by Nick Nolan
Little Eden Press (2006)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (06/9)
Jeremy Tyler, at seventeen, has a lot of trouble on his plate. First, Jeremy, when he was a little boy, lost his father. Now there is a question as to whether it was murder or not. Then Jeremy’s mother, who caught her father to marry her by getting pregnant with him, has a major addiction problem. She suffers a near fatal overdose and has to be sent to a drug rehab program. Jeremy is sent to live with his super rich great-aunt and uncle. This seems like the easy part, but you have to adapt as you go from poverty to wealth. Having lived in extreme poverty, Jeremy must overcome his feelings of lack of self-worth. She also now has high expectations of greatness placed on him because he is a “Tyler.” During this time, Jeremy is also dealing with his attraction to boys. He denies his homosexuality and feels that if he meets the right girl, she will erase those thoughts and feelings. He meets the perfect girl, but he still has these problems to deal with.
Jeremy is fortunate that the family butler, Arthur, takes him under his wing. Arthur is gay and recognizes that Jeremy is too. Arthur provides support and guidance on many levels and can be a mentor to Jeremy. Jeremy’s aunt and uncle definitely don’t accept the idea that he’s gay. They see it as a weakness and a character flaw. Jeremy’s uncle also appears to be involved in illegal business activities. Jeremy’s mother believes he was involved in his father’s death. At first, Jeremy wants to trust the guy, but then he begins to have his doubts as well.
This novel was really fun on so many levels. First of all, the mystery surrounding the death of Jeremy’s father and dysfunctional family problems make for a great story. So Jeremy’s discovery of his sexuality and how it affects his friends is also a compelling drama in itself. The author, Nick Nolan, does an excellent job of taking the reader into Jeremy’s head and heart, as he tries to figure out himself. It’s hard enough being a teenager, but when you also have to deal with the issues of being the child of an alcoholic, not being raised by a parent, and sexuality issues, you really have a lot to overcome. Jeremy doesn’t do it perfectly, but he does it well and tries to maintain his integrity and honesty along the way. Jeremy is a really good person.
Nolan has written this adult story with the underlying theme of “Pinocchio.” I love how he incorporates references to the Pinocchio story into his own. Not having read Pinocchio in years, I missed a lot of the clues, but in a section on the author’s notes at the end, Nolan completes you. He also adds some special touches to show you that Jeremy has some contact with his father on the other side. This adds to the richness of the story. I really loved this book and highly recommend it.