Title: Dancing Dirty
Author: Ryan Field
Publisher: Riverdale Avenue Books
Release Date: May 24, 2017
Genre(s): Historical (1970’s) Romance
Page Count: 206
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5
It’s the summer of 1978, it’s the middle of the disco era, and dancing is one of the hottest trends. But 18 year old Junior has never seen the inside of a gay bar or danced with another man. His mother and father think he’s just shy about meeting girls and that he’ll grow out of it. His little sister drives him insane with her constant invisible companion, a talking dog named Elmer. All Junior cares about is meeting the right man and falling in love.
But when his parents buy a summer home in an exclusive resort community in the mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania, his prospects of finding love don’t look too promising. His first day there he meets an aggressive, abrasive young woman who isn’t the least bit shy about letting him know she wants to get to know him better. And the more he ignores her, the more she chases after him.
While his mother and father are enjoying all the amenities of the resort, and his sister is flirting with one of the waiters, Junior mopes around watching everyone else have fun. That is until he meets a handsome young dance instructor named Carlo who changes his life in ways he’d never dreamed were possible.
From the minute Junior lays eyes on Carlo, he knows he’s in love. And in order to prove his love, he’s willing to make personal sacrifices that no one else has ever been willing to make for Carlo…
You are either going to enjoy Dancing Dirty because it’s based on the movie “Dirty Dancing” or you’re going to dislike Dancing Dirty … because it’s based on the movie “Dirty Dancing.”
This book is basically a retelling of the 1987 movie, which was set in 1963 in the Catskills. Field has updated the story to 1978 and set the story in a resort community in Pennsylvania. Baby is Junior and Johnny Castle is Carlo and yup, “Nobody puts Junior in the corner.” The dance that Junior and Carlo perform is at a Leather Party complete with Junior in a black leather vest, ass-less chaps and leather boots with 4″ heels. Oooh, baby.
Dancing Dirty is very faithful to the events of the movie (with the addition of Elmer, an imaginary dog), but it also works fairly well as a M/M romance. In an echo of Baby’s speech to her father, Junior tells his father:
If you love me, you’ll understand that I didn’t choose to be who I am and I didn’t do it to hurt you. I love you, Dad, and I can apologize for what I did with Stella and the money. But I can’t apologize for who I am.
While Junior and Carlo have some very sexy scenes (okay, quite a few), we don’t get Carlo’s POV and I didn’t feel that zing of chemistry between the two. Max Kellerman’s grandson Neil from the movie has been recast as Valerie and I did not like the way the author portrayed Valerie – described as a large girl, with puffy hands, big feet, frizzy hair, and obnoxious manners. Finally occasionally the author breaks the fourth wall by directly addressing the reader (mostly to explain how things were like in 1978) and I found this disconcerting.