Sibley, William Jack. “Sighs Too Deep For Words”, Create Space, 2012.
Lester Briggs has a dilemma. He has fallen in love via correspondence with a woman he has never met because he is in prison. When he gets out he goes to find her and learns that the letters he had received were not written by a woman at all but by a gay man who is in the closet. If that is not enough, the guy is a small town minister, Philip. To make matters even worse, he sent a picture of his sister to Lester (and she lives with him) and told him that it was his picture. The sister who is a lesbian knew nothing about this and here we have an ex-prisoner in love from a physical perspective with a woman who has no idea that he exists and emotionally and mentally with a man who does not know how to love. Just to add more thing—the novel is set in the town of Rockport on the Texas Gulf Coast, a place that is not conducive to the gay lifestyle. What Sibley does here is love at love, sexuality and culture and we get a very funny read. Sibley examines human nature and the fact that Lester was serving time for having stolen from a church just adds to the humor. When he leaves jail, he leaves his prison lover, “Little Ray”, and heads for Rockport to meet the woman he thinks he loves—Laurel Jeanette Yancey. Instead he finds something completely different than what he expected.
The characters are wonderful and the plots of mistaken identity, sexual confusion and coincidence are great fun. Lester is in love with the body of a woman and the mind of a man and at the same time is trying to deal with the realities of life away from prison.
Sibley excels at dialogue and the idea of mistaken identity works beautifully and it remains funny throughout. The business with the minister and his sister is just the beginning. There is a cast that includes a man who cheats on his wife (with the maid), a girl who is repressed and about to be married, her gay brother and the gas station owner who is a fount of wisdom.
Lester is forced to take stock of himself and decide what he really wants out of life. He has the chance to start over now that he has served time. He has a child-like innocence and we are with him as he rediscovers the world. Most of the characters are gay but this is not a book just for gay readers. It is not about sexuality but it is about love and there is romance here.
The characters are great and following his journey is just fun. Philip was not ready to come out of the closet because he was a cleric. What happens you will have to find out for yourself as you read one of the most human stories I have read in a long time.