Title: The Perils of Praline
Author: Marshall Thornton
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: M/M contemporary romantic comedy
Length: 220 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
A guest review by Jenre
A hilarious sex romp where an innocent young man travels to LA and gets debauched in a number of delicious ways, whilst searching for true love.
When he falls in love with a contestant on a reality TV show, Peter “Praline” Palmetier decides to leave his home in rural Georgia and, failing to realize this might be considered stalking, travels to Hollywood to find his soul mate, Dave G. Once in tinsel-town he meets a collection of startling, and often horny, characters in his quest. They include a studly steward, a conservative talk show host, the Godfather of the Gay Mafia, and casting assistant Jason Friedman, who always manages to be there in time to save Praline from total disaster. Will Praline find love with the illusive Dave G., or will he recognize the charms of appealing but untelegenic Jason?
Having read a number of earnest and serious m/m romances recently, I was in the mood for something lighthearted. This one was recommended to me by Kassa as being something fun and guaranteed to lift anyone’s spirits. She wasn’t wrong, as I found myself laughing out loud on a number of occasions at the ‘sexploits’ of the hapless, yet very endearing hero of this book.
The title alone should give you some idea of the contents as the young, innocent hero, Praline (there is a reason why he’s called after a nut, but I’m not going to tell you here. You’ll just have to read the book to find out 🙂 ) sets out from Georgia in all innocence to find his one true love in LA. Like all innocents, it’s not long before he falls into the clutches of various experienced men who, when taking a single look at Praline’s bubble butt, manage to persuade him to strip and begin his sexual education. As you can imagine, this gets Praline into a number of awkward situations and I lost track at the number of times he is caught either with his trousers down or completely naked.
As you may imagine, this is not a story to be taken seriously. There’s a huge cast of characters, most of which only appear for a few pages in order to show Praline a good time. It isn’t difficult to keep track of who is who though and as their basic function in the book is someone for Praline to have sex with, I wasn’t too bothered about the lack of substance to their character. However, there’s one constant in the story – that of the character of Jason who first meets Praline the day he arrives in LA (when he happens to be hanging naked off a balcony – you’ll have to read the book to find out why 🙂 ). Praline is rather hurt to find that, unlike all the other friendly men in LA, Jason doesn’t want to have sex with him, even when Praline has been polite enough to offer (politeness is very important to this Southern boy). At this point he labels Jason a “frienemy” and spends much of the book puzzling over his real feelings for Jason – much to my amusement.
Whether you enjoy this story will depend on a few things. Firstly, how much you can suspend your disbelief that everyone that Praline bumps into happens to be gay or wants to have sex with him within 10 minute (or less!). The storyline is pretty outrageous and not at all true to life, so if you accept that from the start and just hang on for the ride, then this is a vastly amusing read. Secondly, it’s important that you like Praline. I found him to be a cute mix of wide-eyed innocence and experience. He’s perpetually horny and led about by his dick for most of the book, but I also found him quite endearing and sweet. The touching way that he attempts to analyse his feelings for Jason, plus his quite rigid sense of right and wrong made him a sympathetic character. Thirdly, you’ve got to like a lot of sex in your books and not be squeamish about multiple partners because Praline gets it on frequently through the book and each time with different people. This doesn’t bother me, especially when it’s obvious that this is not supposed to be true to life.
One final thing I liked a great deal about the book was the way it was also very satirical on the nature of fame and show business. In amongst all the sex are several humourous jibes about talk show hosts, celebrity bloggers, right-wing conservative newscasters, the casting companies, and how to get on in Hollywood. I found these jokes, seen through the eyes of innocent Praline, to be very funny and quite biting in their satirical humour.
In fact the only niggle I had with the story is that it got a little too silly towards the end, as events escalate. The last scene in Jason and Praline’s work place was nearly too much, even for my suspended disbelief. I found myself thinking – oh come on that’s totally unrealistic – and it pulled me out of what had been a very engrossing tale of sex and showbiz.
Overall then, if you are looking for a humourous sex romp with an engaging hero and a sweet romance, then I suggest that you read The Perils of Praline. It’s a perfect antidote to an excess of angst!