The Book of Beginnings: It’s Just Us Here: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR
An asexual man meets a male model… and slowly falls in love.
Chris is a nerdy bookworm with a very direct personality. He tends to take jokes literally. He doesn’t like small talk.
Chris has never been sexually attracted to anyone in real life, though he can look at photos and think up exciting scenarios in his head… as long as the people are all wearing clothes. Porn is definitely a no go.
Mark is a charismatic, beautiful man with a pretty person job and pretty person problems. He’s very pushy.
Mark is also struggling with a summer college course for business writing. Luckily, Chris makes a living from his writing and always falls for a sob story… so he ends up helping the model with his assignment.
After a chance encounter in Chris’ favorite park, the two men’s lives slowly entangle until the pair become inseparable.
First Chris and Mark become friends, then companions, then partners, then lovers… and then they get engaged, married and… finally… adopt a very amazing kid.
This is their story… or, well, I guess it’s my story. I’m Chris and I wrote this. It’s very weird to refer to myself in the third person, so I’m going back to first person now.
Mark didn’t tell me he was into guys until I was very much in love with him. Anytime he got close to telling me the truth, I would instinctively pull back. But I never ran away completely, and he kept coming after me.
I guess you’ll have to read the book to understand why.
[ADVISORY: I’d just like to make sure you know that this book is not the complete love story between me and my husband. I’ve broken my story up into ten 100,000 word installments. Each installment follows its own ‘arc’. There are four ‘super arcs’ typical of romance novels spread over the ten installments.
“The Book of Beginnings” contains the beginning of each of those ten installments. So we’re going to jump through time quite a bit. These ‘beginnings’ total over 140,000 words and the final project will be over 1,000,000 words.
Don’t worry, I will finish this story. It’s terribly important to me. But it is huge. So I will also be posting an Abridged Version, which will consist of the chapters in “The Book of Endings” and “The Book of Beginnings”.
I tried to type a review for this a few times and finally realized that it’s impossible. So, I’ve decided to provide a warning: incoherent ramblings ahead on this memoir-romanceish book. Before we commence to the ramblings, I think it’s important to know that this isn’t a conventional romance, it’s a true “story.” Please see the author’s special note in the blurb. More books are in the works that break down important stages of the MCs relationship with a full arc. This book is strictly the beginnings of each of those stages coming together to form the Book of Beginnings. Make sense? Fabulous.
Chris: Asexual man, writer, friend, worrier, planner
Mark: Model, highly sexual, laid back, incredibly social
These two men come together randomly in a park after Chris’ typical Monday run. Chris is on a bench writing and Mark is a lonely man looking for a friend. From their first meeting, it’s a whirlwind where they create their own boundaries on what it means to be friends, lovers, partners, and eventually parents. Chris and Mark come from diverse backgrounds, have diverse sexual appetites, opposite personalities, and experience real life growing pains as they move through each stage of their relationship.
Book of Beginnings is written in the format of a romance novel but the situations these men face aren’t romanticized. The writing style is easy to breeze through but the angsty content isn’t easy to read. There was so much more feeling involved while reading this book because I couldn’t forget that these are real people with issues that aren’t sugar coated. Having to *see* the struggle Chris and Mark go through in their intimacy was gut wrenching, especially from Chris’ POV as he tries to be all his partner needs sexually while still being very much an asexual man at his core. Early on my heart was breaking for Mark as I could see the love he had for Chris but couldn’t fully release his feelings. Another difficult aspect of this story is the dynamic between Mark and Chris. Mark’s personality is larger than life and he has such a pull over Chris. It may seem like Mark steamrolls (and rightfully so, sometimes) Chris into capitulating often- but Mark knows Chris and is able to nudge him out of the comfort zone he likes to exist in. Mark usually has Chris’ best interests at heart and even though he may be resisting something, a part of him seems to crave it as well.
It’s a captivating read that allows us to focus on the emotional aspect of them falling in love way before physical intimacy is introduced. I adore the connection they have, the foundation they build, and the growth each man makes toward their HEA.
Y’all, I was hooked from the beginning. It’s a beast of a book in length but I couldn’t put it down. I pretended to be productive and do adult things but I was really just reading this and when I wasn’t reading, I was thinking about reading it.
Was it perfect? No, but it’s a work in progress and the author makes that point clear multiple times. As mentioned above, The Book of Beginnings: It’s Just Us Here is written in an unconventional format, needs more editing, has incomplete “story” arcs, has multiple big-moment time lapses, and missing very important bits of their lives. All of those are noted in the blurb warning. Did I care? Not one teeny tiny bit. I went all Dr. Seuss on this book and would read it in a boat, with a goat, in the rain, on a train… (I’m a dork, sorry *shrug*)
There were times I wanted to scream at my kindle because I just had to know what happened only for it to have a time jump. This actually reminds me of a CliffsNotes version for their life story with the main parts coming out as their own books over the next year.
At the heart of this book is a “story” of two people meeting, loving each other, and then falling in love. Life can be a major bitch sometimes and still, Chris and Mark find a way to love on their own terms as the relationship evolves into something deeper. Something real. Something beautiful and imperfectly perfect.
I’m SO frakin’ glad I chose to take a chance on this love story and I’m looking forward to reading the first full installment. This author now has a new
stalker stage-10 clinger big fan. Highly recommended.
Copy provided for honest review.