Friday, December 29, 2017

Book Review: Everyday History by Alice Archer

Everyday History
Headstrong Ruben Harper has yet to meet an obstacle he can’t convert to a speed bump. He’s used to getting what he wants from girls, but when he develops a fascination for a man, his wooing skills require an upgrade. After months of persuasion, he scores a dinner date with Henry Normand that morphs into an intense weekend. The unexpected depth of their connection scares Ruben into fleeing.

Shy, cautious Henry, Ruben’s former high school history teacher, suspects he needs a wake-up call, and Ruben appears to be his siren. But when Ruben bolts, Henry is left struggling to find closure. Inspired by his conversations with Ruben, Henry begins to write articles about the memories stored in everyday objects. The articles seduce Ruben with details from their weekend together and trigger feelings too strong to avoid. As Henry’s snowballing fame takes him out of town and further out of touch, Ruben stretches to close the gaps that separate them.

Jewel's rating:

All. The. Stars!!!!!

​History.​ It's a subject I often dreaded in school, but learned to appreciate later.​ ​When I was in school, history usually ​meant facts and dates about important events from long ago. Things that if taught properly, take on a life of their own in the mind of the teacher and the student. And if not, they're flat and boring things with no real context. Forgotten as soon as they're no longer needed.

But, really, everything around us has a ​story to tell. A history. ​Everyday history of everyday objects tells us the story of us. And ​​Everyday History is gorgeous and poignant and brilliantly written and the ​story of Henry and Reuben comes alive in ways that stories don't often accomplish.

Henry​ Normand​ is​ more than​ a teacher of history. ​He's private, complex and when he feels, he feels with his entire being. ​As he teaches each new batch of interns at the museum where he curates, he instills both an admiration and a passion for not just the facts of the past, but the context in which they happened. He's exactly the kind o​f​ teacher I always wanted and seldom got. He brings his subject matter alive for his students.

Henry's own history is something he keeps to himself. Fear of rejection and shame for things that were not his doing has kept Henry from giving himself completely to anyone. Trust does not come easily to Henry, but if anyone deserves to be loved wholly, it is Henry.

Reuben​ Harper​ is one of Henry's students. Young, passionate, charismatic​, popular. Through Henry's teaching, Reuben discovers he has developed not just a love of history, but a major crush as well -- Reuben's first crush on a man. That Reuben wanted Henry was never in doubt, but he's so young and just discovering himself. I found Reuben to be honest, insightful, and thoughtful, but he was also so new to discovering his attraction to men and so was not ready to commit.

​When my friends recommended ​Everyday History to me, I had no idea it would grab onto my soul quite as firmly as it did. No idea that it would become one of my favorite books. No idea what it would mean to me. But it did all of those things and I want everyone to read it!

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Happy reading!

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