“Sex is full of lies. The body tries to tell the truth, but it’s usually too battered with rules to be heard, and bound with pretenses so it can hardly move. We cripple ourselves with lies.” – Jim Morrison
Sometimes the most destructive lies are the lies we try to convince ourselves are true. It’s emotionally crippling when we try to sell those lies to the world, to make people believe we’re someone we aren’t, feel things we don’t, don’t feel things we do. Jason “JT” Lents is a liar of the highest order because JT is in denial of who he is, how he feels; depriving himself of the right to his own truths, believing he can choose to resist and ignore the way his body craves something more, and dragging along into the mire a harem of women who will never make him yearn the way Jacob Livingston does.
JT is a man whose spirituality is waging war with his most fundamental desires. In this war there is only one campaign being fought, in which there will be only one casualty—JT’s own happiness. JT Lents is a fine example of a man whose heart and soul has been taught that the way he was made was a mistake and that the way he wants is wrong, when, in fact, the only wrong lies in the way JT believes. JT is living, breathing proof that somewhere between his God and his rule book something was lost in the translation by man.
JT has thrown himself fully into the breach of self-deception, and Jacob is the man who will be the ladder that connects him to a heaven he needs only to find the courage to reach out and embrace.
Jacob’s arrival in Santo Ignacio wasn’t exactly done on his terms, nor was it under the most ideal of circumstances, but he’s nothing if not a survivor, though the need for surviving comes in large part due to his profoundly awful taste in men. The final straw that sets his life on a new but equally thorny path is the beating he suffers at the hands of his lover, a beating that forces Jacob to understand there is something fundamentally broken inside him that he has carried with him from his childhood, a cycle of abuse he must crawl out from under if he is to find his peace.
As Santo Ignacio welcomes him, creeps into his being and wraps itself around him, as Jacob debates the wisdom and examines the enigma that is his connection with JT, he must choose to remain true to himself rather than to settle for being someone’s dirty little secret. But that choice is made ever more impossible by the fact that for Jacob, JT feels like home in a world within which they are both living in exile—JT from the truth and Jacob from the stillness that will come if he can find the place where he belongs.
For JT, the right thing to do is made clearer by the fact that the choice, and Jacob, were nearly taken from him. And sometimes it takes nearly losing someone to make you understand that you don’t want to live without him. It is the one sure thing that will help these two men bridge the gap between their desire and denial.
Jacob’s Ladder is the third book in the “St. Nacho’s” series, and undeniably has a very different feel to it than the first two installments. As narrator, it felt as though Jacob was overshadowed at times by the myriad characters that peopled his story, but it worked for me in a big way because sometimes in the telling of other people’s stories, it reveals more about the person telling the story than if he were to use the “I” to speak entirely of himself. I was left feeling frustrated and heartsick along the way in my longing for JT to finally come to the realization that he was living in a hell of his own making and that the only way to be delivered would be to follow Jacob into temptation. It was good to watch them finally succumb.
Buy Jacob’s Ladder HERE.