- File Size: 1991 KB
- Print Length: 284 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Dreamspinner Press; 1 edition (January 18, 2016)
- Publication Date: January 18, 2016
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01A7VAIRQ
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #167,079 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Digital List Price:||$6.99|
|Print List Price:||$16.99|
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The Imperfection of Swans Kindle Edition
|Length: 284 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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Top Customer Reviews
Kevin Bivanti is 38, and in spite of his success as an advertising executive, he still clings to a dream he’s had since childhood: to open a bridal salon. (OK, no identity crisis here, that’s pretty gay.) Casper James is 33, and he has a dream as well: as the head pastry chef for a glamorous hotel restaurant, he wants to run his own patisserie, specifically to create the most beautiful and delicious wedding cakes ever. (Whoa, that’s pretty gay, too. Already I love these boys.) The inevitability of their getting together to restore a South End brownstone as a shared place of business seems like kismet, doesn’t it?
I like that Kevin and Casper are both small, slender guys (5 foot seven). I like that they’re in their thirties, so they’re actually men, not boys pretending to be men, as is true in so much m/m fiction. I love that Kevin was raised by two moms and has a massive, supportive Italian Boston family around him, which includes other gay couples. I also appreciate that Casper’s conservative, evangelical family in Colorado has not rejected him, but still don’t quite “get” him and his lifestyle. He yearns for a more supportive family, but doesn’t hate his family.
Another facet of this book that breaks the m/m rules is that both Kevin and Casper are in sort of quasi-relationships. Casper is tired of hook-ups, but seems to be stuck on repeat with Brent, a guy he doesn’t really like. He has needs, you know? Totally believable. Kevin is divorced from his husband Scott, who cheated on him, and yet falls back into a relationship with him because, well, his ex is dreamy and he’s THERE. Also believable.
Casper is the struggling pastry chef and Kevin is a highly-paid corporate suit. Kevin has a chic modern apartment, and Casper shares a walk-up with a group of crazy-making music school students. Yet Casper, oddly enough, is the strong one, even if he doesn’t know it. Casper knows his own mind, is confident in his gut instincts, and believes (to a point) in Fate.
Kevin, on the other hand, for all his outward appearance of success, is a mess. He has been fighting demons since middle-school, and in spite of the loving family (because of, perhaps) and all their support of his dream, he is locked into a cycle of self-deception that could become self-destruction.
For a romance story, the trope of the walking wounded is pretty harrowing in this one. Anorexia/bulimia is not a particularly cozy topic, and yet Witt unveils it in such a way as to make the reader understand how it fits into our competitive, success-driven culture, and how even in the happiest of families it can cause heartbreak and misery. “To dream the impossible dream” may be aspirational, but it can also lead to anxiety and despair. Casper and Kevin, are both aware of how they measure up in the face of gayworld’s standards of fitness and beauty. The difference is that Casper shrugs it off, and Kevin lets it become a prison.
I had trouble warming up to Kevin, right up to the end of the book. Even his big gay family didn’t help. They saw what they wanted to see, but they clearly didn’t really see Kevin clearly. It was Casper I loved. It was through Casper’s understanding of Kevin that I finally relented. He taught me to appreciate Kevin. Kevin’s struggle is our struggle. Casper’s strength is our strength. Witt makes us work for our satisfaction in “The Imperfection of Swans.” And that’s OK. That’s what makes it new in the face of all those tropes.
The subject matter surprised me. It was hinted at in the initial paragraphs, we are given clues in Kevin's behavior. My first thought was the the author would gloss over the fact that Kevin was bulimic or anorexic, depending on your point of view and the definition of each that you subscribe to. But, no, it wasn't just alluded to. It was described, in his behavior, the effects on his health, and on his relationships.
I think most people. when asked, would say that eating disorders are primarily, if not wholly, a 'female issue'. We somehow relegate the problem to anxious teenage girls or nervous young women on the cusp of adulthood. These are the ones who seem, to society, to be the most caught up in their appearance, or are concerned about their futures and so seek control of their lives by seeking to control their weight. This story was so very important, to make us realize that this is an issue that is age- and gender-less.
The story was told with such compassion, giving us enough detail to make it realistic without making it gratuitous. I truly felt Kevin's physical discomfort, his anxiety when he was stressed, the need to get to the bathroom and purge before any of the calories could adhere physically.
Through all that, we see Kevin and Casper build their business and develop their relationship. The author shows us how the effects of the illness interfered with Kevin's interpersonal relationships. We were shown, in gorgeous, painful detail, how Kevin's family felt when confronted with his condition, and the fact that most of them had no idea.
This was a lovely story, about love and doubt and hope and how those things are so often knotted up together, in one imperfect life. And, if you're very lucky, two imperfect lives entwined. If I weren't already a fan of Brandon Witt's, I would be now. I highly recommend "The Imperfection of Swans".
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
This review is based on the Audiobook version of The Imperfection of Swans.Read more
This book was one of those books. I started listening to it on audio on a late Sunday night....and stayed up way too late continuing to listen to it.Read more
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