AKM Miles’ Take It Slow is a story with a message, a message about human weaknesses, about how words eviscerate and leave scars as effectively as any weapon ever could, and about how easy it is to say things in anger, in the heat of the moment, only to regret those bitter and hateful words, knowing that they can’t be taken back once they’ve been spoken, and that the damage they’ve caused may be irreparable.
Nick Webster is the sort of man who always says what he means and means what he says, but when his son Daniel tells his father he’s gay, Nick neither meant what he said nor said what he meant when he lashed out at his boy; it was the harsh and hurtful words Nick spoke that effectively severed his relationship with his then seventeen-year-old son and cut the boy from his life. It took a matter of moments for the shock of his son’s confession to subside and for a new sort of shame to take over, but in those mere moments, Daniel had run from Nick, and it would be two years of hell, for both father and son, before they would see each other again.
In the two years after Daniel’s disappearance, Nick Webster ran on auto-pilot, living on a steady diet of remorse and self-loathing. Nick worked nearly around the clock, showing Daniel’s picture to any- and everyone he met. For two years, Nick showed Daniel’s photograph to every trucker who came through the doors of Mama Sasy’s truck stop, where Sasy, along with her son Easy, his partner Mano, as well as Boddy, the diner’s cook, give shelter to the helpless and homeless gay boys in Nashville, as long as they can convince the boys to come in off the streets and accept the help they need to get their lives back on track.
Even though Nick has worked tirelessly to find Daniel and bring him back home safely, to rescue him from the clutches of a sick and abusive man, it’s selling his sincerity to Daniel that becomes the most difficult thing Nick has ever done. Nick has taken on the full responsibility for the wrong he did to his boy, but it takes a lot of tears and pain before Daniel is able to trust in his father again.
I loved the message in this book a lot. It’s a story of wrongs done and of seeking and earning forgiveness, but I’m just not sure I can say I connected with the way the message was delivered. Sadly, I felt fairly neutral toward most of the characters, and toward the relationship between Daniel and his love interest, Benny, a fellow resident at Mama Sasy’s. Being a reader who loves coming-of-age stories, I wanted so much to be able to hang on to the emotional connection I’d made prior to Daniel’s rescue, but it just didn’t last.
Oddly enough, though, I did connect very well with the one character I don’t think I was meant to empathize with—Nick Webster. I felt more sympathetic toward Nick than I did toward Daniel once he’d been rescued, and the only reason I can pinpoint for that is that Nick’s character was written more sympathetically than Daniel’s, who, to me, came off as uncompromising rather than truly emotionally damaged. That’s not to say Daniel didn’t have good reason to be angry with his father, he absolutely did, but Daniel’s pain was less visceral to me than Nick’s, which I don’t think was supposed to be the goal of the book.
Take It Slow took things just a bit too slow for me, and I found myself becoming impatient with the way the story progressed, as well as with the one character with whom I was supposed to empathize, which is why, unfortunately, this one didn’t quite work for me.
Buy Take It Slow HERE.