I will love the light for it shows me the way; yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars. – Og Mandino
On the other hand, it may also make you feel that taut ache in your throat; you know, the one you get when you’re trying really hard not to get all choked up and leak unattractively from your face; because it’s not bad enough that you’re chortling uncontrollably, causing your people to give you the hairy stankeye, but then you’re adding blubbering to the mix…over a book. It could give cause for concern. That is also not a confession. Much. Don’t judge.
So, why the manic depression? It’s all Paul James Auster’s fault! Damn him and his shy, unassuming charms and his rapier wit that sometimes slides soooo very deeply into the realms of, wait. What? A pox on him and his best friend Sandy (a.k.a. Helena Handbasket), and on Wheels, the two-legged canine with a rear drivetrain; a curse on Paul’s parents and on his Nana, and on Johnny Depp, the beaked bitch, anyhow. Don’t ask. Just read the book and you’ll get it. But back to summoning the forces of mayhem: a bane on the existence of Vince Taylor, who not only made me start to believe in love at first sight but then went out of his way to prove it’s real by giving Paul just about the awesomest, most romantical birthday present ever. The birthday gift part may or may not have made me sigh just a little. Yes, that one is a confession, okay? And I’m really only pretending at all this curse business too. Swear. If the truth be told, I shmooped these varied and vibrant species in a super big way.
Tell Me It’s Real is Paul’s story, the story of a man whose self-confidence level is somewhere south of hella low but whose personality is somewhere north of luminous. This is the story of a man who isn’t salon tested and steroid approved; he isn’t what anyone might describe as genetically gifted or socially savvy, but he is real and he’s warm, and he and this delightful cast of characters are more than just words on a page. They’re psychedelic brushstrokes on a kaleidoscopic canvas of wacky and wonderful, and I loved each and every one of them to bits.
This is the story of the way two men really can fall in love through spit-takes, and Heimlich Maneuvers, and a near maiming. It’s the story of how they fall in love in spite of Paul’s eternal skepticism that someone as beautiful as Vince could ever possibly be attracted to him. It’s the story of the way they stay in love in spite of an enormously bad decision on Paul’s part to go behind Vince’s back and confront something Vince very much wanted to remain private. It’s the story of the way Paul becomes the light in Vince’s darkness, and the way in which Paul reveals his awesomeness one small step at a time.
More confession time: 1.) I’ve never read a TJ Klune book before. 2.) This will not be the last TJ Klune book I ever read. And that’s about it. No, wait, there is a third thing—I discovered I have a love/unlove relationship with authors who punk me. You’ll get that too, after you read this highly recommendable romantic comedy.