Title: From All of Us to All of You
Author: Ofelia Grand
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Cover Artist: N/A
Genre: Contemporary, holiday
Formats: Mobi, epub, PDF
Simon hates the Holidays. It’s the same every year - awaiting the dreaded Christmas Eve, when his father gets drunk, while the family fake Christmas spirit and strain to hear the TV over Dad’s snoring. This year, Simon’s sister is celebrating Christmas elsewhere, leaving him to deal with their parents on his own. But there’s a glimmer of hope. A work colleague introduces Simon to her son Hannes at the Lucia Day celebrations, the trouble being that Simon mistakenly believes it’s a blind date, and as if that isn’t embarrassing enough, Hannes wants them to be friends, and Simon’s starting to see signals that aren’t there. He’s beginning to wonder if he’ll make it through Christmas with his sanity intact.
What a sweet, heart-breaking story. We all know that secrets lurk under holiday cheer, and poor Simon and his family have more than most. With the pall cast by Simon’s alcoholic father over the day, and over his life, Simon has more holiday horror than most. He’s making internal bets about how long his father will remain upright on Christmas Day, and it’s clear Simon’s whole life is colored deeply by being the child of an alcoholic. “Normal” is a myth, not his reality, therapist or no.
So of course he has some trouble knowing which set of signs to believe when he’s been given mixed signals. Hannes, with whom Simon’s been thrown together by a well-meaning mother figure, isn’t quite sure what to do with his unexpected attraction to Simon. He’s the king of mixed signals.
The story is set in Sweden, with many traditions we don’t share in the States or know by different names, but all are explained as much as they need to be for us to understand what’s going on and why, and of course, we understand long before Simon does that Hannes may say one thing and mean quite another.
The story is focused on Simon’s inner landscape and his growth, with a corresponding change in Hannes, who does an understated gay for you here. In a quiet way, he helps Simon make what is actually a pretty dramatic change. The story is one of characterization, handling some rather large topics in an understated way. Sweetly done. 4 marbles
The story is available as a standalone and also as part of a mixed pairing anthology called Boughs of Evergreen.