Title: Boy Midflight (Second Edition)
Author: Charlie David
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: July 4, 2016
Page Count: 200
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 2.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
At eighteen, Ashley seems to have everything: looks, talent, and even a girlfriend. What more could a young man want? Yet something is missing, and he has to come to terms with his sexuality and the possible implications for his career in the public eye. He begins dating Chris but isn’t sure he’s head over heels in love. It’s not the knight-in-shining-armor feeling he always imagined.
When Ashley is offered a big modeling job, he leaves his university in small-town Canada for a very different life in sunny Los Angeles, California. There he meets a slightly older man who makes him feel like he’s in a storybook romance. But is Ashley ready for real love, or is it just infatuation? The world is spread out before him, at once limitless and daunting, full of endless possibilities one moment and opportunities cut short the next.
Ashley floats between certainty and confusion as he tries to unravel new feelings, deal with past pain, and decide what he wants from life—and who he wants beside him during the journey.
In his forward, Charlie David describes Boy Midflight as “nothing fancy, just a teenager telling a love story.” Ashley (single, gay, terrified) is 18 and attending a performing arts college in Victoria BC. The first part of Boy Midflight explores the balance between indecision and crisis that exemplifies being 18 and trying to find your way through the minefield of life, love and relationships.
Toward the end of the school year, Ashley gets a modeling contract in L.A. while his boyfriend Chris and the rest of his friends get contracts working on cruise ships, at Butchart Gardens, summer theatre, etc. Ashley arrives in L.A. determined to nurture a long-distance relationship with Chris, but soon finds himself distracted and attracted to Mikal, a fellow model going through his own minefield of indecision about his sexuality. Ashley and Mikal have an intriguing chemistry even though the sex is mostly off-page.
While the book is fairly short (200 pages), the middle seemed slow and a bit out of focus, as we are introduced to the other models and their back stories. And frankly, while it was interesting to get into the mind of an 18 year old, I grew a bit weary of the angst toward the end of the book. I liked the endless possibilities that the HFN ending gave the story.
After finishing the book and reflecting for a time, it struck me how Charlie David toys with the notion of puer aeternus — Latin for eternal boy.
“Ashley, you are a Puer Aeternus.” “I’m a what?” “Puer Aeternus, the eternal boy. Peter Pan. You can’t stay in one place too long. You like the idea of relationships and growing up, but you flee them.”
Many of the characters in Boy Midflight ebb and flow in much the same way. Mikal floats between wanting a relationship with Ashley and equally wanting to escape into his fears. Chris wants Ashley, but is torn about breaking up with his boyfriend Jeremy. Ashley is with Mikal, yet feels the need to meet once more with Chris … who wants to resume a relationship with Ashley.
In summary, Boy Midflight was an enjoyable read (a bit too angsty at times) but it also felt raw and unfinished – flush with possibilities not realized, much like youth itself.