Published by Samhain Publishing on 12 March 2013
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So what do you do if you’re 38 years old, you’ve burned through three marriages, and you’re attracted to a guy more than ten years younger than yourself? If you’re Vince Fierro, you panic.
You see, Vince (one of the main characters of Family Man) is all that and more. Even though he has an MBA, he works as a plumber in his uncle’s business. He’s part of a large, closely-knit Italian-American family in Chicago. And lately, he’s been wondering if his problems with women might be due to looking for love in the wrong places. After talking to his sister, Rachel (who tells him “you have commitment issues that have commitment issues”), he goes out one night to a club in a part of town where no one knows him. Of course, he immediately runs into Trey Giles, a younger guy from his old neighborhood and a family friend.
Trey, our other main character, has his own issues. He’s still in college, trying to finish his degree. He can only take one course a semester (if he’s lucky), because he’s working two jobs to help cover the mortgages on his grandmother’s house. He’s lived there with his alcoholic mother ever since his policeman father was killed during a routine traffic stop when Trey was two years old. At twenty-five, he’s still a virgin, because his grandmother (who is fine with him being gay) taught him that where sex is concerned, it’s always worth waiting for the right person.
Family Man, by Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton, is the story of Vince and Trey and how they overcome all obstacles to get the their Happily Ever After. I’ll admit it: I’m a sucker for romantic stories with happy endings. I have been ever since I first read Pride and Prejudice lo, these many years ago. Looking for something to read on my Nook last night, I came across Family Man. It sounded interesting, and wasn’t too expensive, so I took a chance. I’m glad I did. I stayed up past midnight reading the first half of the book, then laid awake thinking about it for the longest time. About 5:30AM I got up and finished it. Really, I couldn’t get it out of my head. Vince’s story of growing up and locking away his sexuality (because Fierro men were expected to get married and have kids) sounded so true and at the same time sad. Trey’s childhood with an alcoholic mother, while I don’t have any experience to compare it to, was just heartbreaking. I now have a lot more sympathy for those who grew up in families with alcoholic parents.
The pace of the novel felt a little slow at times, but it couldn’t have been. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have finished it in a matter of hours. Both main characters were very believable (and likable), and the secondary characters, although not always as clearly drawn, fit the story well: Frank, Vince’s uncle, his mother Lisa, Trey’s mother Mindy, and his grandmother Sophia all melded into the plot and filled the roles assigned them very well. The book is nicely edited, something you don’t always see in an ebook. I only caught one error, toward the end where Sophia’s mortgage is referred to as rent. There are sexual scenes in the last part of the book, and all I’ll say is that they’re well-written, and very hot! My favorite part of the book, though, is during Mindy’s hospitalization. Vince realizes that Trey and his family need more help than he can give them, and his family can and would provide that help. Getting that help means either hiding his relationship with Trey or coming out to his family, which scares the hell out of him. Finally he talks to his mother, Lisa, who does get angry with him. Not for being gay, though, but for what she thinks Vince believes of her: “Don’t cry, you tell me. But first you tell me I’m going to abandon my son, and you remind me what my Christian duty is to my friends, as if I wouldn’t remember on my own.”
I really only have one complaint about Family Man. After Mindy’s crisis in the hospital, she (and to a lesser extent Sophia) just kind of disappear from the story. I get that we’re moving on to the end of the story, and they won’t play as large a role, but it still seems kind of awkward and not what they deserve. Still, I’ll enjoy this book very much when I read it again. And I will read it again, many times over.