Friday, 27 November 2015
Review of a Book I Loved - The World As He Sees It by A M Arthur
The premise of the book is simple. Tristan has memory problems. Due to a head injury he is unable to retain short term memories for more than half and hour to an hour at a time. Gabe, struggling to handle an abusive, alcoholic mother and a blooming porn career.
These two make an unlikely couple, but somehow they work. They're both endearing and well rounded characters I took to immediately. I particularly like how Gabe took Tristan's problems in his stride and treated him like a 'normal' person.
Gabe has a lot going on in his life, with his mother and his career, but he fits Tristan into it seamlessly, and Tristan feels safe and comfortable with him, to the point he actually begins to remember and recognize Gabe, which is a big thing for him.
Tristan has absolutely nothing going on in his life. He lives in an assisted living complex with mainly old people, surrounded by post it notes, and carrying a notebook, which is his bible to what's going on around him and basically constitutes the whole of his memory since the injury occurred. Soon his book is full of Gabe, as is his inbox.
The relationship unfolds slowly with objectively not much happening. Don't expect much action and excitement. On a personal level, however plenty of things are happening and it's by no means a slow book, or one that drags plot-wise. The book moves seamlessly from one small incident to the next, from a porn set to a market and to see Gabe and Tristan sample deep fried bacon was heartwarming.
Things change, and more tension arises, when Tristan starts a drug trial hoping to recover at least some of his ability to retain short term memory. Not only Tristan, but Gabe and Tristan's friends Noel and Shane struggle with the side effects, and the rapidly deepening relationship.
There were two things I didn't like about the book and both are highly subjective. First, there was too much sex. I know. I know. The book is about a porn star, for goodness sake, and the sex is absolutely natural and understandable, given Tristan's three year abstention during his illness, but I think it's unnecessary. The book has plenty going on, and gently unfolds the relationship with plenty of tenderness and closeness, without having to jump into bed and get sweaty every time they meet.
Don't get me wrong, the sex is well written and it's no wonder Tristan is constantly on heat like a randy teenager, because to all intents and purposes that's what he is. It's just that I was more interested in the story than the sex which, to me, distracted from the storyline and pulled me out of it.
Secondly, I don't like the cover. It's no secret that I generally don't like covers with pictures of the characters on them. I'm not saying the cover isn't attractive per se, but the pictures are nowhere near how I see the characters in my head, especially Tristan. Not really a criticism of the book or its cover at all, but worth a mention.
Apart from this there was nothing I didn't like about the book. I especially liked the secondary characters. Noel and Shane. Noel is Tristan's best friend from way back in the day. He looks after Tristan like a brother, almost like a mother, as Tristan's family rejected him for being gay, even before the injury occurred.
To sum up. The characters are engaging, the story is gentle but moves forward at a good pace, the writing is good, and there's a happy ending.
I would not hesitate to recommend this book to anyone who likes feel-good stories with just enough tension and a warm fuzzy feeling at the end.