A Retro Review
originally published on December 31, 2009
I decided to take a chance on Holiday Outing after Jessica at Racy Romance Reviews posted a review of this novella. I’m so very glad I did, because this was a nice little gem to add to my holiday reading this year.
Jonah Levinson hasn’t been home to celebrate Hanukkah in four years, but this year he’s not only going, he’s decided to finally tell his parents that he’s gay. Oh, and that he makes his living as a gay fiction writer. When Jonah is picked up at the airport not by his dad, but by the homophobic jock he had a crush on in high school, he’s certain he’s in for a terrible holiday. But to his utter amazement, Ethan Rosenberg is no longer a homophobic jock; he’s now an openly gay doctor who’s not at all subtle about his attraction to Jonah.
In addition to Ethan – whose mother was best friends with Jonah’s mom before passing away – several members of Jonah’s extended family are also visiting Jonah’s parents for the first night of Hanukkah. In an unexpected move, Jonah’s uncle gifts a treasured family heirloom to Jonah’s father. But when a major storm hits and the power goes out, not only does the entire crowd get snowed in, the heirloom goes missing. Now Jonah is faced with coming out to his parents, dealing with his attraction to Ethan, and figuring out who the thief is, all the while trying to survive a week in close quarters with his entire family.
The two words that best describe Holiday Outing are: funny and heartwarming. The story is told from Jonah’s perspective, which provides for much amusement as he has a quite humorous take on the situation and people around him. The cast of secondary characters is well-done – most notably Jonah’s mother – and provide for a lot of laughs as well as the overall feeling of holiday spirit.
The dialogue and interaction between Jonah and Ethan is especially enjoyable, and I loved Ms. Amara’s use of Ethan’s profession as a gastroenterologist – yes, you read that right – to add a touch of humor to their sexual relationship. She also adeptly illustrates the various family dynamics and relationships through both the missing heirloom plot and the celebration of Hanukkah, thus adding depth to all of the humor.
I very much enjoyed Holiday Outing, and recommend it to anyone wanting a quick dose of holiday cheer. I know that this is an author I’ll be reading more of in the future.