Wichita, KS, United States | Member Since 2010
Listening to this audiobook was very painful. While a certain amount of conflict and misunderstanding can help to fuel a romance, this isn’t so much a romance as a test to see how much pain and abuse the reader is willing to see two people haplessly put each other through.
The device of conflict in this story reaches and maintains a level of emotional turmoil on the characters that can only be called sadistic. The rare moments of tenderness the characters are allowed are short, few and far between. Like an occasional bucket of water on a forest fire there isn’t much relief.
“First Time” experiences, horny roomates in the dorm, sexual hazing from a fraternity, submitting to an abusive roomate, and servicing all of your professors in lieu of tuition for your degree are just a few of the stories of College Boys.
Whether you like a sweet coming-of-age story or a rough S & M session, you’re likely to find something here that appeals to you.
Not being a fan of beatings or any other abuse I found myself skipping a few of the stories, but the gamut of story lines are diverse and presented with uncensored candor.
I find that I’m partial to gay romance books that transcend the human reality of our experience either through science fiction or fantasy. As long as the characters are human or close enough to identify with. The added dimension of other worldliness makes it easier for me to look past my own sense of the impossible and experience the excitement of living a different life.
The two central characters of the book embody the qualities of the men I’ve always longed for not only as physical specimens but with all of the qualities and flaws that make them loveable.
The characters that surround them are also believable avoiding the exteme stereotypes of perfection, super-human abilities or ridiculous embodiments of good or evil.
While the story is left at a satisfying place in the end, the implied adventures underlying all of the book’s events are barely begun. I have to hope the story can continue in subsequent sequels!
The production of the audio book is also worth mentioning. As I’ve experienced more and more audiobooks, I’ve become more aware of the difficulties of pulling off a narration using only one narrator. Male readers often lose me when they have to shift to voices of women or children, leaving me to roll my eyes at their inability to pull this off. Charles Carr does an excellent job of this. His timing and pacing are also goodwhich not only makes it easy to keep up with and understand, but helps it get closer to the experience of reading it for yourself.
I found this actual story very touching. Both of the main characters are attractive, likeable and easy to empathize with. Their constant second guessing about their impressions of each other struck a chord with me having "been there."
The problem with the book is the narration. The hurried pace of the reading made me wonder if the narrator was in a hurry to get out of there to catch a plane or had been given some strange strict time limit for the reading.
I found myself constantly stopping my iPod so I could think through the last sentence, hearing it in my own thoughts with some conviction and emotion. The fast pace also caused me to sometimes lose track of whose speech or thoughts I'd just heard.
While I enjoy the audio production of most audiobooks, this one was a reminder to me of how much I miss the ability to read, having lost most of my eyesight.
I will look for other books by this author and hope for better results.
A running theme of the "Love means..." series seems to be the jaded, worldly gay man re-discovering love by meeting an innocent, inexperienced seemingly straight and often virgin young man. What could play into this better than an Amish kid on his first outing from his community? Although a bit predictable, it's a very sweet story. It's unfortunate that these stories so often demonize gay life in the cities, relying on the introduction of 'outsiders' for the central character to find any happiness.
Through no fault of his own the narrator often sounds silly having to cover not only all of the adult men's voices but also those of women and children. These books would be better served with at least a female voice to cover those characters.
Although this book comes up under the genre of Gay Fantasy, there are no gay characters or content whatsoever. It also has no business being listed as a "Fantasy." The fact that it takes place in the future could qualify it for science fiction. The most applicable category for this story would be Philosophy or maybe 'Cautionary Tales' if there were such a category. If you're looking for Gay Fantasy, don't waste your time with this.
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