Review: Boys of Life by Paul Russell

Note: This ARC was provided by Rock Star Lit PR in exchange for an honest review.

But there I was. Here I still am. He’s got me in his hands—from the very first instant in the Nu-Way Laundromat that day ten years ago in the rain, he’s still got me. To the very end. 

Not all stories are meant to have a happy ending, but it doesn't mean that they aren't worth reading simply because no one goes riding off into the proverbial sunset and lives a blissful life after we stop turning the pages. Author Paul Russell's standalone fictional tale entitled Boys of Life is about Tony Blair, whose life is irrevocably altered at the age of sixteen. Tony meets Carlos Reichart, a forty-year-old film director who lures Tony into a seemingly seductive life that turns out to be one he desperately needs to get away from. Tony's innocence and naivete are used and abused by Carlos and the homoerotic films he makes with Carlos at the helm become increasingly depraved and lurid. When Carlos takes things too far, Tony may take very drastic measures in order to ensure that Carlos doesn't continue to victimize him or anyone else.

Boys of Life is not an easy book to read, but you persevere because that's what a book as good as this one deserves. If you're looking for a feel-good romance, you're looking in the wrong direction. If you want to take a chance on an extremely well-written tale of innocence lost and lives unraveled, this is a book that may fit the bill for you. It's unconventional and gritty but it was difficult to put it down, even when I knew that things weren't going to end well. Both Tony and Carlos are complicated characters and their relationship is filled with complexities that had them destined for destruction. Just when Tony thinks he's freed himself from Carlos's clutches, he's dragged back in and this time around, Tony is bombarded with opposing emotions, and it's that lethal combination that has him doing something he can never take back.

A hauntingly honest book, quieting Tony's voice as he told his story is far easier said than done. Pointing fingers and blaming the obvious villain in the story is a simple enough task, but even Tony himself has conflicting feelings when it comes to Carlos and the impact this man had on his life. When I read a book that affects me, I can be very verbose, and paragraph upon paragraph isn't enough to explain how taken I am by a story and its characters. Then there are the books that leave me speechless, wherein I feel as if I can't aptly express how good it really is and that whatever I come up with is lacking. That's the case here with this hidden gem of novel. Originally published in 1991, this is one very highly recommended five-plus-starred read. Boys of Life stays with you, lingering and refusing to let go...just like Carlos was with Tony. ♥

Date Read: 12 March 2016

Learn more about Paul Russell.

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