Monday, April 26, 2010

The Value of X

From Amazon :

The Value of X tells the story of Ricky and Gary, who as best friends coming of age in 1990 New Orleans discover a mutual attraction. Ricky, who aspires to become a chef, secures them both occasional jobs in a diner so that he can indulge his passion for cooking and they can spend time together. Life is complete until their parents discover their true relationship and try to separate them by sending Ricky to a culinary institute in New York.

The main reason why I shouldn’t be reading romance novels is that, no matter what the story is, I absolutely hate it whenever the characters have communication issues. And since most romance books have an epic dosage of lack of communication, I am incapable of surviving and loving any romance.

The value of X, though it is absolutely adorable, is a romantic novel and therefore displayed a rather frustrating cast of characters that decided to keep all their emotions to themselves. This is a problem, especially when you are trying to maintain a relationship with someone who lives half a continent away. I felt like going to New York, kidnapping Rickey and dragging him back to Gary. Seriously, this book made me mad.

Apart from this, I really love the characters. Gary and Rickey (both boys, if you hadn’t already guessed) have been best friends since forever, and they have also begun experiencing love for each other. I loved how there was hardly any dawdling about ‘coming out’ and how the boys immediately went onto more serious matters, such as making out, and, well, eventually, sex.

The plot was cute too. Since Rickey and Gary’s parents are against homosexuality, when they guess what is going on between their sons, they decide to try and separate them. To do this, Rickey’s parents send their son to the CIA, a cooking institute in New York, miles away from New Orleans where Gary has to stay.

The boys slowly fall into a depression, each on their own side, and though Gary drowns it in liquor on his side, Rickey desperately tries to stay afloat. I have to admit that at times, Gary's utter helplessness without his beloved boyfriend made me cringe, but overall, both their characters were adorable and likeable, without being absolute Mary-Sues or Mr. Perfects. They had their flaws and they were human.

Though some say this was about cooking, I had a hard time seeing a lot of actual cooking going on. Sure, Rickey goes to a cooking school and Gary works as a cook, but that doesn't necessarily make it a book about food and fancy restauraunts. If you're looking for some sort of cooking novel, then this isn't one, though there are a couple (maybe one or two) rather tasty plates described.

This book got me wondering, though : do all gay romance books turn out to have cocaine use, liquor abuse and vulgar language? I've come to the point where I'm actually starting to think all gay men drink like mad, are drug addicts and swear like hell. I don't actually think that, that's just what the books I read tell me... Anyways, if someone knows of a good gay romance book that doesn't include drugs of any kind, I'll gladly pick it up.

This was a very cute book, but it wasn't much more. Sweet, even though the characters can be rather vulgar, and I can still hardly believe I actually enjoyed a romance novel. There is very little plot to speak of, and only a few truly entertaining parts. A very light read and only a little over a hundred and fifty pages, I skimmed through it in less than a day.
The Value of X by Poppy Z. Brite
Rating : 7,4/10

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