Rating: 2 stars out of 5
Baxter Bryan is the nerdy half of BaxCo, a start-up in Portland’s Silicon Forest creating cutting-edge high-tech toys. He’s also a hermit. When BaxCo sponsors the Portland Rock and Roll Half Marathon, Bryan decides to break out of his comfort zone and do more than listen to the music with a beer in hand. The race has barely started when he bumps into a fit, handsome man, causing sparks to fly. But the long hours needed to make BaxCo a success aren’t the only reason Bryan spends most of his time alone in his apartment.
Cay Nissen runs every day to stay in shape. He would love to run away from his job in a Silicon Forest cube farm, but keeps returning to support his teenaged daughter. His true love is music. Cay writes songs for the band he helped form in high school but doesn’t see any way to turn music into a career. The half marathon seemed like a decent way to pass a Saturday, make his boss happy, and catch a performance of his old band all at the same time. When he meets a man who sparks his interest, the safety of his cubicle isn’t the only part of his life that’s in jeopardy of changing.
I’m going to do something I don’t remember doing before and that’s revising a review. In this case downward. Whem originally wrote this review, I knew there were things that were bothering me about this story. I thought I has mentioned them, sort of and pushed this story away. But the funny thing is this book and its red flags kept bothering me. They popped up at night, during the day to the point I even discussed the elements with another reviewer to see if I was making too much of what this story included so nonchalantly. The consensus was no, I wasn’t.
So back to this review I went and out came the revisions and comments that should have been there to begin with.
One of the things that bothered me? The body issues here. Cay was originally overweight. How much overweight, it’s never said.Now Cay runs, not out of any enjoyment, but as a means to keep in shape. His ex wife is there to make sure he doesn’t “backslide”. That includes making her disapproval known that he’s dating Bryan who is slightly pudgy and who would rather watch the race with a glass of wine than run it. Cay’s reaction to that disapproval? Reassuring her that Baxter must be ok because he was at least running in the marathon. So please don’t be nasty ok? Wow. So many wrong things there, so many red flags.
In my original review, I skirted the issue of domestic violence, a central issue here with the character of Baxter/Bryan. It was plain from all the cues from Baxter’s body language that he had been beaten in the past. And indeed it comes out that it’s the reason he’s been hiding in his home for so many years. A long term abusive relationship that left him deeply depressed and unable to function until his cousin “saved” him. Another problem I had. No mention of therapy, Or the police? Just the cousin intervention. As he stayed in his home for years that was not the correct approach. Is that brought up? Apparently not.
There is also serious flaws within this relationship or within the characters as constructed. Each reader will have to be the judge. Cay either does a completely weird turn about in behavior in one horrifying scene with Bryan or their relationship is on shaky, twisted ground from the start. And spoilers….after intentionally physically threatening a man who has been so physically abused to the point he wants to die (and one you say you love), that same guy then runs back to you, apologizes, buys farm you can all live in together? You say yes no problem. Hell no.
Flag, flag, flag, flag! Doesn’t matter that you’re sad and say you’re sorry too. What’s wrong with this picture? Everything!!!!!\
What was I thinking with my earlier review? Honestly I don’t know. That story started off fine and then took a turn downward. And it’s been bothering me ever since.
So here it is. The revised review. I guess I’m not recommending this story.
Sales Links: Amazon Universal Link: mybook.to/AlwaysForward
Kindle Edition, 84 pages
Published January 1st 2019 by CeeTwo Publications
Original Title Always Forward! Never Straight
Edition Language English