I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Gay lovers find temporary respite from adversity in this collection of stories by Scott D. Pomfret. Ranging from a cocaine-fueled rampage to the blind eye of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell to the submission of a dick-dock orgy, these stories depict the bonds gay men forge when political unrest, drugs, HIV/AIDS, the Church or a demanding T-ball schedule put their commitments to the test.
As someone who rarely reads outside the romance genre unless it’s running, vegan or yoga related, I was pleased that I decided to give this collection of short stories a try. Why do I say that? Well, this is not a romance, though there are stories of couples, of lovers and there is sex, this is not a romance as I know it.
I am not sure I can do the contents nor the author justice with a review though and I am not certain how to review this. These stories left me very emotional so I am going to do my best.
This is a collection of short stories that span so many different facets of being homosexual over many different decades. For me, it was an eye opening experience and almost as if I sat down with a group of men who decided I was an okay enough person for them to tell their stories to. This is how these felt, as if they were personal accounts told to a group of people, some that would understand because they’d gone through something similar and to others, who needed to hear them to check themselves. I think I am somewhere in the middle, someone who wants to understand so that… well, so that I understand. You know?
“It’s a matter of honor,” you explained. “It’s private. You had to be there to understand. You can never understand.”
I am not going to go over each of the stories, my poor heart can’t take that right now. But I will say, the stories of soldiers and war tore my heart out. Some were told with a simple first person POV and just a “you” with no given names. These stories for me were the most emotional and it shocked me as the tense and the unnamed should not have affected me the way they did and yet after reading thirteen short stories they are the ones I can’t get out of my head.
The first story, “You are the One” happens to be my favorite though it was the hardest for me to read. It was hopelessly heart breaking to be of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t tell” era of our military. Reading the unnamed men at West Point as they hide their relationship and one prepares to do his duty and go off to War while the other pleads and devotes himself to save his lover. I haven’t been able to walk away from those two, it’s the one I can’t let go of.
“Don’t be so dramatic,” you say. “Gay marriage, the end of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ et cetera, et cetera. These are good times.”
“Suicidal teens. The ban on donating blood to the Red Cross. Corrective rapes of lesbians in South Africa. Stonings in Iraq. Welcome to the world of the happy homosexual.”
While I liked all of the stories, they left me with an overwhelming feeling of melancholy. There is so much unfairness written plainly and between the lines in these stories. So much loss and so much wrong that it was really hard for me to stomach. I know this isn’t a romance and that there wasn’t going to be the fluffy feelings but the emotions these stores, this author pulled from me were so extreme and almost too much for me. I am an emotional reader on a regular basis but Pomfret, twisted my guts inside out… thirteen times.
You Are the One, is written in an almost journal or diary style, each story is amazing for their own reasons. Each story is written with such intimate detail that at times I felt like an intruder, a peeping Tom among the memories of men fighting for love, fighting against the right to believe and just to live. I felt like these stories weren’t meant for someone like me but then maybe I am the demographic for them so I could get more insight? I don’t know. I just know that these stories touched me, they kicked my ass, they made me cry and they owned my heart while leaving me breathless.