Tell Me It’s Real

Author: T.J. Klune
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Buy Links:   Amazon;  
Length: Novel (350 pages)
Rating: 1.5 stars out of 5

A Guest Review by LenaLena

Review Summary: If Paul was less judgmental, more likeable and had quit yammering; if the misogyny, the racial stereotypes, all the slapstick and almost every single scene that features the dog had been taken out, this would have been a funny lighthearted romantic comedy that would have been well worth reading. As it is: not for me.


Do you believe in love at first sight?

Paul Auster doesn’t. Paul doesn’t believe in much at all. He’s thirty, slightly overweight, and his best features are his acerbic wit and the color commentary he provides as life passes him by. His closest friends are a two-legged dog named Wheels and a quasibipolar drag queen named Helena Handbasket. He works a dead-end job in a soul-sucking cubicle, and if his grandmother’s homophobic parrot insults him one more time, Paul is going to wring its stupid neck.

Enter Vince Taylor.

Vince is everything Paul isn’t: sexy, confident, and dumber than the proverbial box of rocks. And for some reason, Vince pursues Paul relentlessly. Vince must be messing with him, because there is no way Vince could want someone like Paul.

But when Paul hits Vince with his car—in a completely unintentional if-he-died-it’d-only-be-manslaughter kind of way—he’s forced to see Vince in a whole new light. The only thing stopping Paul from believing in Vince is himself—and that is one obstacle Paul can’t quite seem to overcome. But when tragedy strikes Vince’s family, Paul must put aside any notions he has about himself and stand next to the man who thinks he’s perfect the way he is.


This is the second book I’ve read by T.J. Klune and while I liked Bear, Otter and the Kid, it was too rambly and angsty for me to be very interested in the follow up. But this one was supposed to be more of a lighthearted comedy, so I thought I’d give it a shot. Klune writes in one of his blog posts:

“I decided, in my infinite wisdom, to write a story about love at first sight, but to make it as realistic as possible. Once I gave in to the idea that it could happen, I wanted to see if I could write it and have it be believable. After writing ITRID [Into This River I Drown], I wanted it to be lighter, funnier, sweeter (though with a bite to it). It needed to be snarky, and sarcastic, and outrageous and ridiculous (in a good way).”

I thought that sounded promising.

The second part of this book was indeed a lighthearted romcom with even some poignant moments. Both Vince and Sandy’s grief are well done, touching without going into melodrama. Once Paul and Vince start interacting for real, the story starts to flow nicely. The book was light on the tropes, which was refreshing. Paul and Vince were not totally standard characters, which was also nice. And yet this ended up with an abysmal star rating from me, because to get to this part of the book I had to struggle through the first 30%, which was completely off-putting. Too many times the sweetly funny parts were derailed by slapstick, even in the second part. Like the scene where Sandy helps Paul dress for his first date with Vince. That started really good: funny while still making you feel for Paul and his insecurities. And then it tanks when Paul steps on the dog, crashes into a wall and starts a long diatribe about selling the dog to a Taiwanese restaurant. Over the top and bye bye mood.

Paul Auster has only one friend, Sandy. Paul tries to convince us that this is because he is shy and insecure, but as the first chapters go by it becomes clear that this is because Paul is rude and very judgmental. Making fun of other people creates an easy us-vs-them kind of humor here, but with all the people Paul is adding to the ‘them’ list, it is not surprising there are so few people left in ‘us’. In the first few chapters Paul makes it clear he has issues with his doctor, his randy old nudist neighbors, ladies with spray tans, cats, chihuahuas, vaginas, the bitches who don’t want to keep reading his self centered ramblings, lesbians, vegetarians, tree hugging hippies, office sluts, fratty jockish dudes, twinks, large breasts, and people named Tad or Santiago. To name just a select few. At some point Vince tells Paul’s mom how kind Paul is. And all I am thinking is: “He is? To whom?”

Vince, the love interest, is an uneven character. He is supposed to be a dumb guy with a heart of gold, but his lack of intelligence seems to be limited to not knowing the meaning of certain words. He doesn’t always understand what Paul is saying, but then again, Paul is reduced to inane spluttering most of the time when he talks to Vince and doesn’t make any sense in the first place, so that’s not so strange. The rest of the time he is perfectly normal. Vince is dumb, because we’re told he is dumb, and that is pretty much all there is to it.

In the first chapter Paul talks directly to the reader. Not subtle, with an occasional aside to the reader, no, he tears the 4th wall down and dances on the rubble. He is talking to you. He is going to tell you all about himself: what he looks like, what he wishes he looked liked, where he works, how he got his dog, how shy and insecure he is, all these people he doesn’t like and on and on in one big rambling mess. And when I say rambling mess, I mean it just keeps on going with irrelevant stuff and has dog shit and vomit and regurgitated spinach and tons of other unnecessary hilarity of the Chevy Chase kind that obscure the real humor that can be found in this book if you bother to look. I’ve read awkward introductions before (Oh, look, there is me in the mirror, look at my brown hair and blue eyes, blah blah), but this a particularly lazy and clunky introduction to a character.

Paul breaks the 4th wall to get the reader on his side. This is ‘us’ vs ‘them’ after all and we’re supposed to be on Paul’s side. Just like toddlers yell the Spanish word for ‘jump’ at the tv when Dora the Explorer tells them to, so are we supposed to yell ‘bitches’ at those losers who do not like this book when Paul tells us to. Because we are Team Paul. But, personally, I don’t want to be on Team Judgy McJudgerson. I am not an aging, overweight, large breasted vegetarian hippie butch lesbian or anything, but that doesn’t mean I want to point my finger at them and laugh.

What makes me really, really want to get the hell off Team Paul, though, is how every time he does something reprehensible, he dubs that ‘being a vagina’. As in ‘….[but he] was now waking up in Bear Dude’s bed, all because I was a gigantic vagina’. And ‘[the idea of carpet munching] kinda grossed me out because vaginas have more folds than a pile of laundry. Blargh.’ Add similar references to labia, ovulating, uteri, menstruating ghosts and tampon strings and I seem to have misplaced my sense of humor somewhere. I completely understand that gay guys have no use for vaginas and probably find them kind of gross. And if Klune claims that it is a common derogatory term in the gay world, I’ll even buy that. Just because none of my gay friends are suicidal enough to say such things around me doesn’t mean they don’t talk shit when there are no women around. Just like straight guys, really. However, I am sure Klune is aware that roughly 80% of his readers are women. I can’t be the only one not finding this funny.

Let’s say you’re a gay guy and you’re reading a book about straight guys, written by a straight guy. You know, like the majority of the books out there. Say the straight main character does something stupid and then thinks to himself: “I can’t believe I missed that field goal, I am such a worthless filthy faggot!” Potentially funny the first time, maybe. The 10th time he says something similar? Really not so much. Does it matter at that point that it’s the character saying that and not the author? In this case, when the character doesn’t repent his homophobia/misogyny at the end, or isn’t even aware of it, and the character himself is a bit of an author-insert (gay Arizona insurance employee and (maybe would be) romance novelist), I’m going to go with ‘no, it doesn’t matter who says it’. Besides the misogyny, every person of color in this book is a stereotype: Sassy Black Nurse is sassy, Sexually Aggressive Latino Waiter is sexually aggressive and Jennifer Lopez insists on talking about her vagina.

Yes, Jennifer Lopez is a bike shop assistant here. Paul Auster, outside of this book, is of course a fairly well known novelist, Vince Taylor was a British rock star and is a professional body builder, Helena Handbasket is Chandler Bing’s dad on ‘Friends’ (as played by Kathleen Turner) and even the Sassy Black Nurse makes an appearance on ‘Family Guy’. Pop culture trivia, anyone?

On the other hand, the editing was really wonderful! No typos, homonyms, repeated phrases, etc. Really excellent job.

Hahaha. Gotcha. Not really. The editing was bad. Besides all fore-mentioned issues, Sandy comes out to his parents a year after they die and Paul apparently keeps corduroy pants from when he is 10 years old. If you think it’s funny what I just did there with the gotcha, you might actually like the last chapter. If not, you’ll probably groan and roll your eyes, like me.

To recap: If Paul was less judgmental,  more likeable and had quit yammering; if the misogyny, the racial stereotypes, all the slapstick and almost every single scene that features the dog had been taken out, this would have been a funny lighthearted romantic comedy that would have been well worth reading. As it is: not for me. But half a star for having non-standard main characters.


  • Thanks to everyone who posted comments, for or against — we love a great debate! — but since the conversation seems to have degenerated and in Wave, LenaLena and my opinion, nothing more constructive can be said, we are closing comments before it turns uglier. Regardless of how it seems at times, we really do appreciate all viewpoints here as long as we’re civil and polite, and it’s possible we’re too tired to be either right now.

  • I want to thank you all for your comments, for the ones that agree with me and for the ones that disagree. A review is just an opinion and this is mine. I never said it was wrong to have a different opinion. Fortunately there are books out there for us all, but this one wasn’t for me. I think explained fairly well why that was the case, but your mileage may vary, of course.

    I was very careful not to bash the author, and I don’t appreciate being accused of doing so, especially not when those accusations are based on feelings and not on what I actually wrote.

    I am really sorry if people found the review offensive, although I am not sure how the tone of it offends. I do not write reviews for the other reviewers, I barely even know who they are. This is my third review for this site, so if there any inside jokes, those would be purely accidental. I didn’t set out to offend anyone with this review and unless someone finds that fact that I didn’t like this book offensive, I don’t think it is.

    • …You feel insulted because the reviewer felt insulted by the narrator? Um. Okay.

      The sheer amount of readers and fans of this book/author who are crying over negative reviews have me incredibly puzzled. You’re entitled to like this book, and other people are entitled to call it out for being atrociously edited and offensive to MULTIPLE groups, not just women and their vaginas. If you look at Amazon and GR reviews, MULTIPLE people called this book out for misogyny and racial stereotyping. I notice that none of the white knights are riding forth to defend the Angry Black Woman stereotype with the bright orange nails and lack of brain cells, or the incredibly old stereotype of the hot saucy exotic other over-sexed Latino/a. Read a history book. Study representations of race in the media. Stop being offended because other people noticed what you missed.

      What you call a personal attack on the author I call literary criticism and critical reading skills.

      • I find it astonishing that anyone not agreeing with this review faces personal attacks by other site reviewers or commenters swarming to protect the reviewer. I am not a writer or reviewer. I am a lowly reader. Since all I can do is read a publisher’s blurb about a new release to determine whether to spend the asking price for a book — which you may may or may not have noticed it now hovering above $8 for an ebook — I come to this site to get a heads up on good books. Lately, it seems that many of the reviews are not aimed at readers, but rather are published to impress other reviewers, replete with inside jokes and stinging asides. I enjoyed this book. It’s not your taste. OK, I get it. I respect the points you’ve made. What I find offensive is the tone of the review and I find your arrogant and condescending reply to my eleven-word comment abhorrent and discourteous. You are trying to school me on stereotypes? You don’t know a thing about my education level, profession or racial background; in fact, you don’t know me, period. Yet, you feel a need to sarcastically berate me in this personal attack? What’s that about? Who knew that to swim in these rarified, smug Jessewaves, you had to acquiesce to everything written on the blog.

        • “What I find offensive is the tone of the review and I find your arrogant and condescending reply to my eleven-word comment abhorrent and discourteous. You are trying to school me on stereotypes? You don’t know a thing about my education level, profession or racial background; in fact, you don’t know me, period. Yet, you feel a need to sarcastically berate me in this personal attack? What’s that about? Who knew that to swim in these rarified, smug Jessewaves, you had to acquiesce to everything written on the blog.”

          So now I’m arrogant and condescending because I said that IMO the reviewer reviewed the book and not the author, and that I would have reacted even more strongly about the racist comments? You’re entitled to your opinion just like everyone else on this comment thread. Obviously we don’t know anything about each other and I wouldn’t presume to judge your background or anything else about you. You disagreed with the review of this book and I thought that the reviewer did a good job, considering all the stereotypes and everything else in it. Let’s agree to disagree. It’s almost 1.00 A.M. my time and I should be in bed.

          Have a good evening.
          PS I apologised in another comment. I realize that your comment was not directed at me but at another commenter. This is what happens when you’re not fully awake. :(

          • Wave, my comments were for M who replied to my 11-word comment. I did not take the comments you made much higher up in the responses personally. I did not respond to them or to any other commenter until M replied to mine. I respect your opinion and that’s why I visit your blog. I felt insulted by the tone of this review, that’s all. But, we seriously disagree, if you think it’s OK for a person commenting on the review to be attacked and lectured to as I was by M. Sleep well.

            • I just realized that the comments were switched. I apologise. Obviously I’m too tired from packing to see straight.

              You can smack me tomorrow when I’m awake. :)

  • I wanted to add few comments in response to several comments. I absolutely agree that there is a lot of fetish like writing of gay men in mm literature, and I find a lot of it just as annoying as I find annoying the ugly portrayal of women in so many mm books (this one is not the first and not the last sadly which I can add to the long, long list). It beats me why we cannot be annoyed by both and attempt to avoid both. Do I want to censor writers? Of course not, I think the writer has a right to write anything he chooses to write about, and I as a reader have a right to say exactly what I think about the subject of his writing. Now, I do not understand how attempt not to offend is somehow equal to censorship. True, people have different criteria of what they consider offensive and writer should not worry about pleasing anybody, but is this so hard to guess that if you repeatedly call your readers – NOT the characters in your book, your readers who may not like your books bitches, that a lot of your readers may think of it as offensive?
    That had nothing to do with the story, and if asking to refrain from name calling now equals censorship, well I guess I disagree with that argument.

  • I couldn’t finish the book. I think the reviewer did a splendid job in citing the reasons. I also have to add if straight women are writing gay men wrong, then are men writing female characters wrong and female writers writing male characters wrong. Lets not open up the hypocrisy there. I think unless you’re that demographic you will never know that culture, race, religion etc – but you definitely will do your level best to make sure you’re not writing something that is offensive. Some people found it offensive and others did not; neither is wrong. Oh and I agree if straight women stopped buying M/M I highly doubt the genre would last for very long. I found this book to have a meanness to it personally, and maybe the author neve intended that – but it definitely came across that way to me.

  • Pretty much everything you said. I was the first person on GR to give it a 2 star rating, and if you had removed the misogyny and racism inherent in the characterization of Paul, it would still be a rambling mess of ADD stream of conscientiousness that needed an edit BADLY. I am fairly certain that if a woman had written about “vaginas” in that manner, she’d have been strung up on GR’s from a pole, so not sure why Klune got a pass from most readers.

    Lastly, I didn’t understand the humor, thought the breach of the 4th wall, while funny on Moonlighting and other TV shows, was stupid in the prologue, as it completely made me dislike Paul. The only reason I gave the book 2 stars was Sandy. After not liking BOATK and this book, I’ve decided that Mr. Klune and I have vastly different tastes in what I consider to be a well-written book, so I’ve decided to not read him anymore. I get that other readers adore him, loved this book and that’s well and good because I know not everyone loves paranormals the way I do. Which is why differing reading tastes for different folk is great! *g*

    Awesome review.

  • I haven’t read this book but I have seen some of the reviews both positive and negative. I think though, maybe we need to tone down the outrage about how this is so insulting to women considering how many m/m books written are insulting to gay men. When we’re not having them raped & tortured & falling in love with their rapists, we’re having them saying things no gay man would ever say or practically reciting poems during sex. There’s a lot of fetishizing of gay men in some of these books and gay men have a lot to complain about in how they’re portrayed. It feels like one little book that has the words vagina too many times and we’re practically exploding with outrage. Over reaction.

    Do some gay people have a little hostility towards women? Probably. You see it when they do things like try to ban women from gay bars. If a writer wants to present such a character, he should be able to do so without people taking it so personally. I thought there was big complaints about the stagnancy of m/m romance and we wanted new things and situations. I’ve read books where the mc is an asshole from start to finish–no change or redemption and getting 5 star reviews. Is the bottom line characters can do anything except be hostile to women?

    It also comes across as if you’re accusing this author of having the same misogyny as his characters. That’s a big no for me when you start reviewing the author instead of the book.

    • How can you say it’s an overreaction if you have not read the book? What about the Sassy Black Nurse and Slutty Hispanic Waiter? Is racial stereotyping also acceptable because a gay man wrote this book? Further more, the author and the narrator live in the same town, have the same job, and both have interest in writing romance novels. Klune opens himself to correlations, especially since racial comments and reader attacks have found their way into his books before.

    • Mary
      It also comes across as if you’re accusing this author of having the same misogyny as his characters. That’s a big no for me when you start reviewing the author instead of the book.
      I read the review twice and I don’t see where the reviewer accused the author of misogyny. She said that about his character and IMO she reviewed the book not the author. You may disagree, of course, but I see a number of comments agreeing with her review and assessment of this book. On this site we disagree politely.

      Re your comment about authors not being permitted to be hostile to women, I wrote a post (with Sean Kennedy and Jenre) way back in 2009 about women bashing in M/M books by their own sex, mostly, so this is not a recent phenomenon. However, in this case I believe the book was racist as well so I’m not surprised that such an unpleasant MC would cause readers to react so negatively to him. If I had reviewed this book my reaction to the racial stereotyping and women bashing would have been even stronger.

      I think this is tame compared to the reviews on Goodreads where the negative comments about this book go on ad infinitum.

      Re your comment about how gay men are treated in M/M books, I have written many blog posts about that topic too. Raping and pillaging of gay men in M/M books seems to be a trope that female writers love and no amount of criticism will ever get them to change, so I don’t read those books either because I don’t personally enjoy them.

      I realize you don’t agree with this review but on this site we treat everyone politely.

      Thank you for stopping by.

  • I’d like to respectfully disagree with Danaura. There are entire blog posts and forums dedicated to the issue of M/M Romance being marketed specifically to straight female readers. Most of those blog posts and forums are written by gay men who write gay lit. This book is not gay lit. Anyone who reads gay lit will tell you why it is quite different from what is being marketed as M/M Romance by indie publishers in this genre. Klune knows who is readers are, he would be blind not to see who is all over his Facebook page. The tone of the book was definitely mean-spirited and read like a jab at readers, readers savvy enough to get it, anyway. He should have known better but honestly, DSP is to blame here. They should know when to put their author on a short leash. There will be backlash if this level of unedited Klune manuscripts becomes a regular occurrence.

    I was also quite surprised that this book had not one, but two, racial stereotypes displayed quite prominently in the few non-white characters that were represented. This isn’t the first time i have seen this from this author. No thanks in the future.

  • Lena, thanks for the review. I agree with Danaura’s statement that an author should write to the character’s true voice without worrying about which reader demographics will find it offensive.

    But your rating here was never meant as an attempt to tell the author how to write. It reflects one reader’s view of the ratio of entertaining stuff to not-entertaining stuff in a book — whether the book was fun for you to read.

    But fortunately we have reviews to fill out the reasons for the ratings, and I think you did an even-handed job of showing the readers what the character’s voice is in this book so they can decide for themselves if they want to read it.

    • Thanks, Val. I tried really hard not to rant. I appreciate your appreciation.

      To be clear though, if there had been no derogatory references to the female anatomy at all, I would have rated this the same. Maybe it would have been 1.75 stars. The book was a rambling mess, especially in the first part. The humor was totally contrived, with not only the snark overdose, but with way, way too much slaptstick (with tons of klutziness, poop, vomit, farts and anthropomorphic animals). Every genuinely funny scene was derailed by slapstick. Vince’s dumbness was built on sand. The breaking of the 4th wall in the first and last chapters was grating. The side characters were all boring stereotypes (not only the colored ones). I didn’t like it, regardless.

  • Great review. I was so-so on BOATK based on the rambling and flashbacks so wasn’t sure about this one. Thank heavens I waited since I know now I would have hated it. Undoubtedly Klune’s style is not for me.

  • Oh, your review made me laugh! I’m actually reading this book now – I have about twenty pages left – and although I probably don’t dislike it as much as you do, I can agree with you on most points. The misogyny in particular wore me down – there are enough, often young, women out there already too concerned and worried about their vaginas (and having surgery to improve what doesn’t need improving), once was acceptable, even twice or three times but after that – it got old! Gay men’s point of view? Maybe, (though I like to think most adults are less judgmental even about things they don’t know much about) but then why did even Paul’s dad have to join in on it?

    Usually I read one book at the time, but with this I’ve taken pauses and read an other book in between. And you say it should be a realistic take on instant love? Hmm, and here I was telling myself it was anything but realistic. The twoleged dog? Really? I assumed dogs that injured were put to sleep. And the parrot? Quite funny,but definitely not realistic how he interacted with first Paul and then Vince. I still have had a few good laughs while reading, and would probably rate it higher than you have, unless the end really makes me groan. I’ll have to go and find out.

  • An excellent review, Lena. I don’t agree on all points, but I do agree that the inner and the sometimes nonsensical dialog seemed overly long. I rolled my eyes in some instances when “vagina” was used yet again. I had commented on a thread where almost everyone LOVED the story that it seemed to me like a singer with a fabulous voice who carries the vocal acrobatics on a song much longer than necessary. It doesn’t enhance the song and it just becomes showing off. I thought as I read – yes, yes, you are very clever and funny, but let’s please move the story along rather than continue ad nauseam with the mental masturbation. Yes, I thought it was funny. I just thought the author did not do himself any favors by the overkill. I probably would give it 2.5 or 3 stars in a review, but I respect your viewpoint and applaud you for your honest opinion.

  • I loved this book! I wasn’t ever offended. I thought it was probably the funniest thing I’ve read since Sno Ho. This just goes to show you that we all have a different idea of what we think is funny. At no time in this book did Paul express hate for women. He just thinks girly bits are gross like many gay men. I guess the fact I don’t find it offense when someone calls someone a “dick” , so, I’m also not offended when someone calls someone a “vagina”

    • I think that’s a bit different though. I wouldn’t have bat an eye if it had read ‘now he was waking up in Bear Dude’s bed, because I was a gigantic pussy.’ Technically it means the same thing, but it’s an acceptable colloquialism, like ‘dick’ is too. And I don’t think I have ever read anything that describes in detail why penises are disgusting. But maybe that is rampant in lesbian lit, I don’t know.

      But as Sara said, downthread, it was the repetition more than anything else that made it grating to me.

  • Omg – word with everything you said. Somebody loaned me this book – if I had to pay for it I would have been even more annoyed. Funny thing as I mentioned elsewhere in the rare one percent of the time Paul was not joking I actually liked him . But I hated his jokes, I wanted to punch him and tell him to shut up when vagina talk got unbearable, constant calling the teaser who may not finish – bitch was just icing on the cake. I usually give two tries if I hated the first book by the writer and even though because of secondary characters I liked this one a tiny tiny bit better than Bear it is very clear to me that TJ Klune’s writing does not suit me – it is a guarantee that I will never pick up another book by him again. Oh and I just want to see this picture when women will stop reading mm romance. Something tells me no authors of mm romance wants that. Great review.

  • I saw that same blog post, and that’s what tipped me into real enthusiasm for this book, sure I’d love it. But then I started seeing some of the reviews, and became a bit less sure and less enthusiastic. But this review clinches it, I don’t think this book is for me.

    In the first chapter Paul talks directly to the reader. Not subtle, with an occasional aside to the reader, no, he tears the 4th wall down and dances on the rubble.

    Especially considering I just bitched in my latest review about breaking the fourth wall, that sounds truly awful to me. :sad: 😮 Breaking the fourth wall can work, in my opinion, but it’s very, very rare that it actually does. I agree with Buda, there should be combat pay. Chocolate, I think. :forit:

  • Great review, Lena. Sounds charming. I actually downloaded the Kindle sample just last night. The bit about calling readers bitches if they didn’t finish the book took me aback. When the short ghost-“on-the-rag” story and the tuna-feeding grandmother followed in short order, I knew the bad was only going to get worse. You deserve combat pay for this one! Be sure to turn in the voucher to Wave. :)

    • Buda

      You deserve combat pay for this one! Be sure to turn in the voucher to Wave.

      You know I take no responsibility when a reviewer chooses a book to review. 😮 She’s on her own here, but what a baptism of fire.

  • I actually loved this book. I thought it was so light, funny and endearing. I am a woman, and a huge feminist, but the vagina talk didn’t bother me. That was the voice of Paul, and I know lots of gay guys that use it. It’s a slang and less representative of true feelings towards women. I’m not saying it is or isn’t ok, but it is real. Also, just because women read these books, I don’t think that means authors has to write for that. This author (who I don’t know or care about the gender of) is writing a book about a gay guy…that’s the voice that should be used. If women don’t like it, then don’t read it. Some of my white friends read books that are geared towards black audiences. If they read them and don’t like the way white people are talked about, then don’t read them. I don’t think its the author’s job to tone down their dialogue to suit an audience that may or may not be the people reading the book. These AREN’T books for straight women…they are LGBT books for everyone and anyone. Lots of straight women might read them but I don’t think that entitles them to extra consideration from the author. Maybe that author is writing a queer book for queer people. As a lesbian who reads LGBTQ lit, I don’t expect my POV to be the one the author is trying to reach at the exclusion of others. I know lots of gay guys who would find this character really relatable.

    I loved this book! Bear, Otter and the Kid was pretty good, but this one just grabbed me!

    • If I had had the luxury of DNF-ing this book, I would have. But once you’re committed to reviewing it, you’re committed to reading the whole thing. Whether women are bothered by the way Paul uses vaginas as a derogative term or not is a personal issue. One that I think is important to point out, just like you’d point out rape scenes, in case people have a problem with it. I think I explained in detail why it bothered me in this case, even if it is true to life. If it it didn’t bother you, great, but that doesn’t mean my opinion on this is invalid. And, you know, I probably would not have been as bothered if Paul had shown any kind of appreciation for any people (women or men) outside of his tiny little circle of friends and family. I know the humor in this is supposed to be snarky and sarcastic, but there is only so much snarkiness you can dish out before it becomes mean spirited. Apparently you have a higher tolerance for that than I do.

      These may not be books specifically FOR straight women, but believe me, Dreamspinner would go out of business in a week if straight women stopped reading this stiff. I don’t feel entitled to any extra consideration, but I would think DSP would be a little more careful to not alienate a large part of their clientele. It’s not like the story would have changed significantly if the vaginas had gone missing.

      • I wanted to reply to this part in particular:

        “I don’t feel entitled to any extra consideration, but I would think DSP would be a little more careful to not alienate a large part of their clientele”

        Just the other day on this blog we were discussing how the publishers should care less about cashing in and now we say they should avoid certain topics just because some of the readers could not like them? So authors should not write accordingly to their stories but accordingly to what some readers might feel? I guess someone next will ask to stop writing about rape in books. Maybe I could ask authors to stop writing about shape shifters because I don’t like them and many others feel like me. That is not the way to write books, in my opinion. And censoring the author’s muse shouldn’t be the way to go for a publisher either.

    • I completely agree with Danaura. An author doesn’t have to write based on what he thinks the readers will like but according to what the story in his mind is telling him. I think it’s wrong and presumptuous to expect writers to write what we like. Yes, it’s true that a lot of women, especially straight women, buy m/m books, but does that mean an author has to write for them? I think what an author should always do is being truthful to what the story in his mind is telling him. Paul is a character one can like or dislike, but it’s a character and a fictional character doesn’t have to always be respectful of women. Besides, men do say things like that about women just like women think a lot of things men do are gross. It is true, it does happen, and an author portraying it doesn’t mean he meant to be disrespectful to his female readers.
      Last thing, parts of this review feels like the author of it is judging the writer more than the book, which, I agree with someone who commented below, is a big NO for me in a review.

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