Sunday, January 27, 2013

Review of: Moving On by H.J. Holt – 4 Stars

And now to kick off another series on my blog, book and film reviews!  To start off, I’m reviewing Moving On by H.J. Holt, published from Dreamspinner Press in July 2012.  Available here:  

Moving On is the story of a young man, Luke, who’s been dealt some tough hands in life.  His home life back in the American Midwest was significantly less than ideal and involved not just the fostering system, but his own mother’s attempt to use him as a scapegoat for her drug running operation.  Even his boyfriend only adds to Luke’s troubles and self-esteem issues.  So Luke decided to beat town and immigrate to the UK where we meet him working at a burger joint in Bristol. 

When Luke meets Paul at a club, they hit it off straight away.  Paul is a teacher who has family money and is doing quite well for himself.  Paul has a few years on Luke, but that’s not much of an issue for them.  Paul’s social status (including the attitudes of some of his mates) and the fact that Paul is still grieving the loss of his partner several years ago, however, might complicate a growing but uncertain relationship.

Read on for more....

Both Luke and Paul have some difficult things in their pasts which are keeping them from truly moving on with their lives (and into each other’s lives).  Luke’s damaged self-esteem keeps him wondering when Paul will chuck him aside and makes him hesitant about nurturing his own dreams and talents as a chef.  Paul’s loss makes him uneasy about starting a new relationship, putting his heart out there again, and that back-of-the-mind ‘betrayal’ feeling that maybe it’s not ok to have special feelings for someone again.

Most of us can relate to experiencing losses and tough times, life changes and stresses.  Those things can carry a psychological weight which slows us down considerably.  Oftentimes, we don’t even realize how much we’ve slowed down until something comes along and shakes us out of our torpor. 

But when we do start to ‘come out of it’ things don’t always change immediately, especially if we’ve gotten pretty comfortable in our reduced pace.  It can be scary to contemplate moving on to something new, even if that new thing is something we want to pursue and even if we acknowledge the need to get back in gear.  It comes with unknowns and sometimes the surety of a negative known is more comforting than the uncertainty of a possibly positive unknown.  ‘Better the devil you know,” and all that.

Luke’s hesitancy and low self-concept is quite palpable in Moving On, and both Luke and Paul share the problem of not communicating well (men!) and holding one another at arms’ length.  Except when they’re in bed, that is, because their sex life is great!  They’re able to ‘get’ and respond to what the other needs, wants, and craves like it’s second nature.  Now if they could just get over their personal insecurities, I think they could have that kind of natural togetherness all day every day. 

I recommend picking up a copy to find out how they get on.  Luke and Paul are well-developed characters with a decent plot to play out against.  A good afternoon’s read.  

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