Bell, Ajax. “This Charming Man, Jugum Press, 2014.
Becoming a Man
It is 1991 and Steven Frazier realizes that he has danced away 50 years in the Seattle club scene with his best friend, Adrian. Hey two are always so high that they have no idea of how much life they have missed while dancing and partying. (We all know people like this, don’t we?).
Then everything changed for Steven when he met John, a handsome businessman who lives a cosmopolitan life that he shows to Steven who saw things he had never thought of. John is not impressed by fancy attire and Steven realizes that if he wants John he will have to get rid of his friendship relationship with Adrian. He is motivated by John but he has to prove that he .more than a club kid who thinks shallowly. To find out if he succeeds you will have to read the book.
The characters propel the story forward and aside from the three already mentioned there is a host of others. The main character Steven just has not become an adult. He is stuck somewhere between dependant adolescence and independent adulthood. He has a job but every night he goes to clubs and therefore it is easy for him to deny responsibilities and adulthood. He doesn’t want to admit it but we see that he is tiring of his life as it is and he really wants some meaning in his life. However, it is easy to be where he is. Then there is the fact that Adrian is more than a best friend; Steven is somewhat in love with him and Adrian wants to keep him where he is.
Adrian is one of those characters that is so horrible yet we cannot help but love him. We see him manipulating Steven and he uses him as something to prop up his emotions. Sadly, Steve has eagerly done so.
John is Steven’s direct opposite. He has been through the period when AIDS robbed us of so much. He is loyal to his friends and he has his own self-made family. Steven is inspired by him but he is also intimidated (and sexually aroused by John). Yet Steven knows how he must look to John. His relationship brings about a change in Steven and he really begins to realize who he is and come of age. Steven is driven by John but knows that he cannot have him as he is. He begins to try being the kind of man that John would pay attention to.
I believe that we something of ourselves in Steven and we want him to succeed. The prose is excellent and the characters are well drawn. It is because that everything that happens here is so relatable that we really love the book. Yes, there are sex scenes (sex sells) but the romance move slowly.
I do not know Seattle but I learned a great deal about the city here and Seattle is actually a character in the story.