Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Archer and Noah have been friends, of a sort, since high school. Noah wants to be friends with him, despite the fact that Archer is hostile. “Confidence, like art, was a family trait.” Noah doesn’t give up and in fact pushes Archer towards friendship and then towards more. Noah is diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a disease that eats the eyes. A severe case, incurable, leading to permanent and complete blindness. It is not until two years later, at eighteen, that Noah loses his sight completely. Archer is there for him, angry that Noah considered suicide. Archer is there for him, describing what he sees, allowing Noah to touch and map his face (though he hates to be touched) and making sure Noah can be independent.
The book is told in first person by Noah and begins with Archer proposing and Noah giving a vehement NO and running away. Right then I thought, either something is wrong with Archer or I’m not going to like Noah. It was the latter. Noah is blind, yes. He has lost his ability to do the comic book graphic design he had wanted to, yes. But he also is the one to breach Archer’s defenses, when he didn’t want a relationship, and then when he did he burns him with a NO.
He often acts as if Archer doesn’t know his own mind and that hurts Archer. There are quite a few times here that Noah hurts Archer and really, I wanted to shake him. “Then don’t marry me, but come home anyway. This is not one-sided. You dragged me into this relationship. Now here I am. I need you no less now than when I was fifteen and sick with grief and you were the only person in the world who asked if I wanted to hang out. I want to hang out with you, Noah. Forever. Come home.” And Noah says. No.
They do end up getting married but there are issues. The biggest is that Noah is absolutely convinced that Archer doesn’t understand what it is like to be married to a blind man, “…shackled to an albatross.” They end up going on a honeymoon to Amsterdam, another thing that Noah decided he knew best. Archer thought they should start with a small trip but Noah pushed this. And it turns out to be a disaster. Archer is not, in any way, a social person and this trip is so difficult.
The book goes back and forth between their story and the comic book story that Noah is writing about a gay, blind superhero. This wasn’t the best for me. I would have preferred more focus on their relationship than the comic, though as a novel that comic finished would probably be a good one. Here it was distracting.
You can see Noah and Archer’s friendship but the continuous arguing and Noah always believing he knows better, never really listening to Archer even when it concerned Archer’s own feelings, got on my nerves after a while. Noah ends up in a dangerous situation, all alone, and that part seemed extremely real. I can’t even imagine how terrifying it would be, blind, alone, no phone, no idea where you are. Archer had possibly the same fear, since he didn’t know what was happening. It shows the rift between them widening:
“It wasn’t a stunt, Archer. You think I meant to come back alone?”
“I think you meant to put me in my place and prove you didn’t need me.”
I liked the interaction between the two when they weren’t arguing, they tease and talk. Archer describes the world for Noah and right there you can see the care he has. It takes most of the book before Noah starts to get a clue and start to listen to Archer. So, I liked this but didn’t love it.
Cover art by Natasha Snow, showing scenes from Amsterdam, the tulips and the city, as well as Noah in dark glasses and blurred circles. I felt this was a good representation of the story.
ebook, 168 pages
Published May 21st 2018 by NineStar Press