- File Size: 1559 KB
- Print Length: 330 pages
- Publisher: Dreamspinner Press; 1 edition (September 18, 2015)
- Publication Date: September 18, 2015
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B015L5VMDM
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,082,718 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Other Side of the Line Kindle Edition
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They go through so much hate together when they were growing up to people thinking their relationship was not right at all. But they pushed through all of it and just wow!!!
This book really brings to light how ignorant some people were back than and even now, also how hateful some people can be of things they just do not understand.
You start of with them reminiscing with their children and their family on how they started and I have to tell you I could not put this book down once I started.
I want to leave this review with this book was beautiful, heartbreaking at points and painful but also so very sweet!
All together I really loved this book!
I would definitely recommend this book!
I received this book free in exchange for an honest review from Inked Rainbow Reads.
2) The writing style and the characters pulled me in. I was connected to this book and its people in a way I rarely am but always hope for. Hal and Caleb came alive for me and I was emotionally invested in their well being. They had fascinating lives and interesting challenges facing them. I loved that some obstacles had to be overcome alone before they could deal with the other ones together.
3) A lovely, realistic, retrospective exploration of the relationship between two gay men. Caleb and Hal met as kids in the 1960s, and took a long time to figure out that they were each the answer to the other's searches. Now settled into old age, with foster kids and grandchildren and family around them, the men look back at the years and events that affected them, built them up, pushed them apart, and finally brought them together. We see the early days in Charleston, when the black kid in a newly-desegregated white school, and the white Northern kid who dared to name Sherman as a Civil War hero to a Southern teacher, are bonded as outsiders. We see the impacts of civil rights and gay rights and the Vietnam war on their lives and families. The men circle each other, best friends, yearning for something else but unable to quite make it happen. Caleb has a loving, but not gay-tolerant, family and Hal an abusive bigoted father. Events push them their separate ways, but they reconnect, again and again, until love wins. The most potentially dark and angsty moments are not the ones dwelled upon, and the result is a warm, smoothly-flowing story of life and love through half a century of time.
4) Friends to lovers - friendship being most important. Addressed both homophobia and racism in the 70s. Two lovely main characters well drawn and distinct from each other. Good sub characters. 70s & 80s US - contrast between small town & NY. Well written. Interesting structural approach to,d in reflection from contemporary perspective. Only problem smallish chunks of time reduced flow. Once or twice I felt I had missed bits of their story I wanted to hear about after they got together- how they got their children etc.
This was a touching story, reflected in the title, about having to deal with the other side of multiple lines - gay, racial, gender, political, moral, familial, being outsiders - and the two MCs (Hal and Caleb) found themselves both together and on opposite sides of those lines, but still building a lasting relationship around it. As such, this inspired many thoughts, thus resulting in one of my longer reviews.
Marguerite Labbe is a good storyteller. One way I know is that her story engaged me, made me think, moved me, made me cry in places, and stayed with me after I finished. It was beautifully crafted in its descriptions painting the scenes, portraying the people and setting the action. I liked seeing a relationship evolve over a longer period of time than most m/m romances. It showed what a relationship is about - working out the seemingly little but very real things in life.
As a bonus, the romance was set against a backdrop of the 60s and 70s with its political and social, particularly racial and gay, issues and struggles. I enjoyed the snatches of key events that were pretty much as I remember them - the culture of the times, the prejudicial slights, the Kennedy assassination, Vietnam War, PTSD, civil and gay rights, disco. And it worked that the story, told in third person, switched between the two MCs' POV. Labbe captured fairly well the voice of a ten-year-old boy, then adolescent, YA, NA, and then jumping to senior. Initially, I was thinking the MCs were a lot more introspective, insightful, even wise, and in particular, talked a lot more about their "feelings" than most guys; but then on second thought, I thought about my close friends and I guess we can go on a bit at times, too.
I also know this was good in that it led me to want so much more, particularly in two main ways. The HEA at the beginning, and wanting it to dig a bit deeper in several ways. I'm not spoiling anything since the first chapter started with the two MCs together, then flashing back 60 and 50 years before. I know it's an author's choice, but as a result for me, I didn't lean in as much. It took away some of the tension (and fun) about how the relationship would develop and turn out. But ultimately in the last half of the book I was drawn in by the sentimentality and the realistic feelings, actions, and interactions of the MCs that were psychologically true based on their experiences.
As for digging deeper … To tell the truth, I would have given this a lower rating if I didn't relate in so many ways - an interracial gay couple, and growing up in the South, in fact at the exact same age as the MCs. Because of that experience, I felt Labbe skipped over rather than digging deeper into the racial, gay, coming out, sexual and relationship struggles. It was a nice story for those who may not have personally experienced that, but it could have used just one more step to fully capture it.
Indeed it was nice that this was not just about the romance, but I would have preferred these issues to have been more prominent and not taken such a back seat. That showed through such things as the severe discrimination and treatment of racial differences and gays being relatively lightly dealt with compared to what I've experienced.
Except for a few racy sex scenes later on, it was pretty innocent. Whether one is straight or gay, even for the 60's, it didn't really reflect what adolescent boys think and do in regard to sex (with just themselves, as well as with others). I actually felt cheated on witnessing a key part of the development of a person's gay identity, in that the struggles with oneself and society were not shown enough. We see just a little of Hal's, but only the before and after of Caleb's process of his realizing and "admit[ting] he was attracted to men, not women."
As for the sex overall, for those interested, it was pretty hot, intimate, romantic and soft. But again just a little bit extra would have made it more realistically masculine. The nice parts were the MCs' first kiss and sexual experience, and later lovemaking; but again, their first time making love was skipped over and we get just the before and long after. And NYC in the 70's was also glossed over, with no hint to all that Hal might have gotten himself into there, as I think would be true to his character at that time in NYC.
All in all, it was good enough to want more, and also good enough to move me, care for the two MCs, and make me happy for their HEA.
[Thanks to the author and Goodreads' Don't Buy My Love program for a free copy in exchange for an honest review]
Most recent customer reviews
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