Title: Becoming Kerry
Author: Lynn Kelling
Publisher: Forbidden Fiction Publishing
Release Date: August 8th 2017
Page Count: 455
Reviewed by: Ele
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Kerry Sanderson’s life is falling apart. He’s crushing himself to fit into the boxes others have put him in: dutiful son, good boyfriend, real man. But even the small rebellions he’s fought for himself—moving into a sketchy part of town and becoming an exotic dancer—aren’t giving him the freedom he needs. Ewyn Garrity, a security guard at the gay club where Kerry dances, has found himself in protecting others. Everyone thinks he’s striaght, but Ewyn doesn’t fit into simple boxes, either. When he meets Kerry, he makes a not completely innocent offer of company after work.
Ewyn and Kerry hit it off, each finding something he desperately needs in the other. But when Kerry is forced to confront the pain and self-doubt that keep him crushed in his boxes, he’s afraid that no one, not even Ewyn, will be able to love who he is when he finally, truly becomes Kerry.
(M/M, M/Genderqueer – See publisher’s page for content labels.)
“So I’m not hurting you?”
“Hurting me? You’ve stolen my heart. Ripped the bloody thing right out of my chest so you can carry it around with you. It’s the best kind of hurt in the world.”
Lynn Kelling, you don’t do anything half measure, do you? I don’t do this kind of angst for just any author anymore. Abuse and violence is so needlessly overused in MM, I try to steer clear. I still read this author, though, because despite the heavy issues, things happen for a reason, and serve a purpose. There is always truth, emotion and realism in a Lynn Kelling book, and Becoming Kerry was no exception.
This is a very angsty book. It’s also very busy. Tragedies just keep happening. But because of its length, and the way the author chooses to unfold it -slowly but steadily-, I was never overwhelmed. Kerry’s truths reveal themselves gradually, one after the other.
Becoming Kerry is almost like a character study. Plotwise, things keep happening, sure. But the characters themselves, and the change within them are the two things that drive the plot.
Kerry just doesn’t fit. The boxes his family, friends and society created are just too constricting for him. He’s full of self-doubt, guilt, and denial. Until he can’t deny the simplest of truths for himself anymore.
As for Ewyn…He might just be one of my favorite book boyfriends. While for other people Kerry is blurring important lines, for Ewyn there are no lines at all. Ewyn just lets Kerry be.
At first, I was put off by his intensity, the way he just takes over. But I soon realised that this was exactly what Kerry needs. Honestly, without Ewyn, I don’t know what would have happened to Kerry. In his presence, Kerry will blossom.
I never thought that I’d love a book featuring a genderqueer character as much as I loved Anna Martin’s The Impossible Boy. But I did. I loved Becoming Kerry, in a different way but with the same intensity.
In her note, Lynn Kelling states: “I never intended to please everyone with this story; I needed only to please Kerry.”. That was the first sign for me that this was going to be a good story. And she did make Kerry happy. She really, really did, and screw everyone who thinks otherwise.
P.S. I suggest that you don’t skip the publisher’s disclaimer in the beginning of the book. It’s important.