Elisa Rolle's Reviews > Bashed

Bashed by Rick R. Reed
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's review
Jul 02, 09

Read in July, 2009

The tagline of this novel is "A love story", but how can be a love story if one of the lover is killed at the beginning? well, it all depend on what you consider love, and then don't forget that the most famous love stories in the world haven't an happily ever after (Erich Segal was only one of the last...). Ahah, now some of you are thinking, so this novel has not an happily ever after? wrong, and again, it all depend on what you consider happily ever after.

Donald and Mark are happy and in love. They are actually still in the apex of their story, a six months old couple, a love at first sight that led to a sudden life in common. They are talking of the future, they are building a future. There is quite a wide age difference between Donald and Mark, something that Donald briefly considered, at 50 years old he didn't like to play the role of the daddy, but Mark won his every resistance. They would have been probably a very happy couple, but it's not fate to see it. Mark is killing during a gay bashing and Donald is left with his memories. And strange to say, I believe that the fact that they were a quite "new" couple allows Donald to survive; he is in pain, he misses Mark, but he is not thinking to kill himself, something that probably he would have thought if the one to die was his long-term partner. Instead Donald has still a life other than the one he shared with Mark, their relationship was still fresh enough to allow Donald to move on after a right mourning period. And maybe it helps that Mark didn't really leave him, he is still a steady presence in Donald's life, not exactly a ghost, but more the projection of Donald's love for him, an output of Donald's mind who speaks through Mark's image to tell Donald what he has to do.

Life is also helping Donald to move on, a new neighbor, Walter has moved upstair, and Walter is friendly and gay and willing... They have sex, and someone could question the choice of Donald to "come" out from his mourning period so soon, but actually it's not the real Donald, but, ab absurdo, the type of man that in their ill and twisted minds the gay bashers were targeting. Mark and Donald were an ordinary couple, they were exclusive and committed, they were talking of adopting a puppy. All right, they were coming out from a leather club, but they were in a gay friendly neighborhood, and they had just spent a nice night out and were heading home. Now, I'm not saying that, if they were different, the gay bashers would have been some reasons more, absolutely not, I'm saying that, where one of the basher was obviously a criminal and totally crazy, not even for one moment I feel pain or remorse for his wasted life, the other one, Jeremy, is a boy that probably, with the chance to have a different perspective in life, he would have seen the thing in a different way. If he would have been allowed to see Donald and Marc in their everyday life, maybe he wouldn't have been there taking part to the murder of a man.

When Donald looses Mark, for a bit he behaves like the man Jeremy thought he was, a man without moral, a man who changed partner every night and without real strings to life. Jeremy takes out his hate on gay men, but actually his rage comes from his family, from his mother who behaves exactly in that way, considering her son only a burden; and the only person who care for him, his uncle Walter, is gay... now I will let out a quite hazardous theory: since his mother neglects him in favor of her relationship, Jeremy has a special bond with Walter, who is gay; Walter is gay and so he has no women in his life, and little boy Jeremy didn't know about gay relationship, and so he thought uncle Walter was all "his" own property, someone who will never leave as his mother. But when Jeremy realizes that being gay means that his uncle Walter will have relationship with other men, he starts to develop hate for all gay men, since they are all possibile competitors for his uncle Walter's love. And more they are "sexually" active, more they are guilty... Risky theory, isn't it? But I believe it's not all wrong, and it explains also why this book has to be "sexier" than Reed's usual work.

So, coming back to that tagline, "A love story"... there are more than one love story here, Donald and Mark, but also Jeremy and his love for his uncle, Donald and Walter... maybe even Donald and his sister Grace, they are all different type of love, but nevertheless love stories.


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