Monday, March 13, 2017

Book Review: "The Truth About Goodbye" by Russell Ricard

Losing a spouse, a partner, a lover is one of the most difficult experiences a person can endure, and when it happens suddenly, there is no rhyme or reason. Seeing a premature end to your hopes and dreams for your shared future can at times seem almost too much to bear, and as much as friends and family provide love, support, and consolation, sometimes that just doesn't seem enough.

Why does everyone expect you to get on with your life, when you feel as if so much of your life has ended? If there were issues which were unresolved when your loved one died, how can you move on when you truly have no closure? When will you know whether it is ever time to try and start again? These are just some of the questions that Russell Ricard touches upon in his upcoming book, The Truth About Goodbye.

Sebastian's world seemed to stop about one year ago, when his husband Frank died suddenly. Yet as devastated as he is about Frank's death, as lost as he still feels, he blames himself as well, because that night he and Frank were arguing about one of Frank's former flames. He really can't move on because he still wonders whether there was anything going on with Frank and the other guy, although perhaps knowing the truth could be dangerous.

Meanwhile, the rest of Seb's life is an absolute mess, and we're not just talking about his apartment. He's barely hanging on to the two part-time jobs he needs to make ends meet, he can't seem to come up with a routine for the tap dancing class he teaches, and he still dreams of landing that big role in a Broadway musical instead of being just a chorus boy at age 40. Oh, and he's convinced Frank is haunting their apartment.

A further complication enters into his life when his best friend and ex-Rockette Chloe, introduces him to Reid, a handsome landscape designer. Reid seems truly interested in Seb, and lord knows he's lonely, but is he ready for a new relationship?

This is a sweet and moving book, and while it deals with some difficult emotional issues—loss, guilt, grief, loneliness—it never gets too heavy-handed. Ricard has created an interesting bunch of characters, and so much of the plot was so entertaining and full of hijinks that I could totally see this as a movie. (Plus, I'd love to see who they'd cast as Reid, who sounded absolutely yummy from Ricard's description.)

For me, the weak link for a good portion of the book was Seb, believe it or not. I understand what he was going through and all of the complex emotions he was dealing with, but I just wished he would have spoken his mind or snapped out of his indecisive fugue state a little quicker, because he just wasn't very appealing. But ultimately, as his character pulled his life together a little bit more, he became more charming.

I look forward to seeing what comes next in Ricard's writing career, because he's written a winning first novel.

NetGalley and Wise Ink Creative Publishing provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available!

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