Wednesday, May 7, 2008

When You Don't See Me

When You Don't See Me, by Timothy James Beck
$10.50 in the Hansisgreat Gift Shop
ISBN: 0758216866
This is a light novel whose main character, Nick, is a young gay man. It's a sort of romantic novel, although the romance is not all-consuming in terms of the plot. This is a good thing, because the author was able to touch on several other great themes: coming of age, establishing one's own identity, and coming to terms with mortality. Generally, I don't recommend a lot of "gay" books because they're usually sort of frivolous. This novel hit just the right balance: true depth and well developed characters, but it's not too dark or heavy.
Nick Dunhill is nineteen years old, and is a very willful young man. He leaves his parents' home in Wisconsin without a word of explanation, and moves in with his gay Uncle Blaine. 
Soon he leaves Blaine as well, and shares a squalid apartment in Greenwich Village which he shares with three other roommates. 
He drops out of college and works for a cleaning service, from which he's quickly fired, and doesn't seem to have any ambition or direction at all. His parents are worried. His uncle is worried. His roommates are not sure he'll be able to come up with his share of the rent.
He soon gets a job in a prestigious and mysterious firm called Wamsley & Wilkes. It's a suspiciously good deal in a town where decent jobs are hard to find. This is when things begin to turn around for him.
Our hero is weighed down by the alienation that comes with youth: he can do anything he wants, but doesn't know what he wants. In fact, he's used to making himself as invisible as possible to those around him. As he becomes more of a success, he's forced to confront the fact that he's becoming an adult and needs to find his place in the world.
His family and friends make a number of heart-wrenching pleas for Nick to straighten out and fly right, but he's determined to live a life of obscurity and poverty
Overall, it's a touching, sensitive, and character-driven book. Nick seems like a really nice boy who's just a bit mixed up: the folly of youth. He even frustrates himself at times. Needless to say, in time he gains confidence and makes a new life for himself as a worthwhile and successful adult man.
There are a few scenes that might qualify as steamy, but not raunchy or explicit. A good choice if you're looking for an engaging book with a few cheap thrills. Funny at times, and brimming with all the intrigue and excitement New York City has to offer, When You Don't See Me is a terrific choice for the gay man in your life.

3 comments:

Mark said...

I'm in the middle of reading this book, based on your recommendation. So far, I've found it to be as engaging as you said. I'll add that it's a book that brings the reader in quickly. Some authors will take much too long to set things up. Within a few pages, I knew I would be finishing this one.

See, and you thought everyone came here just for the pictures ;-)

Mark--

timothyjlambert said...

Thanks for mentioning When You Don't See Me in your blog. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Hansisgreat said...

Thanks for taking the time to write! It was a very good book, and we're always delighted to hear from an author here at Hansisgreat.
Keep up the good work, Tim!