From the blurb:
Dating is hard enough. Throw in an incontinent Chihuahua, an unrequited love affair, a severe case of social anxiety disorder, a dying father, and a man-eating hog and it becomes darned near impossible. Still, it takes two to tango—and when Tom Morgan, a mild-mannered assistant bank manager with a debilitating case of shyness, meets Frank Wells, who is straight off the farm and even shyer than he is, sparks start flying.
Just when Tom and Frank’s burgeoning love affair is rolling along nicely, Frank must return to Indiana to oversee the farm while his father battles cancer. Tom tags along to help Frank out and finds himself slopping hogs and milking cows and wondering what the hell happened to his orderly citified existence. And what’s with all the chickens? Tom hates chickens!
With Frank’s help, Tom grits his teeth and muddles through. Funny what a couple of guys can accomplish when they’re crazy about each other. Not even nine hundred chickens can stand in the way of true love.
Sometimes I rate books 3 stars because I like the whole book a little bit, but I don't have very strong feelings about it. Sometimes I rate books 3 stars because I really liked parts of the book but had problems with other parts. Shy falls in the last camp.
Shy was my first book from John Inman, and I have to say, I was really impressed. He has a great writing style that grabbed me from the start, and really funny, self-deprecating characters. I liked his sense of humor (though fewer poop jokes might have been nice), and I liked the banter between the characters.
I also am a HUGE sucker for characters with disabilities, and SAD (social anxiety disorder) was an interesting one to read about. I like an underdog character, and seeing Tom and Frank deal with their anxiety in a humorous way was really enjoyable to read.
"Heather," you say, "it seems like you LOVED this book! What's the problem?"
Well, I'll enlighten you.
First of all, I feel like this book could be split into two sections; the first half which dealt mostly with SAD and the meeting of Tom and Frank, and the second half, which I'll dub, "Poop and Drama."
The first half of the book was fun, with the exception of one of my BIGGEST pet peeves... INSTALOVE! GAH, John Inman, why you gotta play me like that? Instalove is so bad, IMO, that I've taken to automatically docking a star when I see it. This book was sooooo instalove, and it killed me.
I also didn't get the relationship with Jerry, but that was throughout the first and second half of the book. He had a VERY strange co-dependent, toxic relationship with Tom, and I was completely baffled about their dynamic.
The second half of the book had another positive: Frank's dad. Frank's dad was a lovely, well rounded, extremely touching character. He was a great blend of funny, emotional, and interesting, and I think the book got great depth from him.
However... ugh, the second half of the book was exhausting for me. Lots of farm jokes, lots of slapstick comedy, and LOTS of drama. Stanley was one of my least favorite characters because he was like a movie-villain. He was completely, 100% evil, and it got to be comical in a terrible way. I thought that the character of Stanley really cheapened the story.
I also thought it was strange how the SAD issue was rarely discussed in the second half of the book. I mean, these guys could barely leave the house before and now they interacted with other people (albeit in the limited setting) with no issues.
Finally, I have to mention the blow-job/hand-job only sex. Sure, some people aren't into penetration, but I found it to be a bit... odd, especially because there was so much talk about Tom's endowment.
Phew! Loong review, mixed review, but I feel like John Inman can really work for me in the future, as long as a few things are tweaked.
**Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review**
Read as part of John Inman's Greatest Hits.
Catch ya later!