Monday, 3 August 2015

Book Review: Focus on Me by Megan Erickson

Focus on Me

Author: Megan Erickson

Publisher: InterMix

Genre: Romance, m/m

Synopsis: Colin Hartman can now add college to his list of failures. On the coast-to-coast trek home from California, Colin stops at a gas station in the Nevada desert, and can’t help noticing the guy in tight jeans looking like he just stepped off a catwalk. When he realizes Catwalk is stranded, Colin offers a ride.

Riley only intended to take a short ride in Colin’s Jeep to the Grand Canyon. But one detour leads to another until they finally find themselves tumbling into bed together. However there are shadows in Riley’s eyes that hide a troubled past. And when those shadows threaten to bury the man whom Colin has fallen in love with, he vows to get Riley the help he needs. For once in his life, quitting isn’t an option… from Megan Erickson

Thoughts: There will be spoilers in this review. I highly recommend the book but make sure you have a good supply of tissues handy, you are going to need them. Stop reading now if you do not want spoilers. (Don't worry I don't think it is a MAJOR spoiler, you'll get the spoiler fairly early on if you pay attention).

This book comes with a four kleenex box warning (five Kleenex box warnings are for character death). I could not put it down, despite the tears running down my face. I had to find out what happened. Although I knew, because of the genre that things would be okay, I still had no idea how things were going to get there. Part of the reason this book hit me so hard is because it is a very personal subject. Riley suffers from depression, a very serious depression and this is something I have dealt with myself. For me the Kleenex were needed because I could see myself in Riley. I really felt the pain that Riley felt. The not feeling. The numbness and wishing that you could feel. Ericksson perfectly captured those feelings and that hit me very hard.

As deeply as I felt Riley's feelings, Riley isn't actually the narrator of most of the story and that is another stroke of genius from Erickson. Most of the story is told by Colin and therefore it also becomes a story of what depression does to those who love a person with depression. This perspective is less familiar to me but again the book really captures the feelings that others have told me about. When I was getting better from my depression my mom asked me if there was anything she and my dad could have done differently. I told her no. They loved me and that was enough. But I could see (and I can understand) that this didn't feel like enough. And this is the feeling I get from Colin as well. Intellectually he knows what he has done is enough but it still does not FEEL like enough.

Although I have already mentioned the narrative structure of this novel I want to talk about it some more since it was one of my favourite aspects of the book. The book opens with an e-mail from one man to another (if you have read Trust the Focus you will recognize the writer). That is the only time we are given this persons "voice". The rest of the story is told by Colin as the story unfolds and through e-mails from Riley. We never get to see the replies to Riley's e-mails, although they refer to answers to previous messages. The e-mail sections are much shorter than Colin's sections and this means that the story unfolds quite slowly, and you find things out pretty much at the same pace as Colin. You sort of have to guess at the coming conflict. For me this lent a certain mystery to the story that I really enjoyed.

Overall, although this was a though book to read it is a book I highly recommend.

 Copyright ©2015 Zee from A Tea Stained Page. This post was originally posted by Zee from A Tea Stained Page. It should not be reproduced without express written permission

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