Saturday, November 15, 2014

Stories For Boys - Reviewed by Trix

by Ryal Woods 
Gather 'round, grab a stick, and get those buns out, because these boys have tales to tell.

Jude loves his brother. A lot. Roland plays on trains. Mike slurps Italian ice. Kurt wants to get laid, but doesn't want to pay the price. Daniel likes it in the dark. Two lovers like to play with guns. Paul is ready to confess. Robert’s secret is he can’t sleep alone at night. And Matt just needs to learn how to say no.

Have you pitched your tents? Unzipped, and aired those sacks? Sit down, boys, have s’more. These stories will keep you up all night.

Trix’s Review:
3.75 stars

If you insist on "happily ever after" endings (or even "happily for now" endings) with your m/m, this collection is not for you. While the stories are well-crafted, they definitely veer toward the darker end of the spectrum. The opener, "Jude The Unsure," features pseudo-incest and dubious consent...and can be considered one of the more romantic stories. Woods spends a lot of time pointing out the difference between desire and mutual need in this book, and exploring the irony of that situation. "Be careful what you wish for" seems to be the unspoken moral. Her style is mannered and intellectual in a way that tamps down some of the more taboo elements, but sometimes the themes were just too much for me. (I couldn't finish "Undone," the tale of a previously callous lover trying to preserve his undead boyfriend's physical attributes after his suicide.) It's probably telling that the happiest story, "Floating," is a short piece concentrating on pure sensation, leaving plot out altogether. I can't see myself revisiting STORIES FOR BOYS very often, though it's certainly one of the more thought-provoking collections I've read in a while.

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