Title: The Thing I Didn’t Know I Didn’t Know (Russel Middlebrook: The Futon Years #1)
Author: Brent Hartinger and Josh Hurley (Narrator)
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: May 18th 2015
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary
Length: 6 hrs and 43 mins
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
“I guess this was what they meant by a loss of innocence. Who knew?”
Russel Middlebrook is twenty-three years old, gay, and living in trendy Seattle, but life isn’t keeping up with the hype. Most of his friends have a direction in life—either ruthlessly pursuing their careers or passionately embracing their own aimlessness. But Russel is stuck in place. All he knows is that crappy jobs, horrible dates, and pointless hook-ups just aren’t cutting it anymore.
What’s the secret? What does everyone else know that he doesn’t?
Enter Kevin, Russel’s perfect high school boyfriend. Could rekindling an old flame be the thing Russel needs to get his life back on track? Or maybe the answer lies in a new friend, an eccentric screenwriter named Vernie Rose, who seems plenty wise. Or what the hell? Maybe Russel will find some answers by joining his best friend Gunnar’s crazy search for the legendary Bigfoot!
One way or another, Russel is determined to learn the all-important secret to life, even if it’s a thing he doesn’t even know he doesn’t know.
The Thing I Didn’t Know I Didn’t Know was my introduction to Russel Middlebrook. I haven’t read the young adult Russel Middlebrook series , but I didn’t feel like I needed to in order to enjoy this more New Adult version of the character.
23 year old Russel graduated Magna Cum Laude with a double major in psychology and political science from the University of Washington, but he doesn’t want to go into those fields and is paying back student loans and his portion of rent on his friend Gunnar’s houseboat by working two crappy jobs as a lifeguard and in a bread shop. He feels like everyone has it more together than he does, while he just flounders around trying to figure out what to do with his life.
You see, Russel figures he’s surrounded by people who have either an Unstoppable Career Drive or Passionate Aimlessness and he feels like he’s missing something. His crappy jobs, unsatisfying hookups, and horrible dates just aren’t cutting it anymore. When he saves the life of an eccentric older woman who later befriends him he gets some much appreciated lessons in life.
I explained how envious I was of my friends Min and Gunnar for having Unstoppable Career Drive and Passionate Aimlessness when I didn’t have either, and how it seemed like everyone around me was on one of those two tracks. Everyone except me.
Vernie leaned in closer. “I’ll let you in on a little secret. It’s not just your friends, and it’s not just now. Those have always been the two choices in life, at least if you wanna be happy.”
Cute, humorous at times, and with interesting characters, even though it got a little lost in itself at times, it always managed to find its way back. However, it is the narration that made this truly enjoyable for me. Josh Hurley really does an excellent job with the different character voices, silliness and seriousness of the story. It’s all about finding yourself and growing up, even when you think you should already have all the answers. We’re all just a work in progress.
While this was my first Brent Hartinger story, I’m definitely going to check out Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams (Russel Middlebrook: The Futon Years #2) and see where Russel’s road leads him next.
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