Saturday, March 26, 2011

About Damn Time by Elizabeth Jewell

About Damn Time
Troy and Jason have been best friends forever -- or at least since first grade. Lately, though, Troy wants more. A drunken make-out session makes him think Jason might want more, too, but Troy is afraid to push things for fear of ruining their friendship.

When a vintage Mustang enters the picture, though, Troy makes a hasty bet with Jason that will change their relationship forever. Are they ready to take the leap from friends to lovers?

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Friends to lovers story here, not completely satisfactory or believable.

The story itself is rather sweet -- friends since childhood, openly gay at least with each other, and supportive in a hands off kind of way, Troy and Jason live rather ordinary young men's lives, Jason as a mechanic who also welds sculpture he lacks confidence to market, and Troy as a bartender whose casual encounters never include Jason. Rebuilding a '68 Mustang becomes not just Jason's project but a way to bring the two together as more than friends. One drunken make-out session becomes the springboard to getting the car finished and some sex to celebrate.

Unfortunately, the story is told from the less interesting character's POV. Troy's drifting through his life, doing nothing much at all, although the description of one of his encounters did make me laugh out loud. Jason has more going on; he builds, rebuilds, creates, and agonizes, which we can see only through Troy's much less than focused gaze.

But I honestly don't see how these two could muddle through years of teenagerhood, six months of half-assed smooching, and then, when the big pay-off is in sight, they both neglect to fill their pockets properly. Or risk the paint job on the pride and joy, except for dramatic flair. A fifteen year or more friendship could certainly explode into more, but why it hasn't earlier, especially if they are aiding and abetting each other's casual escapades, is never really delved into. A vague bit of possessiveness on Troy's part is the only real hint of emotion, he seems to barely exist on the page.

There's a substantial amount of telling going on, so when a small explosion of showing happens, it's noticeable, and not enough to rescue the story. I really wanted to like this story, it's set local for me, but the few bright bits in a sea of ho hum aren't enough. 2 Marbles

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