Title : Family Man
Publisher : Samhain Publishing (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Contemporary
Length : Novel length (e-book)
Published : March 12, 2013
Sometimes family chooses you.
How does a man get to be forty without knowing whether he’s gay? That’s a question Vince Fierro is almost afraid to answer. If he is gay, it’ll be a problem for his big, fat Italian family. Still, after three failed marriages, he can’t help but wonder if he’s been playing for the wrong team.
There’s only one way to settle it, once and for all—head for Chicago’s Boystown bars, far from anyone who knows him. Naturally, he runs smack into someone from the neighborhood.
Between working two jobs, going to school, taking care of his grandmother, and dealing with his mother’s ongoing substance abuse, Trey Giles has little time for fun, let alone dating someone who swears he’s straight. Yet after one night of dancing cheek-to-cheek to the sultry strains of Coltrane, Trey finds himself wanting to help Vinnie figure things out—no promises, and no sex.
It seems like a simple plan, until their “no-sex” night turns into the best date of their lives and forges a connection that complicates everything.
Warning: This book deals with alcoholism, broken promises, and overbearing little sisters .
Recently in a book group I’m part of we discussed differing views on things in reviews. Book reviews can range from love to hate and everything in between. I think we all have our ways of choosing what to read and whose recs we trust. Some authors are just loved so much they become “must buys” of the masses. I think that was the case with Family Man. Personally, I will buy anything written by Marie Sexton and I know people who feel the same about Heidi Cullinan. Something about their writing resonates with us. So, not long after that discussion, we realized four of us were reading the same book at the same time. We decided to declare it our “Unplanned Group Read,” since we rarely sync like that. We discussed Family Man and found that we had some differing responses to parts of the story. Since we’d all read it, we thought it might be fun to give you four perspectives and ratings instead of just one.
W H I T : I liked this book. Although at times I would have liked more focus on the relationship and less on Trey’s mother’s addiction, I liked the way the we, the reader, saw things from Trey’s POV. He was obviously angry and used to coping with the secret about his mom. Like it almost ruled his life but he was resigned to it. I was right there with him in just wanting it all to stop.
The family was fun and overall I liked the role they played in the book and how they extended their family to Trey. It was slightly unrealistic that Vincent coming out was accepted so easily but it’s what I would want to happen so I can’t really gripe about that.
I thought the love story was romantic and sweet. The lack of sex throughout most of the book surprisingly didn’t bother me since the kissing and rubbing was so hot. Vincent and Trey were patient with each other and let their relationship build at its own pace. Overall Family Man was a sweet love story dealing with some serious issues that I think a lot of people will be able to relate to on some level ~ 4 Stars 3 chilies
B O O K S M I T T E N : I liked it, although not 5 star love. I found it was a bit too uneven. The character of Hank was flat and didn’t seem to serve any real purpose, except for in the scene when a passing comment was made about him that caused Vinnie to doubt whether he could come out to his family and be accepted. Otherwise, his development (or really lack of) was, at times, contradictory. Speaking of contradictory, why would a family known to be very protective of their members, especially the female ones, be okay with a teenage girl being a live-in career for an alcoholic? One who had proven time and again that they had no wish to seek help? I also didn’t like the change in person from 1st to 3rd with each MC’s POV. It pulled me out of the story every time it happened and I don’t understand the reason for it. They also didn’t illustrate the passing of time too well. Every time I thought something happened too fast, I’d go back and check and realise that the wording of, like, the first sentence of a paragraph, or something like that, could refer to time passing.
I actually thought that they depicted Trey’s coping with his alcoholic mother very well. All those thoughts and feelings, I could completely really relate to. The wish for it to just end somehow, anyhow. The bone weary fatigue of having to cope day in day out with not only a drunken mother, but also the unpredictability of living with an alcoholic and the gradual loss of trust and hope that comes with it. I absolutely adored both MC’s. Both had a vulnerability and warmth that was very endearing. I loved Trey’s quiet strength and Vinnie’s need to protect and care for those he loves (even his big, crazy, interfering, loving Italian family). Most of all, I loved Trey and Vinnie together. I loved that their relationship built slowly. Vinnie becomes the family that Trey very much needs. Trey gives the love that Vinnie has been searching for in his life. They fit together and balance each other out beautifully ~ 4 stars 3 chilies
C A R L I : I thought Family Man was an interesting look at the pain and rewards of coming out to family who have no clue. I loved this story for its warm and generous portrayal of family. Vinnie’s was the best. I loved Vinnie and Rachel’s talk “rituals” — good whisky, a smoke and they took on the world while I felt for Trey and Gram as they tried to cope with a situation that was, in fact, impossible to cope with because addiction always claims ancillary victims. What I struggled with was the age difference between Vincent and Trey. As I got deeper into the story, I realized, you can’t put an age-ready date on attraction or experience, so I accept they are a matched set. I also thought the most serious threat to Vinnie’s acceptance by family was his aunt’s “people like that aren’t family” comment, which was brushed away with his mom’s “bigoted bitch” comment. Well, I guess I’m talking sequel now ~ 4 stars 3 chilies
D I A N N E :
I immediately liked Vinnie and found his struggle with his sexuality to be very believable and relatable. Upon first meeting Trey I liked him as well. The fact that Vinnie and Trey already knew each other from the neighborhood was nice and their meeting at the club and subsequent date was quite emotionally powerful and steamy. I liked that they both were not only fine with holding off on sex (even though the physical attraction was more than obvious) and letting their new relationship build slowly, but that they were each relieved to find out that they both preferred taking slow. They were a good match.
Overall the reactions that Trey had to his mother’s alcoholism were handled very well. I found it totally understandable that he would just want an end to it all. At the same time, his character development seemed to stall out a bit to me. He and Vinnie were getting closer – starting to have sex even – yet Trey became very emotionally withdrawn in other ways. It also seemed to not quite ring true that Vinnie and Trey were in a relationship for so long without people who knew them finding out and blabbing. So much of the story revolved around the neighborhood, Vinnie’s close knit family, and everyone knowing everyone else’s business. It seemed a bit unlikely that all the passionate kisses on Trey’s doorsteps and all the visits Vinnie made to Trey’s would go unnoticed. Ultimately they each were able to provide something very important that the other lacked – Trey found support for dealing with his mother’s alcoholism and the burden of dealing with all the fallout from it ~ 4 Stars 3 chilies
“Unplanned Group Read Rating”
So, in the end we all pretty much agreed on THIS one. The ratings all matched up and we all liked the way Trey handled the alcoholism.
It was a good book ! 😀