“Never tell the truth to people who are not worthy of it.” ― Mark Twain
Title: The Legend of Uncle Everett
Author: Gene Taylor
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 90 Pages
Rating: 2 Stars
Blurb: When Everett Coleman’s longtime enemy JB Sanderson dies, Everett’s nephew Blake comes to visit his uncle. He worries JB’s death might have a negative effect on the old man, despite Everett and JB’s very public hatred for each other. When Everett passes away and Blake begins going through his things, he finds his uncle’s diaries. To his surprise, the infamous feud between Everett and JB was a gigantic cover-up for a gay relationship that lasted for decades.
Blake decides to write the real story of the legendary grudge and let the world know the great lengths the two men had to go to in the 1930s and 1940s to hide their love from their conservative small town in Texas.
Review: I read the blurb, I saw the exquisite cover, I had to read this book. What a novel concept, one packed to the rafters with potential and one that seemed would be a good, quick read that would leave me sated and satisfied. However, the blurb and the cover were both red-herrings. The content let me down. I was so excited to get into this story that I dove in head-first, not wanting to waste a second before uncovering the secret life of Uncle Everett and his clandestine lover, JB. The prologue was heartfelt, truly reeling me into the story and leaving my kindling finger twitching for more. Then those dreaded words: CHAPTER ONE; it was like I had started reading a different book.
This story was set out as if the nephew, Blake, had read his uncle’s diaries and pieced together their story using vignettes of the two men’s secret life together. However, there seemed to be very little story to read. They set off the feud to mask their love, yet no one else in the story seemed to ever cotton on to the pretence or, in fact, give a damn. The author’s bio stated that Taylor was an English teacher; yet for someone who teaches the art of storycraft, surely the author might have realised that all stories require a three-act arc to make them an actual story. This little tale started at act three, looped back to act one and completely missed act two or any kind of climax. There was no conflict, very little threat and by in large, very little to read. Each vignette seemed to just be the two men escaping to a secluded place to suck each other’s dicks. That was it. Even the sex wasn’t that erotic; it simply read quite uncomfortably, and the descriptions used were quite unsavoury. I was not aroused.
Then there was the dialogue. People don’t talk like this, and I am pretty sure they never have, were it the 1930s or the 1980s. People don’t narrate through speech, and they really, really don’t speak like foreign people might with a translation book pasted in their hands, trying to hash out some broken English in a stunted format.
“That was a great idea you had about exchanging notes in that old Prince Albert tobacco tin…and then sticking it in the branches somewhere in the middle behind this tree. I don’t think anyone will find it here.”
“Well, my daddy smokes a pipe so it was easy to get an empty box. Besides, it has a pretty tight-fitting lid so rainwater won’t get in. Let’s just hope the wind doesn’t blow it out of the tree and into the yard where anybody could find it, and maybe throw it away. Or find a secret note inside!”
This read like dialogue from an Enid Blyton book, I half expected them to go on a picnic with Timmy and lashings of ginger beer. Add to that the magnitude of poorly constructed innuendos that flowed through this story like a river of nonsense, and I was far from impressed. There wasn’t even any romance. For two men who spent fifty years hiding their love, you’d think there would be a bit of a romantic flare on their meetings, but no. Instead they made jokes, sucked some dick, and told each other how they loved each other more than blowjobs, in complete lieu of nothing.
While the author’s bio also specifies that Taylor is a descendant of Chaucer, I might be inclined to keep that under wraps until perfecting a style of story-telling worthy of reading. I can only assume the editors were on strike the day this book was released, and unfortunately, from a great premise, came a colossal disappointment. I can only award it two stars; one for a cracking idea, and one for the cover, which had nothing to do with the author. What a pity. I would love to see this story done justice.
You can buy The Legend of Uncle Everett here: