Cosentino, Joe. “An Infatuation”, Dreamspinner Press, 2015.
Harold’s high school reunion is coming up very soon and he wonders if Mario will be there. Mario was the hunk—well built and sexy and for Harold it was instant love. Harold had tutored Mario in Math when they were in high school together and he fell hard in love with him. Mario reciprocated until homophobia and bullying forced him to stay deep in the closet. Now both men are married—Mario is now a model and married to his female producer but their lives are unhappy while Harold, now a teacher, is married to Stuart, a businessman. However, when the two men meet again, twenty years have passed, Harold is worried why the thought of Mario gets him going. Harold has to find a way to make peace with both the past and the present, hoping that the future will take care of itself.
We all know that love can be an uncontrollable passion and it does not always do what we want it to do. In the story we meet Harold as he is twenty years into his relationship with Stuart and the two men shares lives that are ordinary and somewhat simple. Harold has decided to write a story about the infatuation of some twenty years earlier.
Harold is sitting down to write a story about his infatuation. Stuart reminds him to start the story twenty years ago so that the readers understand, and we’re off. Then we actually move back in time those twenty years where we meet Mario when he comes late into Chemistry class and is assigned Harold for a lab partner. The two seem to have nothing in common. Mario is a popular jock, becomes class president while Harold is sort of nerdy, plays the tuba and is somewhat openly gay.
In the next scene, we’re twenty years in the past and being introduced to Mario. Mario comes into Chemistry class late, and the teacher assigns him to be Harold’s lab partner. Only later in the book do we find out she had an ulterior motive.
Mario and Harold couldn’t be more opposite. Mario is a football player, the class president, and one of the popular crowd; and Harold is a red haired, tuba playing, nerd, and just happens to be gay…although he isn’t out and assumes no one knows. As time passes, however, the two become close and this is because Harold tutors Mario in almost everything and even writes his essays for admittance to college.
Then Harold is attacked by two of Mario’s football friends who almost rape him but a surprise causes that to stop. The bullies are suspended and kicked off of the football team.
Things start to fall apart though when Harold is attacked by a couple of Mario’s football buddies and almost raped. The only reason he isn’t raped is that Mario and Harold’s friend Hannah interrupt the potential rapists just as anal insertion is about to occur. The two guys get a one week suspension and then are right back at school, although they are thrown off the football team. The school principal brushes it aside by telling Harold that guys like Harold and he need to keep their heads down and not draw attention to themselves. The principal tells Harold that he is partially to blame for having brought attention on himself.
Mario then decides that he is in love with the head cheerleader and tells Harold that what they did was not natural and only a phase. At home, Harold hears about his gay uncle who committed suicide and his father says that people like that are better off dead.
We move forward and my summary stops because to continue would ruin the story. It is Harold who tells the story and does so from his point of view. We move forward to the class reunion that Harold attend with Stuart and….
Here is a story that keeps you reading and turning pages quickly. It is a sentimental story filled with heartbreaking moments and beautifully written. There are many twists and turns and the characters are totally believable. Watch this author—we will be hearing more about and form him.