Sierra, Jude. “A Tiny Piece of Something Greater”, interlude, 2018.
Navigating Love and Mental Illness
I usually do not look at other reviews before I sit down to write my own but for some reason I took a look at the Goodreads page of this book and found twelve reviews all written by females. This struck me as odd for a M/M romance but then we never know who our readers are.
Jude Sierra introduces us to Reid Watsford, a young man who has a lot of secrets and a past he can’t leave behind. While staying at his grandmother’s condo in Key Largo, he decides that he wants to learn to s scuba dive so he signs up for introductory classes and there he meets Joaquim Oliveira, a Brazilian dive instructor. The two men are instantly drawn to one another and what might have been just a casual roll in the sack, becomes much more. As their relationship becomes more serious, they both have to deal with the challenges of Reid’s mental illness, separately and together.
Reid’s illness allows him to cope but he does not have the ability to feel what he thinks is “normal”.He has mood swings that vary from depression to almost euphoria and he has suffered with then his entire 20 years of life. He has been through therapy and taken medication and has come to understand that some people are toxic to him. This is why he is staying at his grandmother’s house in Florida. Home in Wisconsin was not good for him.
Because he had nothing to do, he decided to take a SCUBA course and there he meets Joaquim. But then his former boyfriend shows up uninvited and the fact that he is able to tell him to go away shows that he is progressing in taking care of himself.
Joaquim is a Brazilian doing an internship far from his home and hoping to find permanent work in Florida. When he is unable to get a job, he decides to go back home to visit his family which is the opposite of what Reid might do in the same situation. Reid is almost OCD. He keeps his home clean and orderly and in order to function, he must have a plan while Joaquim prefers to go on instinct and sees what happens. The two have their ups and downs but are able to be together.
Jude Sierra does a wonderful job building the relationship between Reid and Joaquim. They take time to get to know one another and to care for each other. Joaquim learns to understand and respect Reid’s boundaries without letting go of his own. This is a love story that is not as much about love as it is about the characters and learning to be an adult (and deal with mental illness).