to cheer along with them until you are on your feet at the end of the book, shouting “Bravo, Bravo”. And its for Michael, James and S. A. Reid for delivering such a total delight of a book into your hands.
S. A. Reid’s Blurb for Something Different:
Tired of his life’s endless grind, family man Michael Maguire allows himself one night of deviation. Desperate for something different, he seeks a prostitute in notorious Brixton Park. But Michael, searching for a girl out of PRETTY WOMAN, instead finds blue-eyed, beautiful James Campbell. Tempted and stirred in ways he never imagined, Michael embarks on a sexual adventure with a rent boy from London’s infamous Bethnal Green. And what begins as a purely sexual exchange gradually transforms into something else, as James finds himself in desperate circumstances and Michael is moved to help. Drawn increasingly to James, Michael finds himself facing up to the iniquities in his daily life. And finally he must deal with a horror that threatens to explode Michael’s safe, conventional existence
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