Title: Educating the Professor
Author: Sean Michael
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: February 5th, 2019
Page Count: 200
Reviewed by: Kirstin
Heat Level: 4.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Kenneth Brannigan is a small-town history professor. He’s happy with his life, loves the classes he teaches, and lives in a tiny apartment in a converted house with his best friend, Tim, next door. He’s still recovering from a bad breakup and is content to stick to his comfortable routine. It’s Tim who insists he come to the Queer Alliance’s Rainbow Mixer.
At the mixer, Kenn meets David Burgundy, a new-to-town TA who is working on his masters. Dave is drawn immediately to Kenn and is thrilled when Kenn offers to show him the best pizza place in town. One meal leads to two, which leads to Dave and Kenn spending most of their free time together… and Kenn loosening his self-imposed rules regarding dating and sex for some kinky fun.
Kenn’s ex isn’t going to just let Kenn be, though, and the happier Kenn is with Dave, the less the ex likes it. Will Kenn continue to run away from his past, or will his relationship with Dave help him face it head-on?
I have some serious mixed reviews on this one and I’m trying to wrap my head around them. On the whole, the story was engaging, the characters were true to life and enigmatic, but I found the dialogue between them lacking and sometimes even bordering on weird.
At the start, Kenn is portrayed as a somewhat reclusive history professor who was admired by his colleagues and cherished by his students. In his small college town, he was well known and had a quite large set of groupies following his lectures. When his best friend and fellow professor guilts him into attending a school mixer, he meets grad student/professor Dave, and he’s overwhelmed by his feelings towards him.
Here’s where I started getting confused. Kenn had a past and it was brutal. He told Dave from the start that he wasn’t ready to start anything, yet he spent all of his free time with him. He constantly spoke of being an introvert, yet was always with people, going out, wanting to spend time with Dave.
Another issue I had was the way Dave spoke to him. At times it felt like he was talking down to a child. And the responses from Kenn were always short (yes, okay, no). Most of the middle of the book continued on like this. It wasn’t really until they found their groove, finally, in an unexpected way that Kenn finally got some confidence and actually articulated his feelings and wants as well as needs, but at that point I just felt like Dave had steamrolled him. It very much felt like an uneven relationship to me.
As I mentioned, I was intrigued enough to see where the story would take me to read it fully and it ended as I’d expected, so there were no surprises there, but I just got a wholly weirded out vibe from the entire relationship. Again, this is just me and my humble opinion.