The Cool Part of His Pillow by Rodney Ross
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
I received this a complimentary copy of this book through netgalley.com It is currently available on amazon.
Synopsis: The midforties are that time in a gay man's life when his major paradigm shifts from sexy to sensible. But when Barry Grooms's partner of twenty years is killed on Barry's forty-fifth birthday, his world doesn't so much evolve as it does explode. After navigating through the surreal conveyor belt of friends and family, he can't eat another casserole or swallow much more advice, and so, still numb, he escapes to Key West, then New York. He embraces a new mantra: Why the hell not? He becomes so spontaneous he's ready to combust. First, he gets a thankless new job working for a crazy lady in a poncho, then has too many drinks with a narcissistic Broadway actor. Next, it's a nude exercise class that redefines flop sweat, and from there he's on to a relationship with a man twenty years his junior, so youthfully oblivious he thinks Karen Carpenter is a lesbian woodworker. Yet no matter how great the retreat from the man he used to be, life's gravity spins Barry back to the town where he grew up for one more ironic twist that teaches him how to say good-bye with grace.
Review: I had a rough time reading this book. Maybe it hit too close to home since I just turned 44 this year, ended a 10 year relationship around this time last year and thought I would stay single forever. Of course that didn't happen and my ex-partner didn't die although there were moments when I thought that might have been easier. But here I am now in a new relationship and the thought of something horrific happening to her makes me cringe. Maybe it was because this book was so honest, and felt so real. I've experienced some of those feelings just during a break-up I can't imagine how hard it would be to all of a sudden be a widow. Gay or straight I'm sure people who experience this loss find it hard to function.
Through Barry's snarky comments and self imposed exile we watch as he spends the year after his partner dies searching for something to hang onto, something that will make him whole again. Its heartbreaking to read yet also amusing. Barry's take on life is often entertaining even when its sad. Despite some editing issues this book is a very solid read, and not your ordinary male love story, and yes it is a love story despite some of the sadness.