Title: Ringo and the Sunshine Police
Author: Nick Wilgus
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: February 24th 2017
Genre(s): Family, MM Contemporary, Disability, Children
Page Count: 300
Reviewed by: LenaRibka
Heat Level: 1 flames out of 5
Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5
Thomas, an older gay musician living in a small Southern town, is ready to start a family. He fosters Jeremy, a special needs boy with no arms, and teaches him to play the drums so Jeremy can realize his potential to do anything he wants. Though it takes time, Thomas’s closeted boyfriend Randy steps out of the shadows to be part of what Thomas is working to build. With the advent of marriage equality, it’s a different world in the Deep South—one where the three of them have the chance to be a family.
Yet no one said it would be easy, and they soon learn the foster care system is far from perfect.
Just as Jeremy begins to settle in and thrive, his biological father reappears, demanding custody. Thomas and Randy know the man is unfit to care for Jeremy, but the law says otherwise. It seems they’re the only ones looking out for Jeremy’s best interests, and they face an uphill battle if they want to keep their new family together.
First, I’d like to thank the author and express my respect for his commitment to the topic of parenting and adoption of children in need. If his books could help ONLY ONE child to find a loving family, then he did a great job. Because as readers we all know the power of written words, the power of fiction, it can do much more than all impressive numbers of dry statistics.
Nick Wilgus is one of a few, if not the only author in a MM contemporary genre, who managed to create a child character who belongs to the best part of the plot. Yes, I’m talking about his Sugar Tree series. I love the first two books in this series to pieces, not so much Go Tell It on the Mountains, the third book in it. Unfortunately Ringo and the Sunshine Police reminds me rather of the third book in this emotional series.
With all due respect for a difficult subject and the courage to write about it, I have to rate this book as a literary work, and I have to admit, this book did not meet my expectations. There were heartwarming and intense scenes, but on the whole my impression after finishing it –repetitive and superficial.
I missed the depth in the character’s development and in the story itself that is normally so typical for Nick Wilgus books.
Thomas, a former front man of a “one-hit-wonder” band is fifty one year old and at last got closer to his life dream – he wants to be a foster father for a kid with special needs that no one wants. After two years of parenting classes he can face Jeremy, a seven-year-old boy, who was born without arms and whose single mother died in a fire in their trailer. Jeremy is not an easy kid, not only because of his handicap, but Thomas finds a way in boy’s heart, with a lot of feeling, love, affection and patience. When everything has been settled and a long awaited dream of Thomas about a small happy family seems to become true, suddenly Jeremy’s biological father reappears and demands custody.
- I don’t want to question a custody system in the USA: Laws can be ridiculously unfair, we all know it. However, it is difficult to imagine that a judge could grant custody to a man, who indeed has the same blood- no wonder he is a sperm donor – but who has never cared about his existence. Who besides being an ex-con without a job, lives in a trailer full of garbage inside and outside, not to mention the absence of any living conditions for a child with this exceptional handicap. And whose only interest in custody is a check on disability his son gets from the government monthly. I was angry about the law reading it, but I still can imagine that it is the way how it is. But I was angry at Thomas, how easy he gave up on Jeremy. Hadn’t his partner insisted on visiting Jeremy in Alabama, he would have never found out what life the boy was doomed to live.
The repetitions became even more obvious when a new foster boy appeared in the story. Aside from the fact that I really hate how it was done- the previous boy is gone, but don’t worry, we have a replacement for you. FGS!, I noticed that my weak connection to the characters that I tried to uphold with all my heart broken apart completely. Less is sometimes more.
If you have never read anything by the author, I would recommend you to chose another book as an introduction to Nick Wilgus writing.