This book was supposed to have that lonely older ranger meets younger guy feel. I didn’t get much of that though. For an adult book, something about the writing style felt juvenile. The story is written in the first person but instead of it feeling like that, the first time the characters are introduced it attempts to break the third wall by directly addressing the reader. It doesn’t quite work. It should’ve just stuck in normal first person because it almost reads like it will happen again. Much like how the Lemony Snicket stories work where the narrator addresses the reader throughout the story and not just as an introduction. Since it’s only an introduction just going with the flow like every other first-person story reveals its backstory would’ve fit better.
Next, there are some oddities. Like how Chet doesn’t want to move back home to his parents because they don’t know he’s gay. Firstly if they don’t know there is no reason to tell them now if he does move home. Secondly, his relationship with them doesn’t play a part in this story so why mention it at all unless it was a real possibility he’d do this. Thirdly I can’t really like a guy who gets mad when someone dumps them because they don’t have anything in common then goes out of his way to explain how they don’t have anything in common like it’s a logical reason they aren’t together. Why so mad then? He even mentions this exact same thing to the love interest when they meet. Honestly, if it was so true I can see why the ex was weirded out by him getting mad by it when he himself recognises it was an issue.
My other problem with this was how it starts with the notion that things can’t happen because… I dunno the plot won’t allow it. Yes, Larry can kiss Chet. Yes, he can either choose to have a fling with him or not. But if he wants him so bad a kiss falls into some weird moral category of not wanting Chet to think he was using him it doesn’t make sense. Then, after all is said and done this lingering it cant work stuff is still there. Does Chet live so far away he can’t come up and visit? Even still, is only being able to see him on weekends so terrible. Can’t Larry hire an assistant so he can actually leave? Is it essential he work alone? And, if he is the only one there doesn’t he have to leave sometimes for supplies or is everything delivered to him? Who watches the place when he is gone? There was just something about the whole set-up of this not being able to work that I didn’t get cause I couldn’t see any real obstacle in the way. The fact he said if you ever want to come back was also a clear indicator it wouldn’t be that difficult to come see him.
Chet gets back to town after the ordeal otherwise known as ‘the big drama filled we must have angst and tension breakup in romance ending’. He has enough time to cry and ponder the situation, he has enough time to make a phone call, quit his job and head back to the campsite so fast Larry literally says “in the short time he’d been gone” that he was missing him. So clearly he wasn’t far away if it was short being gone and he had time to question the ‘breakup’ and quit his job beforehand, so why all the angst and crying and drama about it not being able to work?
This was my takeaway really. That somehow the relationship couldn’t progress at a certain speed because Larry wanted more so you know, as fully grown adults we cant act on desires if we want more. Then, after finally moving to the more phase, apparently there’s some mystical reason it can’t work and distance doesn’t seem to be a problem. From the awkward breakup to the odd introductions and then this invisible reason why they couldn’t even attempt a relationship, it was hard for me to get into this. It had all the makings of a decent weekend romp in the mountains but didn’t quite make it to the finish line for me because it tried to be more serious than this and it didn’t work out so well unfortunately.