Title: The Guy in the Window
Author: Cara Dee
Release Date: November 9, 2019
Genre(s): Age gap, First time, Straight-to-gay
Page Count: 190
Reviewed by: ParisDude
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
I was in the middle of my divorce when Adam messaged me. I believe his exact words were, “Hi. I think you’re my dad’s brother. Would you like to get to know me?”
My brother and I had never been close, so I’d only met his adopted son a few times when he was very young. Instinct told me to ignore the message, and I did. For a few days. It took an exhausting fight with my soon-to-be ex-wife and half a bottle of whiskey for me to change my mind.
Adam first became “sort of my nephew.” Next, he became the guy who helped me find an apartment in the building next to his. He was a sweet, cheerful young man doing his best to raise his four-year-old daughter, which led to him becoming the guy who wanted to help me patch up my relationship with my own daughter.
Then one night as I got ready for bed, I looked across the alleyway to the next building, where I saw him getting ready for bed too.
I couldn’t look away to save my life.
It was the night he also became the guy in the window.
Jeez, when I checked the latest reviews on this site, I noticed I’d missed to publish my own review of this book before the Release Day; I hadn’t even started reading it. In something akin to slight panic—I hate to be late—I therefore put away my other reading projects, to be finished later, and opened this book yesterday afternoon, telling myself I’d go as far as I could, then finish maybe today or one of these days if it didn’t draw me in. Well, that’s not at all what happened. I read it in one swift go. As soon as I had started, I was in the story; I was that hunky, clueless Chicagoan silver fox, struggling with my life, my soon-to-be-ex-wife, my somewhat estranged daughter, and a handsome-as-hell, hitherto-almost-unknown nephew and his cute, 4-year-old daughter. And when I closed the book, I was looking around myself, almost puzzled my boyfriend would speak French with me and not US-English and that what I saw from my window was not the Chicago cityscape, but my sleepy and posh Parisian suburb.
And yet, there were things that shouldn’t appeal to me, things I normally don’t like to read about. Here’s the list:
• The age gap-thing. Everett, the main character who tells 90% of the story as the first-person narrator, is described as, let’s be polite, a mature man. Meaning he’s 45 (as a personal aside, that was the only thing that made me gasp—I’m 47, see, and I never ever feel as old as Everett says he’s feeling; but then, I barely feel like an adult most of the time, so maybe that doesn’t count; but silver fox, indeed… I auto-LOLed myself several times when trying to apply that word to myself). And the man he’s falling in love, his nephew Adam, is 27.
• The family-thing. Even though Adam is Everett’s brother’s adopted son, so there’s no blood bond or genetic link, and even though both have only met once, when the kid was four, I surprised myself wrinkling my nose in the beginning. Then I sat down (with the book in hands, mind you) to have a cigarette and think about my gut-reaction and ponder on the strength and power of these social taboos, which keep us in their thrall even in cases where they don’t apply.
• The kinky sex-thing. I’m not really very keen on reading about domination, subs, and humiliation. I know some get off on that stuff, and good for them, variety makes this world a better place is what I always say. But it doesn’t do much for me.
• The kid-thing. Adam has a daughter by a surrogate mother, and we encounter her throughout the novel. It’s not that I dislike kids; I just don’t need to have them in a plot.
So. Four major reasons for me to not like this book. And yet. None of them bothered me in the slightest; I’d even say, they made up a huge part of what I liked about the plot and the characters. The age gap-thing allowed the author to show us a mature man who has a mature man’s life, with professional success, a good position on the social ladder, a wee wifey (well, not for long), a house, a daughter attending college. And a young man with several jobs who’s also a single gay dad with no interest in dating other guys for the moment. And then, Cara Dee simply flips the whole thing, and the mature guy is the one who is completely clueless about what’s going on in his life, who needs to get his shit together; and the youngster is the one who looks and acts and reacts with common sense and thought and determination. Very clever, very cleverly done, too.
The uneasiness triggered off by the family-thing simply vanished at one moment, not because the uncle-nephew-connection wasn’t mentioned anymore (it is, all the time) but because having smoked my ciggie and pondered as described above, I realized I simply couldn’t care less. The kinky sex was, I have to admit, steamy and arousing even for me, who isn’t into it. Well described, never too much, never too little, just the right amount to push the story forward and make you love the characters even more. Even the kid was a major plus because she’s so cute and witty I fell a bit in love with her and even felt, for a moment, like I was missing something in my life, what with being childless and bound to remain so.
So all in all, none of the subplots I normally dislike put me off. The book was so well-paced and well-written that everything fell in place very naturally and created a harmonious whole. I wondered afterwards why I had enjoyed the read so much, and I realized it was the totally angst-free atmosphere throughout the book. People have issues, people try to get their shit together, pardon my French, and there a opportunities galore to create tension, drama, crises. And yet, very soothingly, the people in this book believe in one essential thing that I hope we’ll all learn to cherish one day: if you talk, if you share, if you don’t hide your feelings and thoughts, almost any problem can be solved. Together. Talking with each other is what grown-ups do to avoid conflict, drama, crises (the one thing I try to do like an adult). And then I understood why I liked Adam and Everett and little Bella so much. They talked things through, they explained themselves to each other. Plus—huge plus—there was a lot of love they shared openly.