Author: J.L. Merrow
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
Publisher: Self Published
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Length: novel (278 pages)
Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
A Guest Review by Andrea
Review Summary: Funny and entertaining, these are the kind of people I would love to know in real life.
Limericks, lies, and puppy-dog eyes…
Jude Biggerstaff is all the way out and loving it—mostly. The Anglo-Japanese university graduate is a carnivore working in a vegan café, an amateur poet with only one man in his life. His dog, Bubbles.
Then there’s “Karate Crumpet”, a man who regularly runs past the café with a martial arts class. Jude can only yearn from afar, until the object of his affection rescues him from muggers. And he learns that not only does this calm, competent hunk of muscle have a name—David—but that he’s gay.
Jude should have known the universe wouldn’t simply let love fall into place. First, David has only one foot out of the closet. Then there’s Jude’s mother, who lies about her age to the point Jude could be mistaken for jailbait.
With a maze of stories to keep straight, a potential stepfather in the picture, ex-boyfriends who keep spoiling his dates with David, and a friend with a dangerous secret, Jude is beginning to wonder if his and David’s lives will ever start to rhyme.
I’ve long been a fan of Josephine Myles, and it was a recommendation from her which pushed me toward reading J.L. Merrow. After reading Slam!, I think I can now say I’m also a fan of J.L. Merrow. Her writing has a very distinctive voice, which I couldn’t get enough of. It’s very British, which I enjoy, and the humor was just a touch snarky without ever being mean-spirited. I wanted this book to go on forever. I actually caught myself reading slowly in order to prolong the experience.
I’m really struggling to write the review for this book, because to be honest, the plot isn’t fantastic, it’s all about the characters. Slam! is kind of a meandering story that eventually gets where it’s going. Strangely, that totally doesn’t matter because the writing and character development are extraordinary. The strength of this book is in the characters, not the story they are telling.
I freely admit, I was worried when I saw I was going to be reading a book about poetry slams. I’ll just come right out and say it, I don’t like poetry. Most of time there is some hidden meaning which I completely miss. Lucky for me, Jude’s poetry is mostly limericks, which even I could understand and appreciate. They are a little crude and a whole lot funny, which is actually a pretty good description of Jude too. Jude is abso-freaking-lutely adorable. He’s quirky, but he’s a genuinely good guy. His best friend is Keisha, and she’s a firecracker. They show their affection by picking on one another, but they would do anything for each other. They have the type of relationship I love and can connect with.
Jude’s mother is also a driving force in this book. Jude and his mother have an interesting relationship. He not only lives with her, but she is also one of his best friends. She’s had a tough life. It would have beaten down a lesser woman, but she manages to maintain a positive outlook and her sense of humor through it all. It’s also her lie which causes all the trouble in the first place. That leads us to David, Jude’s love interest. Really, the book is all about Jude. David’s appreciation for Jude’s zany personality is his most endearing quality. He’s a great guy, and the perfect fit for Jude, which is all that matters.
I loved this book! It had me wanting to move to their town and be part of their inner circle. The characters were fun and entertaining, but with enough depth for me to feel their pain when things took a turn for the worse. I really loved the humor. I was smiling and laughing the entire time I was reading. I definitely recommend it.