Review of You Don’t Ask We Don’t Tell, Book 1 Basic Training by BL Morticia

Standard

Rating: 2

Cody McCayne and his best friend, Dari, have taken their relationship past friendship and into being sexual partners, a situation that confounds Cody.  Cody refuses to believe he is gay, no matter his feelings toward Dari.  His family, especially his father say its a sin, an abomination towards God and church.  And Cody believes it makes him less than a man.  After some thought, Cody decides that the Army is the way to go.  Although he doesn’t like the Army, he believes it will make a man of him as well as curing him of his deviant ways.

Army Recruiter Sgt. Justin Belvidere sees in Cody a younger version of himself, and takes the young man under his wing and into a special platoon made up of solely gay and lesbian soldiers.  Their goal?  To teach Cody to accept himself, and that being gay does not make him less a man.  Will Cody “man up” and accept their help or will he stay mired in his family’s mindset?

As I read further into this story, I started hoping that it would turn out to be high camp, a witty take on the Army and DADT.  Why?  Because that might explain the hilariously bad dialog, cardboard characters, and a total lack of understanding of anything Army related including military procedures, rules, regulations, and recruiting guidelines.

Let’s start off with the dialog.  The author has the characters speak in terms of “lil”, “bout”,”gon”, “gits”, and “dems” with an obnoxious sprinkling of “coloreds” and “faggots” that is supposed to be a dialect from the South.  Cody and friends here make Lil Abner Yokum and the citizens of Dogpatch USA the very height of eloquence in their use of language.  There are several writers, BA Tortuga comes to mind, who can take colloquialisms and make them work seamlessly within a narrative.  BL Morticia is not one of them.  Here is one less painful example:

“Listen, you need to git yourself a girl, man. Even if it’s one of dem colored gals.”

Then of course, there is the remarkable scene where Sgt. Belvidere tells Cody in the Army Recruiter office “I’m gonna travel down wit’cha, Cody. Deliver you personally with a few other boys that need the guidance just like you, ya’ hear? We gon get a chance to talk on the way down and I need ya’ to tell me the real reason why you’re joinin’, boy. “Cody, yous a good kid. The ASVAB may look dauntin’ but you’ll make it, right? I like you a lot, boy! I see the potential. It’s down there.” He poked Cody’s stomach.”

No, no, no.  Absolutely not.  Nothing of the Army’s Core Values or Personal Ethics, or Standards are referenced here obviously. Irrespective of how you might feel about the Army, it is easy to recognize the absurdity of the scene.   Then it goes from bad right into WTF territory as Cody is taken into Company 9669, whose “purpose wasn’t only to teach the men to accept themselves as gay but also defend other homosexual privates and officers when they were taunted or bashed.”  Including sexually attacking straight “homophobic” soldiers in the barracks. *head desk* That is when they aren’t having sex with each other all over the base, no matter the rank of the soldiers involved.  Obviously fraternization is not an issue here!

Anyway, I will save you further pain and just say Company 9669 teaches Cody about gay sex and being a “man”, he reunites with Dari, and they live happily ever after with the denizens of the gay Company.  It was all I could do to wade through to the finish.  Reading this book has cost me a bottle of Excedrin but if I have saved you from buying this book, it was worth the headache.

Cover:  Artist Carl J. Franklin. Not bad considering the drivel inside.

Available from Rebel Ink Press, LLC.