“Embrace relational uncertainty. It’s called romance.” – Mark Batterson
As a single parent, Caleb is trying his hardest to instil responsibility and values into his “Little Dude”, his adopted four year old son, Leo. Set in the rippling waves of a surfers paradise, Caleb and Leo are building their life together, forging Team One into something that will guide Leo into his formative years a kind and aspiring man. When Caleb’s neighbour, Trevor appears in the picture, their world collide as both men, straight in their proclivities, search for meaning in their burning attraction. As their courtship finds them Shooting the Curl, they find out that love can happen where you least expect it, adding an extra heart to Team One.
This is my last review from my selection of Goodread’s event contributions for “Love Has No Boundaries”, and I’m left with a smile after this cute and romantic tale from author Madeleine Ribbon. Now this tale had very strict criteria when Ribbon picked it up, the guidelines were set out very strategically, and there was little room to play with the overall outcome. I read the prompt before reading the story, and it ticked all the boxes, did exactly what it was designed to. While it seems to not have been appreciated as well as one would hope, what I saw when reading this was actually a brilliant little story that, yeah, had its flaws, but ultimately was delicately delivered by a writer with extreme talent that had me gripped throughout.
While it was never really clear what exactly prompted Caleb, a young, single guy, to adopt a kid at a young age, the connection that Ribbon forged between the man and his son was breathtaking. The love the man expressed to his child was really heartening and had me fawning over the characters from page one. Leo himself was a really sweet creation, a kid who loved to be adventurous, be a bit naughty and learned under the hand of a guardian who cared. I liked that it wasn’t an essentially quirky relationship, a standard father-son connection that wasn’t spoiled or convoluted by attempts at making it too sensational or hilarious. To be honest, I’m sick of reading clueless parental stories about trying to guide a child who comes across as being fifty years older than the parent. This relationship was a gift.
Trevor was similarly a great creation, fitting in seamlessly without any form of reluctance. This, however, was where I feared the opportunity may have been wasted. The prompt called for two gay-for-you characters to get together. It also expressed that no ex girlfriends or female antagonists were to be mentioned. There are other issues that can arise from an unconventional relationship like this, however, and the missing piece in this story was conflict. I would have liked to have seen a second act in this tale, but ultimately, with the brief, Ribbon stuck to what she was told to do. That said, what transpired really did warm the heart. It was good switch-off reading for after a long day at work. I love stories when all I want to do is get lost in a tale and not have to use my brain to navigate around a labyrinth of literary pitfalls.
The best part of this contribution was the warmth, a true short story that served the purpose of telling a tale that would be entertaining and romantic and embrace a non-traditional family set up. Though the vipers at Goodreads seemed a little underwhelmed, I was happily sated by the words of someone I deem a very competent and creative author. I am a fan of Madeleine Ribbon and personally think she produced a very endearing tale, following her criteria to a tee. So with that in mind, I think I’ll be giving this a well deserved four stars, and hope to see Ms Ribbon churn out some more of this beautifully creative talent onto the page for me to read, very soon.