Teacher Dane Bernard is a gentle giant, loved by all at Summitville High School. He has a beautiful wife, two kids, and an easy rapport with staff and students alike. But Dane has a secret, one he expects to keep hidden for the rest of his life - he's gay.
But when he loses his wife, Dane finally confronts his attraction to men. And a new teacher, Seth Wolcott, immediately catches his eye. Seth himself is starting over, licking his wounds from a breakup. The last thing Seth wants is another relationship, but when he spies Dane on his first day at Summitville High, his attraction is immediate and electric.
As the two men enter into a dance of discovery and new love, they're called upon to come to the aid of bullied gay student Truman Reid. Truman is out and proud, which not everyone at his small-town high school approves of. As the two men work to help Truman ignore the bullies and love himself without reservation, they all learn life-changing lessons about coming out, coming to terms, acceptance, heartbreak, and falling in love.
©2016 Rick R. Reed (P)2016 Dreamspinner Press
The Story line was great. Very intrusive into a school teachers life but on the other hand intrusive to his true self. extremely well written. The narrator sounded like he either needed o2 or was on o2.
All in all its a solid 4 star book. once you get by the narrator.
I received a free copy of this audiobook to listen to and review for Wicked Reads.
Confession time – I’m enamored with the “gentle giant” character in romances. It doesn’t matter if it’s a M/F romance or a M/M romance, the big guy usually draws me in. I suspect it’s due, in part, to the fact that I’m almost 5’8” and tend to wear shoes with a 1.5 to 2-inch heel, so I like the idea of a man who can tower over me and make me feel dainty when I am far from it. Because of this, I jumped at the chance to review Big Love. I should note that this is the first of Reed’s works that I’ve ever “read” and it won’t be the last. Not only was I treated to a beautiful tale of romance and self-discovery as Dane comes to terms with his sexuality after his wife’s death, I was treated to two such stories as one of Dane’s students, Truman Reid, learns to embrace his sexuality and “sissy”-hood (sissy is Truman’s word) as he is forced to navigate the shark-infested waters of high school.
The first day of school is one neither Dane nor Truman will ever forget. On the same day that Dane intervenes to stop what would be the first of many, many incidents of bullying that Truman is subjected to, Dane experiences the biggest loss of his life – the death of his wife. Even though that day marks the beginning of each man’s journey to self-acceptance, it is a path that is vastly different for each of them. Neither Dane nor Truman’s life will ever be the same, but for very different reasons – Dane has to admit a secret to himself that he’s ignored for decades. At the same time, Truman has to learn one of the most important lessons ever – you cannot control how others feel about you, you can only control how you let their actions and words affect you. In other words, never let them see you sweat. Because Big Love focuses on Dane coming to terms with his sexuality and his subsequent romance with Seth, we only see parts of Truman’s journey, giving the reader light, yet filling servings of angst, acceptance, heartbreak, courage, and fierceness. Which, for me, was great because it helped temper my desire to throttle Dane’s daughter. Thankfully, Dane is a much better parent than I, so he was able to guide his daughter through her grief and anger regarding her mother’s death, and the eventual understanding and acceptance of her father’s sexuality. As you can see, it’s a good thing Dane was a gentle giant because he needed mighty big hands for all he was juggling. Fortunately for both Truman and Dane, Seth proved to be vital to their success in discovering and embracing who they were as individuals. In his efforts to help Truman, Seth also helped Dane and it was beautiful watching all three men – because Seth had his own issues to face – grow over the course of the novel.
As for the narration, I found Michael Pauley’s voice to be pleasant for the most part. There were times when it bordered on grating, but because it occurred primarily with only one or two characters, I believe that was intentional. There were a few times I wasn’t able to tell when a character was speaking versus thinking, however, it did not detract from my ultimate enjoyment of the book and I hope to have the opportunity to listen to more of Pauley’s narration. I will note that the downside of audiobooks is that sometimes the end arrives unexpectedly and this was true for Big Love, I just wasn’t ready for the story to end and Reed certainly left me wanting more.
This is a great coming out story for the young and old-er. Gives hope when you don't think you'll find it and that there is love for all of us. Strength, courage, and love come in small packages if we're just willing enough to accept that we can't do this alone. One of my personal faves so far. I Oved it.
Dane is a teacher who is married to a woman and has two teenaged children. He knows he’s gay but has never acted on the fact as he and his wife got married out of college but were high school sweet-hearts.
When his wife dies suddenly, in a car wreck, he feels this release and the need to “be himself” so he tells his children he’s gay and has been hiding it all these years.
The very next day, one of his students attempts suicide for being bullied about being gay and Dane confesses to the entire school that he, too, is gay to show support to the student, Truman.
Seth is a new teacher in Dane’s department and he had developed a crush on Dane before he knew he was gay. He helps Dane help Truman and Truman’s mom during the time surrounding Truman’s suicide attempt. This allows him and Dane to get closer and explore their feelings for one another.
I have so many divided feelings about this book.
What I liked/loved:
Truman- he’s a great character and I loved the message that his story tells (Be yourself, no matter the cost!) I loved his little side romance and the ex, too.
The way it was told. I liked the alternating POVs. I felt like each man had their own growing and changing to do, and seeing the world through each of their eyes allowed them to all have a representative chunk of the story that was theirs and theirs alone. It felt really complete that way.
Truman’s mom – she was THE BOMB! I loved how she always knew that simply loving Truman was her best bet even if it might not always be enough.
Dane’s son- he was so supportive and yet a realistic teenager in that he didn’t go OTT to help out, just quietly supported his dad.
What didn’t work for me:
Dane – Is he gay or bi or demi? He says he really loved his wife, but yet never felt complete? I didn’t always understand his character. I really didn’t understand how he just blurted things out to his kids, the school, etcetera – without expecting major blow-back – and I would think being in the closet for all your life and just losing your wife – you might waffle a bit more than 6 months…
Seth and Dane – their relationship felt from out in left field. They barely knew each other, then their having sex, then they’re saying I love yous… it felt awkward in the grand scheme of things and really unfulfilling.
Truman – sometimes he acted in ways that felt older than his age – but that could be a function of his situation…
Coming out – I really felt like Dane would have had more issues coming out than he did.
Dane’s daughter – I never understood what her deal was and why Dane was virtually ignoring her eating disorder, letting her run around without permission and allowing her to treat him so badly…this bothered me a lot.
So… the book absolutely kept my attention – Rick Reed is a great writer and he knows how to draw you into a story – but there were several areas that just felt… imperfect to me. I liked it and was glad to have read it, but I had some high hopes that weren’t met.
3 of 5 stars
Michael Pauley did a really nice job with this. I liked his version of Dean and thought he created nice distinctions between all the characters pretty well. I think this was a great way to experience this story and I enjoyed listening to it.
4.5 of 5 stars
Overall 4 of 5 stars
I just have to roll my eyes and say 'really' when someone writes in a review that the book was not 'realistic'...come on now 'really'!
Truman is a high school freshman in a small town and he's gay. Truman doesn't hide that's he's gay and because of this he endures a lot of bullying from other students. This part of the story made me cry. I hurt for Truman and was angry with the principle for not doing something about it.
Dean is a teacher. He's married and has a 16 and 12 year old. He's known he was gay since he was a teen but kept it hid. When Dean's wife is killed in a car crash Dean decides to come out.
Seth is a teacher and openly gay. Seth has moved to get away from a past lover.
Not giving anything away...Dean and Seth help Truman. Also Dean and Seth become lovers.
This is a heartfelt story that takes you through an array of emotions. I rated the Overall and Story 4 stars because I think Seth and Dean's relationship was hurried. There could have been more time and detail spent on these two.
I was looking for something different and I found it. Absolutely worth the credit or $$.
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