It's not the breaking up that kills you, it's the aftermath.
Ever since his longtime lover decided he'd seen the "heterosexual light," Matt's life has been in a nosedive. Six months of too many missed shifts at the hospital, too much booze, too many men. Matt knows he's on the verge of losing everything, but he's finding it hard to care.
Then Matt meets Aaron. He's gorgeous, intelligent and apparently not interested in being picked up. Still, even after seeing Matt at his worst, he doesn't turn away. Aaron's kindness and respect have Matt almost believing he's worth it-and that there could be life after Joe. But his newfound happiness is threatened when Matt begins to suspect Aaron is hiding something, or someone...
That's right, after having read this book at least 5 times, with the most recent being this past weekend when I was fortunate enough to share this reading experience in a buddy read with the awesomeness of Christelle, Josy, Lila and Natalie, it's high time that I attempted to review what is one of my absolute favorite books ever.
I'm not really sure that I know how to explain this book but here goes...'Life After Joe' is the story of what happens when one man's relationship ends. For Matt his relationship with Joe was a forever thing. They grew up together, so not only was Joe the man he loved...Joe was Matt's best friend. They shared everything, their dreams and aspirations, their hopes and fears, a bed...a home and Matt thought their hearts...until they didn't. Until Joe sat him down on that rug in front of the fireplace where he liked to make love to Matt and told him 'This isn't what I want anymore.' and walked out.
For any of us this would be heartbreaking so it's no surprise that Matt's devastated. He doesn't really know how to go on. His life becomes one continuous chain of drinks and one night stands, quick hook-ups and embarrassing moments. Until Aaron.
Aaron's got his own heartbreak to deal with and he's gone in a totally opposite direction from Matt. Oh, he goes out to the bars and has a few drinks but no matter who approaches him and men do approach him because Aaron's gorgeous and he's got an air of intrigue about him that draws men to him like moths to a flame, but he turns them all down. Politely sending each one away even Matt. But there's something different about Matt and Aaron watches him until circumstances bring him to Matt's rescue. Matt's initially baffled as to why Aaron treats him with such kindness and respect, he doesn't understand it, doesn't think he deserves it.
Their's is such a tenuous fragile beginning both men are so cautious. Drawing together only to pull away. Wanting and yet afraid to take. I have read this story as I said at the beginning at least 5 times and each time I'm drawn into it and at times it feels like my world has stopped so that I can be in theirs.
I love Harper Fox's writing style and the magic that she weaves with her stories, but for whatever reason 'Life After Joe' has endeared itself to me far more than any of her other stories that I have read. I loved 'Driftwood', 'Scrap Metal' is fabulous, 'The Salisbury Key' was awesome, I was pretty sure 'Half Moon Chambers' broke me forever and 'All Roads Lead to You' probably wrung more tears from me than just about any other book and yet, if you told me that I could only ever read one Harper Fox book I would pick 'Life After Joe'. it's one of those illogical things that doesn't really have a rhyme or reason for me it just is. We all connect with things for different reasons and sometimes for no other reason than 'we just do'. So if you ask me why I love 'Life After Joe' my honest answer is "I just do."
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Reading gives us someplace to go, when we have to stay where we are. (Mason Cooley)
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