The Story Guy
Everybody and their dog went into raptures over this story on Twitter and the setup was just quirky enough that it caught my eye. Having read it, I can now say that this story indeed merits all that buzz. There’s a lot of meaty stuff in here that one could discuss, even though one of the plot points bothered me enough that I can’t quite justify giving this novella a DIK review.
As the story begins, we are introduced to Carrie West, a relatively happy thirtysomething librarian. She likes reading the personals for snorts and giggles, and one in particular catches her eye. A man is looking for someone to meet him in the park on Wednesday afternoons, just for kissing. Intrigued, Carrie answers and finds herself meeting a mysterious – and gorgeous – man in the park for kisses. And they are amazing kisses.
We learn that the man in question is attorney Brian Newburgh. And the reason for the weird setup? Well, Brian has some baggage that he’s convinced will make him relationship-ineligible. As one of Carrie’s friends says, he’s a “story guy.” He’s not planning to share that life story with Carrie either, so she(and the reader) are kept in the dark for much of the story.
Oddly enough, this works. The storyline and the sexual tension both move and build up slowly. Sometimes when I read a slow-burning story, my internal monologue is shrieking, “Oh, just tell her the truth already!” Not so here. The emotional journey is well written and worth reading, and instead of being a letdown, the payoff at the end is totally worth it. The story is written in first person from Carrie’s point of view, but even so, I felt like I had a good view of Brian’s emotional journey.
So, what bugged me? Well, without throwing in spoilers, I’ll simply say that Brian’s issues are not only very real, but they do not have easy answers. And yet the author gave the characters a resolution that felt just a little bit too pat. Perhaps it really would end up being the best solution for all concerned, but within the small frame of this story, I couldn’t help feeling that it seemed a tad overly convenient.