Delyani, Chris. “Best Man”, Independently Published, 2019.
Friendship, Love and Partnership
Frank Mercer is a forty-year-old high school math teacher who is recently divorced from his husband and having a rough time finically, especially making mortgage payments. He thinks his problems might be solved by a romance with Jonathan Butler, his old friend and a man he has secretly admired for over twenty years. The problem is that Jonathan is engaged to Marcus Pierce, his unfaithful longtime boyfriend. When Jonathan asks Frank to serve as best man at his wedding, Frank has to decide whether to support his friend or tell him how he really feels.
Julio Robles is Frank’s roommate and a popular yoga teacher. Julio’s star student is Marcus, Jonathan’s fiancé and Frank’s nemesis. Marcus has made it clear he’d like more from Julio than yoga lessons. Frank asks Julio to act as his boyfriend on a dinner date with Jonathan and Marcus and Julio quickly accepted the invitation but soon finds himself in over his head. Frank and Julio make up a fake relationship in contrast to Marcus and Jonathan’s real relationship (if it is indeed real) and we do not know which relationship is real and which relationship is fake? The story deals with fundamental questions about love, friendship, and what it means to be true to one’s partner.
This is both a comedy of errors and a comedy of manners as well as an introspective look at the characters. Marcus’s ego threatens everyone near him yet Jonathan, is somehow in love with Marcus and wants to marry him. We see that lies beget lies and the story becomes more involved as Frank tries to balance Marcus’ aggression against his own passivity. The web here becomes really tangled but writer Chris Delyani’s works thing out. The more I read the more captivated I became.
There is no erotica or wild sex scenes here and we read about realistic meetings, lies and partners who cheat. It is all very down to earth and a fun read that has something to say. It is quite classy and written in eloquent prose with excellent characterization.