The Guest Blog:
In A Heart for Robbie, Simon is dragged out of the closet, kicking and screaming. It’s a frightening and awful thing to have your deepest secret exposed before you’re really ready to deal with people knowing. I’m bi, I write gay fiction, but for those things—I’ve never actually been in the closet. But I lived in a big one, a dark one, from the time I was ten until my late teens when I finally told my family about the sexual abuse I’d suffered as a child. Once the door opened, there was no way to close it again, so when I told them I also liked girls—it wasn’t a big deal. So I liked girls, we’d already been through so much worse, it was almost anti-climactic.
I have a close friend, however, who lives his life between the hangers right beside that old winter coat no one wears. He’s deep in the closet in his small southern town. While he’s out online in his author persona, no one back home can know his secret because of his fundamentalist parents. Another friend, the sweetest twenty-something boy you could find called me one day in tears telling me that his mother would never forgive him for being gay. Yet another friend came out in his mid-thirties after his divorce because he just couldn’t stand hiding who he was anymore.
It’s a huge roll of the dice. Will people accept you? Will you lose friends? Will you lose part of your family? All of your family? Will you lose your job? It’s still legal in most states to fire someone for being gay—and in states where it isn’t, employers find a way. But once that first word is out, it’s like a rock hitting your windshield. The crack in your armor starts small, but then, the spider webs of consequence splinter across the glass until you can’t see. Until everything in your life is affected. My mom and I have a common discussion on gay marriage—I don’t care what people do in their bedroom. But we aren’t just gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender in the bedroom. She’s a work in progress, but I’d say inviting a gay porn star to Thanksgiving dinner means we’ve come a long way.
One things for us all to remember whether we choose to come out or stay in the closet, especially during pride, is that we are not alone. While you may feel like you’re the only gay/lesbian/transgender/bisexual person on the planet—you aren’t. There is an entire community of us both online and in every state, in every country. Adopt an anonymous persona and log on, talk to other people who understand what you’re feeling because they’ve felt it every day of their lives too. The tide is turning and with each state whose gay marriage ban is overturned, we are one step closer to a federal mandate for marriage equality. We are closer to blowing the closet door off its hinges forever.
- Reviewed by: Scott Burkett
- Print Length: 216 pages
- Posting: M/M, Romance, Contemporary, Novel, Family
- Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (July 10, 2014)
- Book Provided by: Author
- Author: JP Barnaby
- Posting Date: July 25, 2014
- Rating: 5 Star
There are times such as this where it is hard to put into words the emotional response I get from a book. I knew going into this that this was going to be a semi autobiography about the author and what she went through with her own child. So I prepared myself for some really deep reading and some gut wrenching prose. What did happen when I started reading, was I found a brilliantly illustrated story with heartfelt anguish and some romance to balance. This is a book that is so well written that I find myself a little at odds on how I can review something as good as this book is, and do it justice. I mean, am I good enough to do that?
Julian is an amazing individual. You want to know what brought the largest tears to my eyes? It was the first time that Julian looked upon his son, my gosh the love that Julian felt for his son just poured off of the pages. I was very happy when I discovered that there was going to be a romantic relationship with Simon who is taking care of the Insurance side of Robbie’s care.
The relationship between Julian and Simon meant a few things to me. The first of which is that no matter the circumstance, romance is achievable. The second thing was how it was used as a support system for Julian. The balance between dismay and light was brilliantly written, as the reader I wasn’t drawn down, as in depressed. The way the story was told it took you through the life of Julian and his coping and didn’t dwell on Robbie so much. This was such a touching story that will stay with me. Thank you JP for sharing this story with the World.
I know I’ve written some good reviews and some that I just wasn’t as happy with, here is a little story that pertains to that statement. I am friends with Lisa on Facebook and actually read her blog from time to time, so when her review of A Heart for Robbie came up on my timeline I had to take a look. Lisa is the owner of The Novel Approach and is also participating in this Blog Tour. If you remember what I said earlier about reviewing a book as good as this one is, and do it justice, I am going to share with you a Review that did just that. Lisa’s words are like poetry for this book. I am going to put a link right below here that will take you to one of the best reviews I have read, and it is on A Heart For Robbie.
A Heart for Robbie reviewed by Lisa
A Heart for Robbie – Amazon
A Heart for Robbie – Amazon UK
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Dreamspinner Press Bookstore
The Book Description:
Waiting for someone else’s child to die so yours can live is the worst kind of Hell.
Celebrated Young Adult author Julian Holmes pits the heroic characters in his Black Heart series against all different kinds of monsters. But when a critical heart defect threatens his son’s life, he finds he has no champion. No amount of books, classes, or practice can prepare Julian for the fight to save his beautiful son’s life
Suddenly there are hospitals, transplant lists, and the nightmare of insurance red tape to navigate. In the midst of his trouble, Julian meets Simon Phelps, the insurance coordinator for Robbie’s case. Simon lives so deep in the closet he might never find his way out, but he dreams of exactly what Julian has. Then one night, drunken need and desperation brings them together, and a new fight begins.
“You need a wife to take care of you,” his mother reasoned, because, of course, marriage would solve all his problems. She really couldn’t know how right that idea was.
“Okay, Mom, but for now, I need to go.” He flipped the page of the menu and scanned through the chicken offerings, wishing his phone would just lose service.
“Call me tomorrow and let me know when you can make it out here for dinner with us,” she said, and Simon knew she meant more than just the family. His mother would force this young woman on him until they were both too embarrassed to schedule a second date. That happened a lot with his mother and her friends.
He disconnected the call before she could talk him into anything else. The menu offerings seemed less appetizing with guilt bubbling in his stomach. God, he wanted to put a stop to his mother’s feeble attempts to set him up. He’d promised himself for years to confront her. She wanted grandchildren and insisted on getting her own way. His sister, Rachel, moved to California to get away, and their mother had been depressed and anxious without Rachel’s kids to keep her happy.
Her narcissism prevented her from understanding that he would never be happy with a wife.