Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Book Review: Everyday History by Alice Archer ~ (Review + Excerpt)

Book Review: Everyday History by Alice Archer ~ (Review + Excerpt)

Title: Everyday History
Author: Alice Archer
Release Date: June 29, 2016
Pages: 290


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.


Ruben pushes open the door to his room in the house he shares with two friends. He tosses the small stack of incoming mail onto his desk and then paws through it, looking for something to lift his spirits.

Here. A letter from his mother. But the envelope contains only a newspaper clipping with a sticky note on it that says, “Look what your teacher at the museum has been up to.”

The newspaper’s culture editor would like to introduce readers to a new weekly column called “Everyday History,” written by Henry Normand.

Ruben feels his body struggling to decide what to feel. His face grins at the sight of the words “Everyday History” in print next to Henry’s name, but his lungs tighten, and he’s suddenly aware of a twinge inside his pants, like his dowsing rod senses Henry’s presence in the room.

Henry introduces the new column in a few paragraphs. Then there’s a smaller heading with the title of this week’s topic, “The Blue Pajamas.” Ruben skips to the end to see if they’ve included a website for Henry. But no. There’s only another note from the editor.

Our new columnist is not only techno-phobic, he’s also frequently on the road. To reach Mr. Normand, please contact the editor at….

Ruben frowns at the clipping and wonders if Henry and the editor are sleeping together. Get a grip. He shakes his head, closes his eyes to take a big breath, and then reads.

***Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie in exchange for a fair and honest review***

High School Intern Teacher, Henry, is attracted to his latest high school student Ruben.  Ruben is cocky and confident and goes after whoever and whatever he wants.  And though he's only wanted girls before, he wants Henry now.  

I know for some reason this is a popular trope, and honestly, I just don't get it.  When an adult is attracted to a student, it sends up red flags to me and makes me look at the adult a lot differently.  I'm more understanding/interested if student/teacher meet a couple years after graduation and both recognize that they're attracted to each other and probably were in school.  But while in school, creepy (not that anything actually happened while in school).

This writer's writing style was completely different from anything I've ever read before.  I think many people will appreciate the flowery and poetic style of writing.  I imagine many will love both the premise and execution of this book, but it just wasn't for me.   I felt like this was the type of book that you could take to a poetry reading and read one of the sections and fit in quite comfortably.  For example:

"I've been waiting in desire's wordless, reckless, thoughtless swirl since the first time his expressive mouth smirked while his eyes said, "What is this you're doing to me?"  I was sure I would wait in vain.  I knew I should wait in vain.  Incredibly, against all expectation, I haven't waited in vain.  But my pact, the seed timidly growing inside the blank space of me, requires more than Ruben's offer of less than."

So maybe there is beauty and elegance is the words that build this story, you'll just have to look for it.

Rating: 3 Stars!

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