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Fjord Blue Kindle Edition
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If the expression "coming of age" had a spot in the dictionary, the cover of this book would have its pretty picture next to the definition.
The protagonist of the story, Benjamin- Cuban/American/Norwegian- lives such a charmed, privileged life that he constantly engages in activities (some he enjoys, some not so much) to consciously get the attention of his parents who seem to let him get away with everything and anything. I'm blaming the parents here, yes. It took this child to put his life (and a friend's) in danger for his parents to remember they needed to parent.
And when they did, the full force of Thor's hammer fell on Ben's head.
Initially with all the reluctance you can imagine, Benjamin gets shipped (via airplane, mind you) from the sunny jolly land of Miami to the volatile and apparently uneventful (oh the pun I could get away with here) life at his grandparent's farm in Norway.
Although he's not even (heh) remotely happy to be there, this 10-week deal of work and life in his grandparents' farm turns out to be the experience our guy Ben was needing to take the reins of his life in his own hands and make along the way some decisions and discoveries about how he wants to live from then on. The (anti)hero himself describes the whole experience as mind-blowing (his actual words). And it was. It is. And it was glorious to read.
The writing is brilliant. The descriptions are so colorful that they pull you in with such force that you can almost feel the wind and the rain and the sun and the heat wash over you. It's beautiful.
HOWEVER. Oh crap, and trust me I wish I didn't have to be writing this: there were some things that rubbed off the wrong way with me. Details, if you will, but that didn't escape my notice. And it sucks that I have to point it out.
Namely two main things I didn't like: first, the more general one. Ben's voice, while generally honest and authentic, could get very ridiculous. What I mean is- it is PAINFULLY OBVIOUS sometimes that this is a guy's voice being written by a girl/woman. It tries too hard to sound "manly". To be the kind of dudebro voice that you could see in the jock from a parody of a high-school flick. And it wasn't necessary. And it didn't help anything. It just got plain annoying.
Second downside: Ben's parents are a joke. They have been parents for almost 18 years and they have not only one but three kids (Ben's younger siblings are twins) and they could fail with the opposite of flying colors (?) the "Parenting 101" test. They mean so well that they're almost two thirds of the way to Hell (and not the one in Norway). They are a joke. I couldn't take them seriously until almost the very end. it didn't help that at a certain point, when their son is revealed to be gay, the father also reveals that he and his lawfully wedded wife (?) had made a bet about their firstborn sexuality. WHAT. THE. HELL.
Other than that (which, I know, it's plenty), the whole thing runs rather smoothly and coherent and realistic. but yeah.
I've never read anything written by this author so I picked this book based on the description. I'm happy that I was able to read it as I found it to be a beautifully written story.
Benjamin is sent to Norway to work on his grandparents’ farm after some reckless behavior gets him into trouble. He's a young man dealing with his sexuality as no one knows that he is gay. Once he gets settled in and begins working side by side with Even who is employed by Benjamin's grandfather he starts falling into a routine while secretly fantasizing about this gorgeous eye candy. Unbeknownst to Benjamin, Even has his own secrets and demons. The characters are strong and believable. The use of Spanish and Norwegian words in this story line were excellent and it was a well-rounded read.
I found myself laughing and at times crying but most of all I loved the emphasizes on family and even though they aren't always perfect or always accepting, they are truly an important part of our lives. My only gripe is that the cover should be more appealing.