Bell, Jay. “Something Like Summer”, CreateSpace, 2011.
Learning from Love
Living alone and without love is never easy and Ben was doing just that in Texas until Tim Wyman came into his life. Had it not been for an accident the two may never have met and Ben is smitten with Tim from the moment he sees him. He was quick to learn that getting him and then keeping him were not easy to do. Jay Bell gives us a love story but with all of the trials and tribulations we go through to keep love alive.
Being a writer of gay literature these days can be very difficult because so much has been done and it is hard to get a handle on something new. Jay Bell has succeeded in giving us a new look at gay romance and love as two discover the meaning of “friends and lovers”.
Since this is the first book I have read by Bell, I have nothing to compare it with yet I do find the mixture of emotions to be amazing. I found myself laughing through tears several times and it is rare that a novel will reduce me to tears and then pick me up in the very same paragraph. I did have trouble deciding whether it is the characters or the emotions that drive this story and I decided that they are equal—the characters are wonderfully drawn and the emotion is stylishly handled.
This story is obviously very important to Bell and that is why it is so beautifully written. Beginning with looking at our characters as teens, we are with Ben and Tim for ten years as they mature, come out, accept themselves, fall in love.
The story opens with Ben and from the first page we learn about him and we revel in his innocence and admire his candor. He is who he is and that is how he defines himself. He had his problems and he dealt with them and he immediately wins us over. For Ben, Tim was a prize to be won and he was determined to win him. I understand that the story is based upon Bell’s own life and what it was like to be an openly gay teen in high school. This explains why he deals so well with the emotion—it is his own. We see what it is like to be gay and in school and we see that it gets better. It stays complicated as we all know but age brings maturity and the ability to better deal with issues.
Bell does not shy away from the erotic in this story and our guys have some very hot sex. The sex is not gratuitous but important to the development of the guys and the story and to avoid it would hurt the story by making it seem less real. Like I said the sex is hot but it is tasteful and important to the plot.
I could on to tell more about the plot but I do not want to give anything away. This is a book that MUST be read because it will reverberate with so many us. Aside from that I found the writing to be sublime and the story to be beautifully told.