Title : Memorizing You
Author : Dan Skinner
Publisher : Cerberus Inc
Purchase links : Amazon
Genre : M/M, Contemporary
Length : 292 pages (e-book)
Published : July 9, 2013
Rating : ★★★★★
Two high school boys from different walks of life: Ryan, a handsome athlete, and David, an average joe from a blue collar family, discover their desires, stealing their kisses under the cover of an old oak at night. Their love begins a secret life, hidden from their families, friends, and classmates. As their passion grows, so does the danger of their discovery. Their only hope is to create a separate world where every kiss is a treasure and every moment… memorable.
First love. Secret love. Unforgettable love.
I needed some time before I tackled this review. After finishing the book yesterday I cried, I bitched to my friends, and I cried some more. Why? Why would someone write such a heartbreakingly beautiful story? But 24 hours on I am over my tears and tantrums…. okay, I still tear up when I think about these guys… but now, I am able to look back and see the book for the incredible reading experience that it was.
As a rule I prefer to not read coming out / coming of age stories – they are my Achilles heel. I can “happily” read the most brutal prison or slave story, Listening to Dust and Dark Horse had me in tears as well – apparently I can deal with all kinds of heartache so long as the MC’s are adults. But kids coming out to their friends and family and the potential heartbreak that entails? That kills me.
I, as a reader, need my “Faye guaranteed HEA” – so halfway through Memorizing You I messaged a friend who had finished the book, begging for him to tell me how it ended. I also read the back page before going on to finish the book (don’t judge me :-P). Anyway, the reason I am telling you this is because I don’t want my tears and tantrums to put anyone off reading it – for those (like me) that need a HEA; I can’t promise you that. What I can say is that the ending, whilst definitely not a traditional HEA, is hopeful and powerful and the book is worth every tear. Re the tantrums? Well you have to ask Whit and Andy 🙂
During the story there is a massive event which I cannot spoil, so will focus the review more on the characters than a recap of how the story unfolds. The story is told through David’s POV and runs from his childhood, where he discovers he likes boys, up to current times when he is in his late 50’s. Whilst he is quite young when he knows he is gay, it is a long time before he gets to actually be himself. He tries to be who he thinks he should be – goes the whole girlfriend route, thinking this is what his parents want and expect but when push comes to shove, of course, he cannot go through with it, as upsetting as it is for him and his girlfriend. I have to say that his parents are just wonderful – everything you want, and more!
Running is David’s escape – well, that and watching the footballing eye candy 🙂 It is these 2 actions that bring him to the attention of Ryan, and then a fortuitous coincidence has them meeting and they go on to become firm friends, and, more. Oh, so much more. Later on David and Ryan are luckily enough to have a group of friends that they can totally relax around – hold hands, kiss, acknowledge that they are boyfriends – they could just be.
Ryan is a ray of sunshine. How somebody so beautiful could come from such a dysfunctional family is amazing. His “how I met your mother” scenario is just so sad. His father is a class one bastard. That awful kind of parent that wants his child to be what he was unable to be – to live his dream, and not care at all what the child may or may not want for their own life. The mother is ineffectual rather than bad, per se, and I guess that in itself is bad. When the father realises that there may be something going on between the boys and sets about to keep them apart the mother finally steps up, and I warmed to her somewhat. But not completely.
That is probably all I can say, really. I would like to touch on the writing skill of Dan Skinner though, which is wonderful. He manages to transport you into the lives of David and Ryan without going overboard with overdescriptive flowery text – and he has come up with some of the most beautiful lines, ones which will devastate you 😛 , one of which I have to share with you :
“… sometimes I feel like I’m caught in your gravity. And no matter where I am, anywhere in the world, if I wrote ‘I love you’ on a note, and made a paper airplane, and threw it into the breeze…. it would still find you. My words couldn’t escape you, any more than I can.”
Regarding my rating – I spent so long weighing up how many stars to give this book – I was left feeling like the ending was a cop-out on one hand; but really powerful, on the other. Ultimately it left me feeling short-changed somehow. I wanted more – BUT for a book to have such an intense reaction – it really can only be KAPOW’ed. Right? If you like gritty, realistic, angst free writing – that is simple and beautiful, then you will love this story. Go. Buy the book! And stock up on Kleenex too!
Rated 5 stars by Barb