Temper, meet brick wall.....

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Review: BOY - A journey by James Stryker

Boy: A Journey by James Stryker

Luke may never have been close to his father, but he feels like he knew him. Jay was a frustrating parent – always urging Luke to go to mortuary school, disapproving of his Broadway aspirations, and favoring his other children. He even had the audacity to die mid-argument, forcing additional guilt on Luke for never meeting his expectations.

However, Luke’s assumptions about Jay are thrown into turmoil at the funeral when an enigmatic stranger, Tom, expresses gratitude that Jay finally shared his past with his children. When Luke can’t hide his confusion, Tom realizes his mistake and bolts. Riddled with questions, Luke confronts his family. He is shocked to discover that everyone guards the truth that Jay was a transgender man who’d been raised as a female. Practiced at keeping his father’s secrets, they’re unwilling to reveal anything further at Luke’s demand. Devastated by Jay’s lack of trust in him, Luke feels forced to abandon the family who deceived him although leaving them behind won’t answer his questions.

To discover the reason his father hid his gender identity, Luke seeks the only other person with answers, Tom. In Luke’s eyes, he is owed an explanation, even if it’s a difficult one. However, Tom harbors a deep protective devotion to Jay, a loyalty he feels the truth would betray. Additionally, as a man suffering with terminal cancer, he has no desire to drudge up painful memories by playing Luke’s Virgil. Luke must earn his trust before the secret past of both men dies with Tom.

My Review

This was my first foray into the mind of James Stryker, and let me be honest. I find it heart wrenching, twisted and strangely hilarious. Boy: A Journey will take you to some places you probably don’t want to be but will have no choice but to stay on the ride. The darkness and the inner thoughts of the characters will break your heart in one instant and make you laugh out loud in others.

The family—oh lord.  There are dysfunctional families in the world but this one takes the cake. The secrets that lurk beneath the surface will have you all stunned and though one of the major one is given away in the blurb, you will not be prepared for the confession of it within the pages of this book.  The emotions that fill these pages tore me apart in so many marvelous ways that, I never expected any of that. From the overwhelming heartbreak of loss, to the euphoria of finding beauty—simply magnificent.

The characters are whole, deep and seriously, seriously flawed. They often times do the wrong things for the right reasons and a good ninety nine percent of the time, it comes from a place of love. For me, throughout this book I went from wanting to take him over my knee, to wanting to punch him in the throat then cheering, literally sitting on a streetcar cheering, at his growth. Mr. Stryker has a way of writing so that you seriously dislike a character one sentence and rob you of that hatred in the very next line - I love that!

This book also added to my healing of losing a friend to suicide a few years ago. I always wondered why and how and where and who and how much—to have an idea of the vivid thoughts that goes through someone’s mind as they contemplate ending it all—although a fictional character—I have a few more answers than I did before.

James Stryker has a gift, a dazzling gift of turning things dark and morbid into lessons we all should learn and it feels like I am better person for reading Boy: A Journey. So, if Mr. Stryker will allow it, I would be very proud and humble to journey into his mind again.

To get your copy of BOY: A Journey, please visit Nine Star Press or just click here
To stalk er I mean, see what James Stryker is up to - please click here.

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Now at Dreamspinner Press

Now at Dreamspinner Press
"This story is about two grown ass gay men that each have a little doubt for one reason or another if their relationship will work. The story is conveyed well and kept completely on the adult playing field, I loved it! When these two get going in the bedroom it is passionate and sensual."--TSM