Bookish Blerd

I'm a book buying junkie who buys books faster than I can read them. But what better way is there to live than surrounded by books?! I read as much as I can and I do my best to give coherent reviews...which doesn't always happen.  I enjoy many genres, which is likely the reason I struggle with deciding my next read.

DNF: The Last Exit To Normal

The Last Exit to Normal - Michael Harmon

It's been a really long time since I've either given up on a book or disliked it so much that I couldn't even hate-read it through to the end.

 

Ben is the protagonist who's father came home one day and announced he was gay.  Mom walked out--which just effed up.  Ben, having had his world fall apart, goes full-on delinquent, alcohol, drugs, general terrible behavior.  After a while dad forced them into therapy, they have some breakthroughs.  Things get a lot better, not perfect, but better.  Ben cleans up his act and has even gotten used to his stepdad, whom he calls momdad, even if he doesn't love the situation.  He has one slip-up and they decided it's a good idea to move a teenaged city boy to the middle of nowhere Montana.

 

So we're talking two gay men moving back to one's hometown--the town he moved away from for very good reason, and they bring their son/stepson with them.  They move into his childhood home with his mother, who doesn't like that her son his gay, but he's still her son, so there's that.

 

Bonnie Mae, or Miss Mae, is old school country, respect is demanded, manners are insisted upon, no cussing or sarcasm, beatings and/or starvation as punishment.  Yeah great idea for a smart-assed teenager with two dads.

 

This books is just a mess.  Verbal threats, physical abuse, starvation, and forcing Ben to sleep in the woodshed.  And this is all from Miss Mae.  And dad just sits back and lets this woman do this to his child.  Like, what?!  I don't care what lame excuse you want to use, "they do things different," "she's from a different time," "we're guests in her home."  I'll be damned if I let someone lay a hand on my child.  You'd best not even discipline my child, especially if I'm close enough to be called to handle a situation.

 

Miss Mae is an asshole.  Dad is an asshole.  Ben is an asshole.  The only one who's decent is Edward, who willingly came back to the town that tortured him throughout his childhood, just to help his partner's child stay on the straight and narrow.  The neighbor is also an abusive, homophobic asshole, who beats the living daylights out of his son because Ben was talking to him, even after the boy told Ben to leave him alone, even after Ben told the man that he had approached the boy who didn't want to talk to him.  

 

I didn't think I would finish it because I didn't even care if there was character growth or a redemption arc.  But I toyed with the idea of slogging through it anyway.  And then the little neighbor boy shot a stray cat just because.  That's it.  Just. Because.

 

I "noped" out of that book and cannot recommend anyone to read it.

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