Sunday, December 19, 2010
Looking For It by Michael Thomas Ford
Part Of Synopsis From Dust Jacket:
Mike Monaghan is the bartender at the Engine Room, a meeting place for the small but thriving community of gay men in Cold Falls, New York. As Mike pours beer, wipes glasses and hears everything he's also witness to the men who come her looking for what they need - sex, direction, friendship, spiritual fulfillment, and love.
This was a reread for me and one that I love even more every time I read it. Michael Thomas Ford, in every book I've read of is, does a fantastic job of creating believable characters that even when they are doing horrific things, the reader is still able to relate to what's going on. And that's what this book is about for me, the characters.
The book tells the story of nine gay men as they navigate through life from Halloween night to New Year's Eve. The time span is pretty short but the development these men go through is amazing, but never feels rushed. The events feel like a natural progression of life and change their lives, most for the good, but their is some bad as well.
The two characters I love the most though are Mike and Father Thomas Dunn, an Episcopal priest. They are wounded men both who have big losses in their past and while they are alive, neither one of them is really living life. The relationship that they develop is one that at first glance doesn't seem to make too much sense. One is a bartender in a gay bar, the other a priest who is on the verge of losing his faith. Their friendship starts to heal them both and it's not long before that friendship turns into something more.
It's close to Christmas before either one of them is willing to admit to their feelings and they way it's expressed in this book is beautiful to witness. There is a tenderness and shyness there that brings me back to the first time I really started to fall in love with someone. The love they share changes them. Mike gets his life on track and decides to teach again and Thomas regains his faith and love for the church.
The only other character that I wanted to go into in any detail, though I love them all, is Pete Thayer. He is a deeply closeted, conflicted young man who can not get a handle on what he feels towards other men. He fights it with such determination that he starts to make horrible decisions. His only outlet is anonymous sex with strangers and when those strangers aren't quite willing, Pete has no issue with roughing them up a little bit. He even comes into contact with two of the other characters in ways that change the lives of two of them and ends up terminating the life of the third. Pete is the example of what self doubt and hatred can do to someone when they don't have anyone around to talk to. Even when he is acting out and hurting others, you are able to feel the pain and anguish he is going through.
I would love to tell you about the other men but I would rather have you meet them yourself. They all have their own stories to tell, all of which are worth hearing.