Book Reviews

Dear Alex by Clare London at Jocular Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Erotic Romance
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 28-November-2014

Book Blurb

Alex Palmer writes the “Dear Alex” Agony Uncle column for Meant for Men – a magazine aimed at gay men’s life and issues. What started as a genuine and ground-breaking feature has become a snark fest, due to Alex’s boredom and personal cynicism. His respect for the correspondents has dwindled away in direct relation to his own self-respect as a journalist. He no longer believes in his readers’ search for a soulmate, or in his own column’s headline: “Is He Really the One?”

In the early days, Robbie Cooke was Alex’s co-presenter on the magazine. They’d been lovers, too. But unlike Alex, Robbie still sees the anguish and need behind the letters they receive. He wants to help the writers, rather than turn their situations into journalistic entertainment. He and Alex may still have to work together, but their fundamental disagreement on how to run the column tore them apart as romantic partners.

Excess drinking and a succession of casual lovers is wearing Alex out, yet he’s in denial. He’s convinced he doesn’t need “Dear Alex” to set him straight about what’s wrong with his life. But when he’s alerted to the fact that Robbie may be in danger, he realises that what he’s really missing is his ex-lover’s care, compassion and love. The problem is, by the time Alex is desperate to make amends, Robbie may have already moved on.


Book Review

“You're looking for love, in all the wrong places. Where your walk it's always shadow, conversation always shallow. When they talk they never look you in the eye. They look over your shoulder. To faces even colder and you feel a little older. Every time...” ~ Marc Almond (Looking for Love)

'Is He Really the One' may be the title of his 'Dear Alex' column, but in real life, Alex Palmer of ‘Dear Alex' by Clare London, wouldn't know "the one" if he smacked him in the face. Alex thinks that exclusivity isn't in his vocabulary and, in the process, alienates Robby Cooke, his co-worker and lover. Robbie stands helplessly by and watches as Alex changes from the young, bright, compassionate man he loves to the cynical, shallow person Robbie can hardly stand. What will it take for Alex to realize that knowing Robbie is the best thing in his life and losing him forever, potentially, the worst?

Alex may be smart intelligence-wise, but when it comes to knowing himself, he's a simpleton. Sure, it is difficult to, day after day, read about people having problems with their lovers, trying to give advice without wanting to scream at them about what fools they are for being in such an awful relationship, but he's not in their shoes. These are not just letters, there are real people behind this pain. Alex somehow loses that concept. He dehumanizes them so he can make a media circus out of their misery. In doing so, he alienates Robbie, who compassionately answers all the letters on his own time. Robbie loves Alex but when he suggests an open relationship, Robbie draws the line and they stop dating. Robbie still hopes Alex will eventually see the light and reverse his negativity, but the probability of that happening becomes smaller and smaller as Alex determinedly pursues shallow relationships instead of reaching for the love which Robbie is there to offer. As Robbie draws farther away, determined to protect his heart; Alex begins to realize that what he has been searching for all the time is love, and he's been looking in all the wrong places.

This is a short love story of two men with totally different attitudes about life—Robbie who has his life on track and Alex who doesn't. It's bittersweet because Robbie sees what Alex is doing to himself but is unable to help him. There are other messages in this story, such as being kind to people and not judging others until you have walked in their shoes. Clare packed a lot of emotion in this brief, but informative story. I was very drawn into Robbie's and eventually Alex's pain, and wanted both of them to be happy. Thanks, Clare, for a great story.





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Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novella, 15000 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 26-November-2014
Price $2.99 ebook
Buy Link