Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5
“Is everything all right between you two boys?”
I refocused. “Why do you ask?”
“You two were like molecular bonds. The positive energy between you two was atomic. Now I rarely see you two together. What went wrong with my experiment?”
“I guess the atoms split.”
In high school, Harold High is what you would call a nerd. He’s incredibly smart, loves books and poetry, but in the end, he’s mostly invisible in the chaotic world of youth. That is, until he gets to know Mario Ginetti. Mario’s the quarterback for the schools football team. He’s handsome and strong, but lacks in a lot of the departments that Harold excels in.
Perhaps that’s what makes them such an interesting match. Through tutoring sessions, they grow to know each other, and Harold finds himself in love with the out-of-reach star with a life far more tainted than it appears to be on the outside.
The story spans twenty years, through their time in high school, to accidental meetings, to a reunion, and finally to the end. It’s more a story of life and letting go than it is a story of love and holding on.
“But only for now. You see, Harold, these, our high school years, are their glory days.” She pointed to Barbara’s pink bag sitting next to her on the bench. “Their best days. Ever. Life will never be as good for them.” She grinned from ear to ear. “But for us. These are our hell years. We just need to survive them, so we can get the hell out of high school and move on to doing amazing things in the real world.”
I rested my arm on the back of the bench. “But the sun, the sky, the trees, the water, and the soil are all connected. When a leaf falls, it eventually merges with the water and the soil, and they nourish the trees, and the trees take in the sunlight, and are matted against the blue sky.”
Hannah had an answer for everything. “And what happens to everything on a dark, snowy day?”
I thought about it. “Everything disappears, except for the white snow and the grey sky.”
She pointed her finger at me as if I’d answered a question correctly in class. “Right. With each season, the landscape totally changes.”
It’s very hard for me to collect my feelings at this moment in time, with regards to An Infatuation. I’m completely mixed on so many levels and I’m not so sure it’s something that will become clearer over time. I’m thinking this just might be one of those books that leaves me wondering what I just read, and completely unsure of how I feel about it. Maybe that’s just how it is.
When I first requested this story (to review it), I somehow missed that it was a bittersweet endings story. Had I seen that, I may not have read it – but I did, and if conflicted emotions were dollars, I’d be rich.
The thing about this story is that the writing is pretty good for the most part. It has wittiness and some really lovely lines that are memorable. The author uses poetry and stories in a way that made me smile, and overall, it was a quick read.
But – and of course, there’s a but… I’m not so sure about certain things. For one, toward the end, Mario and Harold admit to seeing each other throughout the years in a way that resonated as an odd sort of stalking to me. Sure, Harold had similar actions in high school, but that made sense to me as a silly little love sick thing a child would do… not so much an adult.
Also, the ending didn’t really leave me satisfied. It more or less left me mystified (if you can’t tell). It was nice, but then again not. I really, really just don’t know.
There are also other things in the book that made me pause. For one, an attempted sexual assault occurs, and I was left very angry at the response to it. Sure, maybe it was realistic to the time period, but it still made me very unhappy. Additionally, in terms of Stuart, I don’t know how I’d feel having my husband have this constant fantasy going on that was a past fling. It’d just bother the crap out of me. He seems so cool and at ease with it, but it didn’t sit right with me.
Still, there are truths to aspects of this. Things don’t always work out, life happens and people drift apart for one reason or another. Marriages fail, the people you once knew become strangers, you question your direction in life. Times get hard, really hard. Those are all true. But how I feel about this? Well, I’m left just not knowing. Just another aspect of life, I suppose.
The cover art by Christie Caughie is nice, but perhaps too fun and light for this story. While the models on the cover may resemble main characters in the story, the vibe I get from the cover just doesn’t match the story. So it’s nice, but not right for this.
Expected publication: February 4th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press