A Guest Review by Sammy
Review Summary: Can past mistakes give way to renewed love…a love that will be strong enough to survive any test?
Blurb: When Allan Song’s ex, Mac, shows up to model for the life drawing class Allan teaches, he turns everything upside-down. Mac is still as infuriatingly attractive as when Allan first met him—and still trying to figure out where he fits on the gender spectrum. He’s more than a little out of control, and he’s taken some stupid risks that have come back to haunt him. If they’re going to get back together, Allan wants a real relationship—but for that, he and Mac will need to look below the surface.
Review: Friends, good friends share secrets all the time. Sometimes the secrets we share are simple, nonthreatening, easily forgotten. Then there is the secret that is life changing, deeply rooted and only able to be shared with a very special friend. And on rare occasions, good friends become close, fall in love and share their life with each other.
Mac has a secret. He likes to wear soft things, sexy things, girly things. Allen has a secret as well. He’s falling in love with his roommate Garrett “Mac” Mackenzie. So the day that Mac comes into the kitchen in a short little dress, Allen first freezes in shock and then responds with lust, even though all the while the thought that Mac was supposed to be straight rolled around in his mind.
Their affair lasted two years and ended when Allen happened upon Mac and Allen’s sister, Carrie, lip locked and disheveled in his family living room on Christmas Eve.
Now several Christmases later, Allen stands behind his art students and their easels and stares at the model the agency had sent over–Garrett Mackenzie. And all the old feelings stir and threaten to consume Allen again. However, this time along with the lust is anger and a deep remembrance of the betrayal at Mac’s hands.
Jamie Samms’ story, Still Life pulls us into its emotional maelstrom and reveals to us the consequences of hasty assumptions and impetuous mistakes and second chances.
Now, Mac and Allen each carry new secrets, one the secret of a love that has never died, and the other of a risk taken that may have deadly consequences. The only question that remains is whether the revealing of these secrets will carry with it a happy ever after or a continued lonely existence for both men.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Still Life was the author’s compassionate yet realistic handling of the threat that AIDS continues to be in this day and age. Through an intricately woven and emotional story, Jaime Samms casts light on the very real possibility that even with all the cautionary language surrounding safe sex, mistakes, moments of heightened passion or drunken stupidity still take place causing lasting debilitating effects.
However, I don’t think the sole aim of placing this plot point into the novella. Instead, the author focuses on how love for another person transcends illness, the specter of infection and even the real life possibility of death. Still Life chooses to focus on the selflessness of love and two men coming to terms with the idea that both of them made assumptions that nearly cost them the love they have for each other.
This novella was a triumph over the human condition not an eradication of a disease or even the idea that relationships are easy but rather the fact that love can carry us–support us and lift us beyond our daily burdens and bring us to a place where living beyond our problems is possible.
I think, dear reader, that this one is a keeper! I hope you think so too!