Ford, Michael Thomas. “Changing Tides”, Kensington Books, 2007.
For those of us that have been following Michael Thomas Ford’s trilogy which includes “Looking For It”, “Last Summer” and “Full Circle”, there is good news. On August 28, Ford’s new book hits the stores—“Changing Tides”. Ford is one of the few authors that have been able to write about the full spectrum of gay men’s lives and he does so with humor and warmth and compassion. This book is about the summer that three people are continuing their search for love and a human connection. As Ford examines the flaws and frailties of humankind he shows us people tat are unable to connect but struggle to do so. In the process they learn about love and are forced to embrace the unknown so that they ca live life to the fullest.
Ben Ransome is a marine biologist who understands the sea. He has spent his life studying sea slugs. He understands them, he thinks. It is people that he has trouble understanding. With that lack of understanding he is faced with his teenage daughter—one of the most important people in his life—who is coming to spend the summer with him. Caddie, the sweet child that he remembers, is now an angry and wounded stranger resents her father and she is determined to make him feel even lonelier than before she came.
Another young man, Hudson Jones, has come to Monterey to find the answers to the questions that bother him. A young graduate student he thinks he has made a great discovery in finding one of John Steinbeck’s lost novels, “Changing Tides”. The book seems to make an allusion to the fact that Steinbeck was once in love with his best friend, Ed “Doc” Ricketts. Jones knows that if he can prove this, he will be set for life—both career wise and financially. He may also be able to exorcise those demons that haunt him. However, he can’t do the job alone and it is Ben who may be able to help him by supplying him with the information that he needs. But Ben needs help too—with his daughter and his life.
What begins as a friendship between the two men becomes a relationship and that relationship can help both men achieve the goals they seek. Ben discovers a new beginning to life even though his daughter may test his happiness.
Ford has done it again. He writes with such feeling that his characters jump off the page. He is such a good writer that each book is worth the wait—the rewards and pleasures are great and how lucky we are that he writes.