Do you believe in love at first sight?
Paul Auster doesn’t. Paul doesn’t believe in much at all. He’s thirty, slightly overweight, and his best features are his acerbic wit and the color commentary he provides as life passes him by. His closest friends are a two-legged dog named Wheels and a quasibipolar drag queen named Helena Handbasket. He works a dead-end job in a soul-sucking cubicle, and if his grandmother’s homophobic parrot insults him one more time, Paul is going to wring its stupid neck.
Enter Vince Taylor.
Vince is everything Paul isn’t: sexy, confident, and dumber than the proverbial box of rocks. And for some reason, Vince pursues Paul relentlessly. Vince must be messing with him, because there is no way Vince could want someone like Paul.
But when Paul hits Vince with his car—in a completely unintentional if-he-died-it’d-only-be-manslaughter kind of way—he’s forced to see Vince in a whole new light. The only thing stopping Paul from believing in Vince is himself—and that is one obstacle Paul can’t quite seem to overcome. But when tragedy strikes Vince’s family, Paul must put aside any notions he has about himself and stand next to the man who thinks he’s perfect the way he is.
TJ Klune’s books really need to come with a disclaimer… something about uncontrollable laughter followed by tears – sometimes simultaneously. Sometimes within the same chapter and more often than not, within the same paragraph. And for the record, reading it the second (or third…) time around doesn’t change a thing. I fall in love with Paul, Vince and Sandy – and everyone else all over again. Every. Single. Time. 😉
Paul is… well, Paul. There’s really no other way to explain him. His self-confidence and self esteem are at the same level.. zero. It’s not because he has people putting him down – he’s got a huge support system that includes family and close friends who tell him constantly how special he is. You don’t have to spend much time with Paul to realize that he is special and loving and as devoted to those he considers family as they are to him. He just doesn’t see in himself what others see, which is sad. Especially when Vince comes into his life, because there is no way in Paul’s mind that someone like Vince could possibly fall for someone like Paul. He spends the better part of the book afraid that it’s an elaborate prank. There’s no way that it could possibly be real.
Then there’s Vince, sweet, lovable, totally misunderstood Vince. I loved the guy and I loved that Paul saw in him almost from the start (at least after the unfortunate incident with the car) what others didn’t. Just like Vince saw in Paul even more than those who knew him best, Paul saw Vince in a way that no one else did. It became his ultimate goal to protect Vince from everything and everyone who even hinted at the possibility of hurting him in any way. Extreme, I know, but that’s Paul. He jumped first and asked questions later. That trait almost caused him to lose everything… almost.
Tell Me It’s Real was a light read in this author’s spectrum, but there were some parts that were heartbreaking… which is a trait that Mr. Klune sometimes carries to the extreme. Hence, the love/hate – author/reader relationship that I have with TJ Klune. You just never know what type of tears you will be shedding – so have the tissues close by regardless.
Somehow I inadvertently neglected to review Tell Me It’s Real the first time around, so that has now been rectified. Next up is The Queen and the Homo Jock King – which somehow I have no record of reading – but I know for a fact that I did. Stay tuned, because there will be “proof of reading” coming soon. 😉