25+ years of wonderful!
Very Highly Recommended
Casey stood at the top of the bridge, looking straight ahead. He was tired, cold and most of all, worn out from being used. It was either walk straight on across and face the future, or jump. And as much as he was tempted, the teen kept his eyes straight and marched into an unknown future. He was determined to keep going till he dropped if necessary.
And drop he did.
Josiah Daniels - Joe - was riding his motorcycle home, not thinking about anything in particular, when he ran across the young man. One look and he knew the boy needed his help. Whether he would take it was another thing. Offering first his jacket to the freezing boy, then a job, he earned a tentative amount of trust from the boy. Even though he knew Casey would think he had to pay him back with sex. Joe had seen enough Casey's to know the drill. He's clean him up, feed him and hopefully set him on a better track.
Joe was a nurse, not so common for a man in the 80s. And Casey was a throwaway - a kid caught having sex with another boy and thrown out by his parents for being gay. Together, they manage to tentatively build a friendship and a home together.
Amy Lane, bless her, has crafted a beautiful love story here. This is a twenty-five year love story that begins with a single step into trust. Trust that holding out a hand and letting a stranger lift you up won't cost you your dignity. Trust that opening your home to a young runaway won't leave you robbed and betrayed.
And eventually, trust that giving your heart to another man you watched grow from a boy into a wonderful man is good, right and safe.
Casey is a character like no other. Wise but young, naive but street-smart, he lost out on being loved and was rejected by his parents. Once he got to know Joe - really know the man - there was no one else for him.
And Joe - just my favorite kind of Amy Lane creation. All heart but so damned dense when it comes to matters of the heart. He is a thinker and a worrier, but about so many of the wrong matters. But when he lands where he needs to, Oh God, there is nothing better...
This book enchanted me from the beginning. The walk down memory lane (I was a young adult in the 80s and this whole story reminds me so much of my own life) was bittersweet and left me laughing, then holding back tears. The early days of HIV/AIDS, when people were afraid to let someone infected be around their kids, the music, the ideals.
At heart, this is about being a romantic and believing in love and giving back. Opening your heart and your home and your mind and soul and helping kids that need someone to tell them it IS gonna be better. Not just say the words, but take the actions.
Ms. Lane gets it. She gets love means hope and strength and trust and perseverance. And to quote the Stones, "You can't always get what you want, but if you try, sometimes, you might get what you need".
I hope we all do.