Title: Academic Pursuits
Author: Lou Harper
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance / Comedy
Length: Novella 29k
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 rating stars
A Guest Review by Raine
Summary Review: This display of quick witted and funny writing gives us Jamie – who combines a concentrated pursuit of cock with unexpected kindness.
Blurb: Jamie Brennan is putting “cad” back into academia!
The son of a well-to-do family and blessed with both dark good looks and buckets of confidence, Jamie lives for the chase. He has a well-deserved reputation around college as a seducer of straight frat boys. No man is off-limits to Jamie—he’s happy to help fellow gay students out of the closet, too. He even has lustful designs on his oblivious English professor, so it’s no surprise that his amorous pursuits often land him in sticky situations.
There’s just one flaw in Jamie’s perfect world—Roger Hunt. The hunky grad student, who dresses more like a lumberjack than the talented artist he is, gives Jamie hostile looks every time their paths cross. Jamie tries to ignore Roger, but they can’t seem to stop running into each other, and Jamie’s beginning to wonder if it’s more than chance that continues to steer them down the same halls…
I had such a good time reading this book. Jamie’s first person view of his life at college is impure joy. He could quite easily have come across like Valmont, from Dangerous Liaisons, unscrupulous and callously manipulative. As his cousin Jo, another vividly created character says,
” You know, it’s a good thing you’re basically a good guy because you could be a real asshole.”
Instead he is both unexpectedly kind and tremendously imaginative in all of his schemes for recreational sex. He also has the warped kind of honesty about himself that manages to combine great copy with intimacy. The emotional relationship between Jamie and Jo felt genuine, showing real family affection but delivered with the rude frankness of friendship.
The writing here is clever and funny; the characters are original and intelligent, the dialogue develops personality and with good comedic timing. Lou Harper’s kinked and imaginative use of language and metaphor kept me very happy,
His buttocks beamed at me like two big happy marshmallows, generously sprinkled with golden fuzz.
or my personal favourite which takes the description of an often used close up and makes it Jamie’s own.
I gave his cock a friendly tug. It was not only hard, but weeping like an angel.
Although a novella, the pages are packed full of strongly drawn secondary characters. These all add to the details of a realistic college social and academic life with all of it’s interlocking circles of friends, casual acquaintances and even tutors. Jamie and Jo actually talk about the subjects they are studying- this is not a facile background against which guys get it together. The art show where many themes came together was both entertaining and enlightening. I really liked the way Jo’s painting and Roger’s sculpture were used to reveal some gentle truths.
I particularly enjoyed Jaime in full exuberant and confident flow though I understand why he had to face some checks to his hedonistic attack on life. His relationship with Roger was nicely established -if comparatively quickly- even the little misunderstanding was just about legitimate. I really could have done with some more time with Jamie and Roger- they felt a little rushed. Though Jo’s contribution to the situation completed the circle of family interference with neat satisfaction.
Vampire Weekend‘s college infused first album made a great soundtrack to this book, which is part of Amber Allure‘s Hot College Daze series. Personally speaking this is one of my favourite reads so far this year. I am always completely susceptible to confident dominant personalities. Academic Pursuits presents just such a main character- one who could easily have become impossible to like, but instead- for me- had incorrigible charm.