Sunday, October 22, 2017

Book Review: 'Building Us' by Rick Bettencourt

Said once, say it again: `Rick Bettencourt steps into an enlarging spotlight of fellow LGBT writers - a circle stage front that includes such names as David Sedaris, Edmund White, Felice Picano, Robert Rodi, Michael Cunningham, David Leavitt, Alan Hollinghurst, Colm Tóibín, et al - and comes on very strong with this new book BUILDING US. Though there is much talk about this master of the social media and though he has enjoyed success with his earlier works PAINTING WITH WINE and the collection of stories in NOT SURE BOYS, this novel – the second in the series Marketing Beef Gay Romance places him solidly in the company of the specially gifted young writers of gay fiction.' All true and building - he now is responsible for publishing some very promising fellow writers - and this story is a fun walk in the LGBT park. Rick's gift for comedic writing continues to swell.

Rick opens this book with introducing the main characters written thoughts: 'Evan and Dillon - In the truest sense of the word gay, our marriage doesn’t smack of happily ever after. Life reaches forward and slaps you upside the head with what’s important—health, love, friends—and alters your course. “Is a general sense of well-being too much to ask for?” I lay on the couch and stared up at the ceiling. “I want happiness. I’m not asking for millions of dollars. I don’t want much. I don’t need much…other than a sense of security and comfort in knowing the bills are paid…can be paid.” I gazed into my therapist’s chestnut eyes. “Also, contentment in my relationship with Dillon. I’m not asking for a lot.” Dr. Deet cocked his head. “I love Dill. You, more than anyone, knows that. Since my cancer and the financial troubles, we’ve grown…distant.” I shifted and sat up with my feet under my legs. “It’s not the seven-year itch. Is it?” Dill and I married five years ago, and were together over a year before. The conventional phrase about irritants in a long-term relationship rang a proverbial buzzer, beckoning to enter our home. Not us. “I’m not interested in other men. Well, Vilhelm Strom’s rather hot.” I laughed. The Hollywood actor, in town to shoot his latest film, caused a stir throughout Massachusetts’s North Shore. “Do you think Dill’s cheating on me? God knows I hardly give the guy the satisfaction a husband deserves. He’s a good man. He’s patient. I trust him. Right?” Deet exhaled loudly. “I’ll be back to normal, I hope, in no time. The doctor cleared me of cancer…six months now. My bladder’s cancer-free. Woo-hoo. I should be thrilled.” The emotional impact and side effects from the medication had rendered me listless. The all clear should have had me skipping down the street for joy, yet I couldn’t shake the funk. “What do you think?” As usual, he didn’t reply. Like a good therapist, he volleyed the ball into my side of the court with those self-assured, all-knowing, warm eyes.’

To save the potential reader time, the author's plot synopsis serves well: ` To save their failing business, Evan and Dillon cast their dog in a Hollywood production being filmed in New England. Their commitment to each other is tested when the lead actor—a former teen idol—and a lumberjack threaten the couple’s marriage. Will a show business lifestyle suit the small-town pair? BUILDING US is a lighthearted adventure about keeping the romantic flames burning long after the initial spark.'

Rick Bettencourt just soars here and his place in the literary scene grows with a devoted fan base. Relax, walk along with him on this warmly entertaining little love outing. Committed couples will learn and love from this fine story. Grady Harp, October 17
This book is free to borrow on Kindle Unlimited

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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