This is pretty much the M/M romance equivalent to cotton candy--sweet, fluffy, enjoyable, but almost entirely insubstantial. If I were to rate this bo...moreThis is pretty much the M/M romance equivalent to cotton candy--sweet, fluffy, enjoyable, but almost entirely insubstantial. If I were to rate this book on pure enjoyment alone, it would be a five star novel. Once I look at it with a more objective eye, though, it's more than a little flawed.
The idea of a single gay father was what drew me to read this in the first place. All the more so because Rue is described as something of a loveable tramp--a bit slutty, maybe a little selfish, definitely bad at relationships, but well meaning in his heart. Unfortunately this is the part of the novel that is the least satisfying in terms of payoff. Upon taking his newborn daughter, Alice, into his care, Rue magically transforms into the perfect father. He's as nervous as any new parent, sure, but he's taken the classes and made lists and plans and within mere days he's figured out all of Alice's tricks and quirks. He loves her unreservedly and makes no mistakes where she's concerned. In fact, other than the problem of finding daycare for her, we don't get any sense at all that single parenthood is a burden or a challenge for Rue, period.
And that is my one complaint for this book, that Alice is not like a real baby, but instead is a plot point--and kind of a weak on at that. With that negativity out of the way, let's move on to what I did like about One Small Thing.
As Rue becomes desperate to find someone to watch his baby daughter while he attends cosmetology school, we meet his next door neighbor, Erik. Erik is an extreme introvert with anxiety issues. He's a science fiction author by trade. His books aren't selling as well as he'd like, and so he agrees to watch Alice during the day for some extra cash. Erik has no experience with babies, but like Rue, he bonds with her after only a brief rough patch.
As the story moves forward we get to the romance part of this romance, which is really very sweet. Prior to meeting Rue, Erik has never experienced real attraction. He's not just a virgin--he's a virgin with zero understanding of his own sexuality. While I found that a bit hard to buy, it did set us up for the sweetness of his self discovery through his connection to Rue. The two are adorably awkward and completely genuine. The best parts are when Rue and Erik realize that they're becoming a family, blending their lives without even realizing they're doing it.
While this book does suffer from a lot of the common pitfalls of contemporary romance--misunderstandings, pointless lack of communication, almost love triangles, and break-ups...well, it's all mostly forgivable because the characters are so endearing. This is not a book to provoke thought or even toy with your feelings, but it is very happy and that counts for a lot. (less)
I'm not sure if this is the most awful book ever or the best thing in my life right now. It might be both. It's probably both. I'm mad that it is emot...moreI'm not sure if this is the most awful book ever or the best thing in my life right now. It might be both. It's probably both. I'm mad that it is emotionally resonate and I'm mad that it made me cry on purpose. I'm really annoyed that the writing is pretentious and the characters are not believable as people, and yet somehow it all felt very real. This book sucks and this book is awesome. I don't know how else to describe it. (less)