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Where Do I Start? (Why You? #1)
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Contemporary Romance Discussions > Where Do I Start? by Chase Taylor Hackett

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Ulysses Dietz | 1673 comments Where Do I Start?
By Chase Taylor Hackett
By Lyrical Press, Kensington Publishing Corp., 2017
Five stars

I do speak twenty-something. The problem is, I speak twenty-something from the 1970s. The dialect has changed rather a lot in the last 40 years. I could neither speak nor write this way today, and it made me quite envious. I do, however, understand the language, and it made me laugh.

I loved every minute of this book, although I was a little worried at first. Chase Taylor Hackett (real? pseudonym? We’ll never know) is a very good writer. He has a light touch and a sparkling sense of humor that keeps this romance moving quickly while at the same time hitting hard on those things that make us feel deep in our hearts. He is literate (there’s even a grammar joke that plays a rather pivotal role, and it made me want to cheer) and he manages to dance around cultural stereotypes with surprising delicacy.

Fletcher Andrews and Roger Prescott have a history. An unhappy history. Fletch is a self-made man, after a fashion, and is one of those gilded youths whom everyone wants to be or be with. He is, however, both less and more than he appears. Roger Prescott, on the other hand, is exactly what he seems to be in every way. He is a reluctant lawyer and a passionate violinist. He is an uber-WASP, romantic, and shy and wants only to find his happiness and settle down. Fletch once appeared to be the unlikely answer to Roger’s impossible dream.

Well, that didn’t go so well.

There is a lot that is familiar from other gay romances in this book. This genre is, after all, dependent on tropes that define it as a literary form, but can, in clumsy hands, limit its potential. Hackett has the hands of a virtuoso, and thus takes this trope-filled formula into fresh and endearing places.

At the core of this tale is an issue central to all human relationships, but particularly potent for gay men since time immemorial (i.e. ever since we were allowed to imagine ourselves as valid humans who deserved love): fidelity and monogamy. Having survived with one man at my side for over 42 years, I have some perspective on this, and of course we each bring our own experience to every book we read.

Fletch doesn’t believe in love or in relationships or in promises. Roger believes in all three to the very core of his adorable nerdy being. Each of these young men has their reasons, and, truth be told, neither of them is wrong. Monogamy is, as a certain part of the gay community will tell you loudly and at every possible opportunity, unnatural and impossible. Another part of that same community will remind you patiently that, with humans, nothing is natural anymore. The idea of fidelity and monogamy is a cultural construct, and it has been constructed for a reason.

Some people are naturally monogamous (genetic, cultural, who cares?); others are not. The genius of the human mind is the ability to adapt to circumstances. However, all things being equal, all things are never equal. The human mind is a bizarrely complex thing and is consistent only in its constant failure to function in a logical way. This is the dilemma that forms the central barrier in “Where Do I Start?”

Dan Savage would hate this book. I, therefore, shall take the other part, and declare my love for it. The good thing about the world of gay culture is that it offers plenty of nourishment for differing points of view, unlike, say, Hollywood.

I’ve already bought the second book by Chase Taylor Hackett, because this first book made me a promise. We’ll see if Hackett can be faithful to that promise.

message 2: by Randy (new)

Randy | 2 comments Ulysses wrote: "Where Do I Start?
By Chase Taylor Hackett
By Lyrical Press, Kensington Publishing Corp., 2017
Five stars

I do speak twenty-something. The problem is, I speak twenty-something from the 1970s. The d..."

Thanks Ulysses. I wanted you to know that I always read your reviews and put many of the books on my TBR list. I always appreciate your perspective. So thanks again. As a side note, I don't know that Dan would hate it, I think it's more that he doesn't think monogamy is right for everyone, not that it's not the right thing for no one.

This book is currently only $.99 for the kindle version right now for those who might be interested. I realize this probably belongs in free books and sales events, but since this review is current I thought people might appreciate knowing they could get it cheap right now.

Ulysses Dietz | 1673 comments I was being facetious...a bit. I did have the impression that Dan is pretty anti-monogamy from what I've read. Maybe I've missed something

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