Author: A.M. Arthur
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Pages/Word Count: 264 Pages
At a Glance: This is a strong follow up to The Truth as He Knows It.
Reviewed By: Sadonna
Blurb: Love knows no limits…but fear could keep them from seeing it.
Gabe lives a double life. As Gabriel Henson, he works multiple jobs to support his remorseless, alcoholic mother. As Tony Ryder, he does internet porn for extra cash and regular safe sex without complications.
Yet when he encounters a scared young man freaking out in a night club, he’s compelled to reach out. Ever since then, the memory of that young man has haunted him.
Tristan Lavelle lives his life thirty minutes at a time. After a traumatic brain injury three years ago, he gets through his day recording his life in spiral notebooks and sticky note reminders.
A month after Tristan’s embarrassingly public meltdown, another chance meeting with Gabe sparks a warm, emotionally fulfilling email relationship. Both men crave more, but fear of the next step stands between them.
Until Tristan gets the opportunity to take part in a clinical trial that could improve his memory—if the side effects don’t kill him. But for Tristan, the possibility of a real life with Gabe is worth any risk…
Warning: Contains two damaged but lovable heroes, secret-keeping friends with good intentions, and an abundance of inappropriate food innuendo.
Review: The World As He Sees It is a sequel of sorts to The Truth as He Knows It, and while it can be read as a standalone, the experience is much better if the stories are read in order—for context and character development.
I really love Tristan from The Truth as He Knows It, and I was so happy that the author was giving him his own story. This is a love story between to very unconventional heroes. In fact, I would classify Gabe as more of an anti-hero.
We meet Gabe in the first book of this series, as the friend and sometimes porn scene partner of Shane, Tristan’s best friend Noel’s boyfriend. Gabe has had a pretty tough life—some would say by his own choosing. His dads own the gay bar, Big Dick’s, that is featured both in this series as well as The Cost of Repairs series. His mother is an alcoholic that he works three jobs to support—including his internet porn job, where he met Shane. His dads keep trying to tell him it’s not his job to take care of her, but he just can’t walk away.
We learned of Tristan’s story in the previous book; he has a traumatic brain injury from a gay-bashing that nearly killed him and Noel. His parents want nothing to do with him because of the gay, although they do still pay for his care and the long term care facility where Tristan lives. He has basically no short term memory, so he lives his life in notebooks and sticky notes, writing everything down so that he can refer back to them. Tristan meets Gabe when he decided he couldn’t take it anymore, and goes out by himself one night to Big Dick’s—where he loses his notebook and freaks out. Gabe helps calm him until Noel gets there, and it seems that somehow, Tristan remembers Gabe’s eyes. Gabe, being the caretaker that he is, wants nothing more than to fix everything for Tristan. He’s more than angry on Tristan’s behalf for what has happened to him and how he’s had to live his life since the attack.
I’m not going to recap the plot here. The essence of this story is truly two men who each have really big emotional needs in their lives, and how they have to fight to make a relationship work. They both know going into it that it won’t be easy or follow some well-established formula. Everything is going to be an improvisation with a lot of obstacles thrown in—from Gabe dealing with Tristan’s memory and health issues, to Gabe learning to put himself first and stop enabling his mother, to Tristan learning to deal with his own anger and sadness at his situation. I loved the evolution especially of Tristan coming to grips with what happened to him and his courage in asking his friends to stop treating him like a child and accept that yes, while he will always have issues, they need to help him grow and move on. Another aspect of this story I really enjoyed was Tristan’s reaction to Gabe’s porn career. So refreshing. 🙂
There is a lot of angst in this one, so if that’s not your thing, stay away. Dealing with an alcoholic brings its only special set of issues, especially to a kid who feels misplaced guilt about his parents’ breakup and his own sexuality. Tristan’s further abandonment by his family and the decisions that his friends make without informing or consulting him drives a wedge between the group. Luckily there is enough love and support for them to persevere and reach their well-deserved happy ending.
The first book in this series gutted me, and I’m happy to report that while there is still a lot of pain and drama in this story, I wasn’t left in tears at the end like that one, so that’s a good thing, right!?!? I definitely recommend this for fans of this author and this series or the Cost of Repairs series as well. Well done.
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