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Back Where He Started

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  256 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
They say true freedom arrives when all the kids are gone and the dog dies. With his family grown and his husband Zack having decided to become a middle-aged clichA(c) and marry his secretary, Chris Thayer is about to discover that starting life over at 48 is just as complicated, frustrating and thrilling as the first time around. After relocating to the North Carolina beac ...more
Hardcover, 295 pages
Published April 1st 2005 by Alyson Books
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Baba  ♥♥♥ Tyler, Marcus, Archer, Dean, Adrian, Dan & Hunter
4 feel-good stars. Review posted September 5, 2014

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Dear Mom,

Set in Bogue Banks, North Carolina, I enjoyed reading about your beautiful little house on the beach. (view spoiler) and I was glowing with anticipation when I knew you'd be buying a puppy who would keep you on your toes. Your doggie made my heart melt. And let me tell you I was so disappointed when Zack acted like a selfish and petty asshole and dished out some very low blows. Yet
Nick Pageant
Nov 07, 2015 Nick Pageant rated it liked it
Shelves: gay-lit
What a wonderful, troublesome book. I honestly don't know how to review it.

The writing is top-notch. You don't often get to "know" characters this well. The story itself is very enjoyable with a soapy plot that had me laughing, tearing up, and plotting the murder of a character.

I want to really thank Alona for reading this one with me. This book brought up some ugly issues for me that I'm not going to discuss here. It was great to have someone intelligent and sensitive to discuss those issues wi
Ije the Devourer of Books
Bee-you-tea-full!!!! I absolutely adored this story and it is one of my best reads this year.

What happens when the HEA comes to an end 22 years down the line?

Chris always thought he had his HEA with Zack. He had given up so much of his own life and dreams to bring up Zack's kids, support Zack's career and make a nice home for all of them. And it was a nice life with Zack's kids loving Chris and seeing him as a replacement for their mother who had committed suicide, and seeing him as the carer t
Mar 08, 2015 Tina rated it really liked it
Recommended to Tina by: Ije the Devourer of Books
Shelves: romance, hurt-comfort

4,5 stars.

This one was my very first book written by Jay Quinn and I loved it.

I adored Chris and the way he dealt with the break up with his longterm partner Zac. Btw… this Zac guy is really easy to hate, what a prick.

Being nearly 50 and losing the husband, the home… the entire existence… how Chris managed to stay sane… was just wonderful told. Loved his children… or better said his ex-husbands grown-up children who still regard him as their ‘Mom’ and help him sort out his new life.

Back Where
Sep 10, 2010 Calen rated it it was amazing
Beautiful. This novel is simply beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes numerous times and left me with such a positive feeling about love and family. This was the first Jay Quinn novel I read and I instantly ordered the rest of his books. Everything about it is intricately written and completely arresting; I couldn't get enough of it. Quinn filled it with so many lessons about love, relationships, family and the dynamics that make those work. I was so touched by his storylines and the care that ...more
Aug 02, 2016 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm speechless, I have no idea what to write or how to explain this very nasty, yet exhilarating book. It's given me one shocking headache. Just amazing.

Now I know there's some of you out there that just despise cheating, as do I but this is one exception to the rule. I'll read cheating books, but what happened in this is just beyond any words I can dredge up. It's the ULTIMATE betrayal YET, the magic comes afterwards and YES it's worth it.
Mar 05, 2016 Therese rated it really liked it
Shelves: mm-romance

What a talented writer, I really liked his style.

”My head filled with mucus and my eyes stingily gave up a tear apiece, both immediately drying, chilly on my cheeks. I wiped their itchy tracks away”.

Now THAT is how you describe crying;-)!

This story was such a comfort read, with well-written characters, great story (not the usual romance that I read) and lots and lots of feeeelings….
This book was not perfect, but still almost five stars because of the pure reading pleasure (but please autho
Jane Markland
Feb 02, 2013 Jane Markland rated it it was amazing
I found this book by chance in my local (very small) library. What a find. I know absolutely nothing about the author, but will go on to read his other work after this.

I immediately loved Chris, he spoke for everyone who had been dumped and cast aside in such a creul way.

The bond he had with his three adult children, those he had brought up for Zack from babyhood and childhood was beautifully portrayed, in fact the essence of the book, certainly the early chapters. Poor Chris, having Zack cast
Sep 01, 2015 Anke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

I love this book! I love Chris' voice. The whole thing didn't let me go until I finished the last page.

What I wasn't a huge fan of was all that religious stuff, especially near the ending. And as there were no paragraphs between the change of scenes/flashbacks, that made reading a bit difficult.

But that were only some minor niggles. Overall right now I'm just speechless.

Jan 07, 2011 Adam rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite book of all times. I read it at least once a year. There are a few problems with it, yes it is a little melodramatic at times. Yes, the gender lines are blurred. But, the characters grab me and don't let go.
Feb 14, 2015 Chocalicious rated it it was amazing
Just beautiful. Laughed. Cried. Laughed. Cried. Cried. Smiled. Laughed. Cried. Smiled. Smiled. Smiled. :-)
Jul 22, 2008 Kris rated it it was amazing
One emotional rollercoaster. So rich with emotion it's hard to choke back the laughter and the tears.
Shelby P
Aug 16, 2015 Shelby P rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I knew immediately that this was a book I could sink my teeth into and boy did I take a big bite out of this one! I liked how we only got nine chapters. I liked that I didn't quite know who the love interest would be. I loved Schnooner and I loved Steve. I now want a beach house so I can look out at the beach and live a simple life.

This story was totally engaging. The Ronan family felt real to me. The plot was unpredictable as well. My favorite scene was probably the "hurricane" scene on the bea
Jun 16, 2008 Mark rated it liked it
I went back and forth on this one so many times. I liked the main character and he compelled me to keep reading. I really didn't want anything bad to happen to him. It made me uncomfortable though probably b/c of its approach to gender roles which somehow pushed my buttons I don't even know why. Some of it is really sentimental and Lifetime-y and made me cringe. Lots of conflict is set up which mostly gets diffused. And yet, I cried a couple of times. So it definitely worked. Indidentally, it wo ...more
Apr 06, 2008 Will rated it it was ok
I picked this up because the author is queer and lives just up the road and I hoped for a good gay southern novel. I got an okay gay southern novel which, for what it is, is good; but for me was far too sentimental. Basically, this is queer family-saga/romance novel, a good enough 'beach-read,' but not very interesting.
Don Bradshaw
Jul 14, 2010 Don Bradshaw rated it it was amazing
Oct 26, 2014 Benjamin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gay-fiction
Chris Thayer begins his story just after Thanksgiving as he is about to leave the house that he has shared with his 'husband' Zack Rowan for the last twenty two years. Chris moved in with Zack shortly after Zack lost his wife, and has raised his three children into adulthood. But now his on his own again, and about to rebuild his life.

Chris takes us through the next year or more of his new life. well provided for by his ex-husband, he moves to the coast and a new home, finds new work and new fri
May 02, 2010 Bosie rated it liked it
I liked the story, however I did find the "mom" and "baby" stuff too sentimental.
Shirley (Secret Squirrel)
Aug 24, 2014 Shirley (Secret Squirrel) rated it really liked it
There were parts of this book that bothered me but all in all I liked it a lot.
Jan 19, 2011 Rod rated it it was amazing
I laughed, I cried, I smiled, and felt warm all over. Great sentimental book.
Feb 18, 2016 OkayKim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you loved the book, you'll also enjoy the audible version.
Sep 18, 2013 Sam rated it it was amazing
I love books that let you get to know the entire family, not just the two mc's. This was one of those books.
Sadie Forsythe
I generally really enjoyed this. I liked Chris and most of the other characters. I liked the story and the writing. I liked that the characters were older and had a real relationship with their adult children. I liked that the role of mother was shown to be valuable and validating and that a man is shown to be just as capable of care and tender feelings as anyone else.

However, I had some serious complaints that tainted the read for me. First and foremost, I was really disturbed by how many ways
Jul 02, 2016 Neet rated it liked it
I read this book years ago, and decided to read it again.Thing was, I forgot how irritating I found the MC , Chris Thayer. We meet Chris Thayer packing as he has been unceremoniously kicked out after a 22 year relationship with Zack. It started when Chris met Zack Ronan in a dance club.They go to Chris place and promptly fall into bed and have some hot man sex. Chris tells Zack all about his life, living in the projects, not knowing his dad, mom working hard and dying before Chris graduated from ...more
Richard Jespers
Feb 06, 2015 Richard Jespers rated it liked it
Even though this book has been out for over a decade, it still speaks to gay people of today, particularly those seeking to marry. Perhaps it has even led the way.

Forty-eight-year-old Chris Thayer has spent twenty-two years married to a man who comes to the relationship as a widower with three children. Now that man has decided that he is bisexual and is positioned to dump Chris and really marry a real woman.

The novel then proceeds to show how Chris establishes a new life apart from his husband
Jan 13, 2014 Momshell rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, mm
For the writing alone this novel deserves more than 5 stars. The characters are deeply developed and the emotions run free and wild. I found myself silently crying a few times, so immersed in the story that the first time I touched my face surprised with the wetness.
The author introduces us here to Chris, a middle age man that after twenty two years into a partnership finds himself being left behind by his "husband" Zach. He had raised Zack's three kids since childhood and the love and connecti
Jan 31, 2015 Riva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-version
Audiobook Review:

This was a one day listen for me. This is a wonderful story of Chris, a 48 year old man trying to recover his life after his husband of 22 years leaves him for a younger woman. Zach, the ex, is truly a jerk, and freely admits that he "gave" Chris his three children when he brought Chris home after his first wife committed suicide. The saving grace is Chris' adopted children are really wonderful. They all consider Chris their "mom" and love him unconditionally. This is the story
Nov 17, 2007 lissy rated it it was amazing
i didn't realize at first the entire plot of the book. i thought it was just about a lover scored.

it was actually an amazing love story and coming of age story of an older man. Chris get's a divorce type thing- they were nevedr married- and now his families in turmoil, his dog dies, and he must learn to trust love again.
WARNING: chris is gay but if you are the type of person to see past that, it's just a great story.
Jan 02, 2016 Kristina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked the premise of this book. A guy who turned his life inside out for the man he loved and 2 decades later, he's thrown to the side - for a woman!

I enjoyed the main characters journey towards moving forward in his life. The love of the children he inherited from his ex was a great bonus to the overall journey.
Darryl Arnold
Jan 02, 2016 Darryl Arnold rated it it was amazing
Outstanding story. with the majority of gay-theme novels being about coming out, AIDS deaths, and hooking up it was great to read a story about a gay character that was just living their life. About the daily trials and tribulations of an evolving individual. This is one I will re-read.
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