Dream Boy by Jim Grimsley

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 3 stars.

Some books don’t deserve ratings. Not because they’re just that bad, but because a number cannot encapsulate everything found within their bindings. Dream Boy, for me, is one of those books – what I liked about it is also what prevented me from loving it fully.

First published over ten years ago at a succinct 195 pages, Dream Boy revolves around Nathan, a sophomore in high school who falls into a complex relationship with Roy, a senior. Nathan comes from a troubled home. His alcoholic father exemplifies sanctimony while his mother wisps around like a leaf. Roy gives him warmth, but at a cost – he doesn’t want Nathan to tell anyone about their relationship.

Dream Boy is about young adults, but might not be for young adults. Grimsley’s writing is concise and almost clinical, yet strongly sensual and violent. His brevity brings Nathan’s insecurities and abuse to life. On the surface this book may appear to be about a relationship between two boys, but it has a dark undercurrent and themes that can capture one’s mind long after reading.

But the blunt nature of this book left me wanting more. There’s a difference between an author deciding to leave aspects of his work ambiguous and failing to explore certain characters, motifs, etc. The motives behind why characters would hurt one another or how some of their emotions escalated so quickly could have been further fleshed out.

I would recommend this to readers searching for an unusual gay love story with beautiful yet jagged writing. Save this one for later if you’re searching for a happy ending – while it has nothing in common with sunshine or prancing unicorns, I promise that it’ll make you think.

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12 Comments

Filed under 3 stars, Book Reviews, Books

12 responses to “Dream Boy by Jim Grimsley

  1. I was disappointed in the book’s ending – the movie version had a better twist to it

  2. I’ve never heard of this novel before but if you say that it’s dark and the writing is awesome I’m putting this on my TBR list. Nice review!

  3. Ergh, I understand that feeling of frustration when an author goes past being ambiguous and just doesn’t explain things. :/

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  6. Virginia

    I love that book but I think that is usually missunderstanded as a romatic LGTB novel, when from my point of view is a horror / story / novel, next to Edgar Allan Poe. It reminds me Berenice and Anabel Lee. And I don’t think that the end is unhappy.

    • Without spoiling anything, I do think it could be considered a horror story, in relation to certain aspects of it. Also, I can see why you wouldn’t think the end is unhappy, but we can discuss that further if you want via private message (my contact info page) just to avoid stating any spoilers here! Thanks for reading and commenting. (:

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