Review - "It's Not Shakespeare" by Amy Lane
A love song to hope
Such a wonderful and fragile thing. When we are young, we hope for a bike for Christmas, or a puppy for our birthday. That that cute boy or girl will notice us. We hope to get into a good school. That we get a great great job and a hot car.
We hope for love. For that special someone to be ours.
And sometimes, we just hope that this time it will be real. That we don't get our heart broken. That we have one more try in us...
James is a forty something year old professor at a community college in California. Betrayed by his partner on the East Coast, he has moved out West for a new start. Three years later, he and Marlowe, his Boston Terrier, have each other, and that's enough.
Raphael is a late twenties blue collar Hispanic guy who looks like an underwear model. Unlucky in love, he stays one foot in the closet to make his Catholic family happy. He plays tough guy, but his heart is a tender one.
When Raphael's friend, who just happens to be in James' class, sets them up, will sparks fly or will the past hurts and the age difference keep these two apart?
This book is, at heart, all about hope. James' hope that life hasn't passed him by. That forty doesn't mean the end. That his lying cheating ex didn't kill that spark in him, that fragile hopeful heartbeat of romance and love. And Raphael's hope that someone will take a chance on him and not make him choose love over his family. That being Hispanic working class doesn't mean unlovable. That his fragile painful hope that James will put his heart on the line with him and not leave him hanging out there alone isn't in vain.
"Well, sometimes small dreams had grandeur, he thought with dignity. Sometimes, the small dreams were all a person needed to live."
God, Amy Lane gets it so right.
These two men dare to dream small, but hope bigger. And, thank God, sometimes dreams come true and hopes are answered.
Because when I read this fine, fine book, my hopes were given given wings. Hopes that romance can conquer fear, that love doesn't quit being possible at 40 (or even 50), that there are still men out there who have the balls to say things like "I get laid plenty, baby. I don't remember ever being asked to sleep. There's different kinds of loneliness, Jimmy." and mean it.
So, thank you, Ms.Lane, for writing a beautiful love song to hope.