Etienne. “Bottoms Up”, Dreamspinner Press, 2013.
Living and Loving
I have been following Etienne and his writing since his first Avondale story and now with “Bottoms Up”, I see is starting a new series within a series. This is volume one in the new “About a Bottoms” series which is also listed as an Avondale story. We meet nurse Chris Bottoms who lives up to his last name; he is a bottom. As a boy, he was abused by his stepfather and this caused him to enjoy bottoming and he has stayed with it. He had been stationed at sea but he is reassigned to Jacksonville, Florida and soon after he discovers that he has cancer.
However colon cancer and surgery that was misdirected has taken the pleasure from him and there will be no more prostate massage. Just as this was going on, Chris’s best friend, Mickey, takes a position that relocates him to Jacksonville. Chris and Mickey had been roommates in college and they have stayed friends and buddies for sex, ever since. Now Chris takes that friendship to a whole new place and both men’s feelings are released and they move in together.
Everything is good with them even though they cannot participate in the kind of sex that both like so much. Chris now has to deal with his body that does not work the way it used to and he is constantly tested. He has to become adjusted to who he is now and to realize that there is more to him than just being a bottom. Here we get a picture of how things in life can change us and Chris has to deal with that. Obviously this was not easy for him and I would have loved to know what he was thinking as he began this new journey. We do get a taste but I really wanted more—perhaps that is yet to come in future volumes.
The descriptions of Jacksonville are wonderful and I could actually see and almost feel the city as I read. What we learn is that Mickey has always carried a torch for Chris but he doesn’t know how to act on it. Chris calls Mickey to tell him about his cancer and Mickey goes to him. It took cancer to make both guys realize that life is too short to not act on desires. In fact, it was the way Mickey approached what was going on with Chris that was a reason for their sealing their romance. Mickey understood Chris’s pain and was able to get past his body that was mutilated in surgery as well as ignoring the limitations that cancer would put on their sex lives. He wanted Chris, the man, the partner and the lover.
Their life together began with a malpractice suit and they both knew that there more challenges yet to come. Both men need emotional strength as well as psychological strength for what they have to face. Etienne deals wonderfully with presenting the trials and tribulations of having cancer while not going into the pain and the fear except for on the surface. Therefore instead of being depressing the book is quite uplifting. Since the book only covers the beginning of the relationship, we can kind of guess what is coming in books that follow. What we really see is that life does not stop after surgery. We see the realities without all of the details of the pain and the physical changes. I grew to love both Chris and Mickey and am so happy that they found each other. Etienne may not be an author for everyone but you can rest assured that I will sing his praises whenever I have the chance. He dares to go where other will not and he puts pen to paper to write about some of the aspects of life that we do not often read of.