Sometimes letting go is the only way to find out who you’re meant to hold on to.—
J. Sterling, The Perfect Game
Since Mickie B. Ashling first published Horizons four yeas ago, a lot has changed for the LGBT community in our country. While Horizons was in final edits this time around, changes were happening so fast it was hard to keep up with them. I didn’t read Horizons when it was originally released, so it was a new book for me.
Aside from some timing issues with football seasons, which I know were a pain for Mickie the first time around, I found Horizons to be an enjoyable way to spend a hot day indoors! It is the story of Clark, the local college football hero with NFL written all over his future and Jody, an ER doctor. Jody is eleven years older than Clark and has suffered the loss of a lover after a serious relationship in the past. When Clark comes into the ER in his dirty, sweaty football uniform and Jody only has ten minutes left on his shift, it works out to be a very good thing he switched back into doctor mode to treat Clark’s broken arm.
It turns out that Clark’s arm isn’t the only thing broken. His spirit has been broken by his family’s constant pressure to excel at football because he is too dumb to do anything else. He has ADD, and his father has refused to medicate him, instead treating Clark like he is stupid, and not suffering from a very treatable learning disability. Jody is able to help Clark see that he just needs to learn in a different way than his peers.
Clark has long felt an attraction to other men, but with his family hating gay people almost as much as they love football, he has been forced to bury those desires. He has a reputation as quite a player with the girls on campus. Once he and Jody begin to spend more time together, it becomes impossible to deny the attraction between them.
When the combination of family and football put their relationship on hold, Ashling does an excellent job of taking us through Jody’s feeling. She looks at each piece of the process and we clearly see how deeply the loss of Clark is triggering feelings from the loss of Jody’s first serious lover.
The over-the-top way that Clark proves his love for Jody above all else is creative and surprising. Eventually, there is even a small degree of healing with Clark’s family. There is a spinoff of this book, Taste, about Jody’s best friend Lil. Jody wouldn’t have survived loving and losing and loving Clark without Lil’s support and friendship. I look forward to reading his story!
I also look forward to the day when Clark’s announcement would not be necessary. Highly recommended.
Reviewed by: Tina