Review - "Talker Compilation" by Amy Lane
Unforgettable, two of her best characters ever
Very Highly Recommended
It all started on a bus.
Tate Walker - ‘Talker’ to everyone - bopped on the team bus, tattoos, piercing, scars and rapidly running mouth, looking for a seat while the track team went to their next meet. And who did he pick to sit next to? All-American looking, handsome Brian Cooper. Talker’s spit-fire constant chatter didn’t bother Brian. Most people thought his quiet demeanor aloofness, but it hid his innate shyness.
Despite their differences, the two become fast friends, then roommates. Talker dates around, a steady string of guys that Brian feels don’t deserve him. Although he wonders why he feels that way – after all, he’s straight and dating a very nice girl. But Talker is on a mission to lose his virginity.
Slowly, and with his now ex-girlfriend’s help, Brian realized he loves Talker as more than a friend. But how to get him to take Brian seriously is the question.
When Talker picks the wrong guy to go out with, Brian helps pick up the pieces. Brian loves him back to health, and can’t tell him how he feels, because that isn’t what Talker needs. As Talker spirals more and more out of control, Brian knows desperate times merit desperate measures.
And so begins the wonderful love story that is “Talker”. This is a compilation of three previously released stories – Talker, Talker’s Redemption and Talker’s Graduation. The first is how Talker and Brian met and fell in love, the second the tale of Talker stepping up to the plate when Brian is attacked, and the last, what happens when the guys settle into their relationship and Talker sees himself as Brian sees him.
These beautifully developed stories are at times heartbreaking, heartwarming, gut-wrenching and gasp-inspiring. We learn the backgrounds of these two seemingly different young men and how their past tragedies shaped them into the gentle souls they become. And we celebrate with them, sigh with them, rage against God at the tragedies and unfairness that befall them, and then, only then, we watch them with awe as they share their hearts so very openly and without reservation.
We see Talker grow from the nervous, fragile and in-your-face boy to the confident, settled-in-his-skin lover, friend and man. His willingness to face head-on the brutality with which he, then Brian, was treated inspires me, makes me want to hold him and protect him, at first. Ah, but then to watch him find his core, his strength – Brian – and wrap that around him like armor and take on the world? That, my friends, is love.
Then there’s Brian. Such an unassuming lad, who thinks he’s nothing special. He plods through life, always settling, never asking for more. Until he meets Talker and his world expands along with his heart and he learns his own worth. And how he has to operate outside his own shell to get what he wants and BE who Talker needs. Simply stunning to watch his dignity as he blooms into manhood.
What the two start to realize, is they are simply two lost souls who are flip sides of the same coin. Talker hides his vulnerable heart with a confident façade, while Brian shows nothing to the world, masking his inner strength. Both men grew up out of tragedy, making their way into the world without a safety net.
Amy Lane took me by the hand and let me dance this magnificent dance with her (humming Springsteen’s “Lonely Valentine” and laying my head on her shoulder). So lovingly done, these characters demand attention and love and respect.
And I do. Love them. Respect them.