Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
From the very first sentence, I was laughing at the way the authors poked fun at pretty much every stereotype that exists about hipsters. And there were probably an awful lot I missed too, because in my neck of the woods – Southwest Florida – we aren’t exactly on the cutting edge of anything, so I’m not exactly current with hipster culture.
Jo is a Chinese-American who wears a man bun, is an edgy dresser who spends a lot on shoes, rides a bicycle, lives in his parent’s basement, and works part time writing (I forget what, but I’m sure it was ironic). He is bisexual, but has only dated and had sex with girls in the past, having never found a man that he thought was worth the extra effort. His best friend, Mr. B, really is Jo’s ideal man, but Mr. B has a serious long term boyfriend and Jo doesn’t poach, though he’s not above a little fantasizing…
Until Mr. A breaks up with Mr. B.
B is the original lumbersexual. He’s a big, blond, bear of a man. He makes furniture – upcycled, of course – has a full beard, lives in a converted train car in the woods. But he’s also sweet, cheery, an absolute teddy bear, and he’s been crushing on Jo for a long time but had no idea that Jo is not entirely straight. When Mr. A breaks up with him after a 5 years relationship, he is not quite devastated – after all, he saw this coming months before it happened – but his self esteem definitely took a hit. He also quit his job making furniture for the shop Mr. A owned, knowing it would be too awkward to remain there. Jo is the perfect friend to invite over for some drunken commiserating – over home brewed peach brandy naturally – and while Mr. B rants about everything that was wrong with his relationship with Mr. A, and with him, he and Jo come up with a new life plan.
They are going to be partners in a business making home made jam, with booze, and sell it at farmer’s markets.
But they need to get some seed money to get the venture going. And that is where all the drunken rambling and joking come together in Mr. B deciding to market himself as the “Lumbersexual Experience”, complete with pipe smoking lessons and wood chopping exercises in his rustic refurbished train car, AKA hipster brothel. As he says, “I’m single, I’m open-minded…Sharing economy, right? Someone lacks sex and I have a nice body.”
I love it when an author can make something so ridiculous work!
Unfortunately, those were the best parts of the book. Although the comedy didn’t disappear, once they started to have sex – and that’s a really big part of the book – it was as if the book was trying to be a typical contemporary romance instead. So we have two men who don’t speak their minds, make assumptions which lead to misunderstandings, which delays the inevitable moment when they finally get together. I wish there had been fewer sex scenes, and more mockery of the hipster culture that made the opening chapters so good.
Despite that, it was a fun, quick, read, Mr. B was adorable, and Jo was a great foil to him.
Cover art by Natasha Snow was a great lumbersexual, although I pictured Mr. B with a cute, open grin instead of the self satisfied smirk seen on this model.
Kindle Edition, 162 pages
Published January 24th 2017 by Acerbi & Villani ltd (first published January 22nd 2017)
Original TitleHipster Brothel