I love reading. Losing yourself in another world in the pages of a good book has to be one of life’s greatest pleasures. It’s also a perfect way to escape the worries and problems of this crazy world. I’ll be sharing some of the books I enjoy in case they provide inspiration for your next reading adventure.
I didn’t expect to enjoy The Last Romeo by Justin Myers as much as I did. It’s smart, funny and sometimes flat-out cringeworthy. I couldn’t put it down (unlike Less by Andrew Sean Greer, my last read, which for me was like wading through treacle).
But I really cared what happened to James, alias Romeo, who takes to the internet to blog about his search for “the one” (the Last Romeo) after he finally ends his 6 year relationship with critical and controlling Adam.
The descriptions of disastrous dates are acerbic, hilarious and memorable. There are also moments of real warmth and connection.
While the stakes are low when the blog has virtually no readers (how well I know that feeling!), as Romeo’s popularity and notoriety grow you have the sinking feeling that it’s all going to go horribly wrong.
So when James/Romeo blogs about his relationship with Nate, a well-known athlete who is desperate to hide his sexuality, James finds himself in the middle of an internet storm of speculation and vitriol.
Although I didn’t approve of some of the decisions James makes, I couldn’t help but root for him all the way through as he loses his way and gains self-knowledge. I devoured the book, giving up sleep to the mutual quest for a happy ending.
The blog format works well as a framework for the narrative, giving the novel a distinctive, economical style and legitimising the quirky humour. The central characters are well-drawn – very real and human. James is flawed (who isn’t?) but his loyal friends remind us that he’s fundamentally a good guy who’s worth standing by.
If you’re looking for an original, light read to put a smile on your face (when you’re not cringing, that is), you could do a lot worse than settle down in a comfy chair with The Last Romeo.
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