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Saturday, March 25, 2017

Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane

Heart breakingly beautiful. This book kept me on the edge of tears for SO LONG. Rusty's POV was agonizing to read. I felt sorry for him, I hoped for him and Oliver with the blanket of love and security he thrown over Rusty was sort of a miracle. Rusty is a simple guy which also means he has "simple thoughts" or rather HONEST thoughts about everything and everybody, he doesn't have one mean bone in his body and he has the biggest heart, his love story, his sort of "coming of age" story was painful as it was beautiful.

Rusty might look like the average entitled jock. He has money, superior body to show and the girls all over him, yet Rusty has always thought of himself as "stupid" or "slow" which is why he is so surprised the new SMART kid - Oliver - finds an interest in him. He expects Oliver to lose interest and yet they just become better and better friends. Oliver points out right from the beginning he is gay but for Rusty it doesn't really matter (or maybe truly register). Rusty is worried about the next steps in his life, his parents wants him to go to Berkeley, but what does someone like him (stupid) could possibly accomplish in a place like that? The one person by his side, as always, is Oliver, helping out with the SATs and being there for him as much as he can. If we got Oliver's POV I guess we would have seen the frustration Oliver felt. He never considered Rusty to be stupid and was constantly tormented by how other people treated Rusty and always EXPECTED of him - to be smart, to succeed, to become a lawyer like his father, to be good at sports. Yet all Rusty wanted was to work construction with Oliver's father and have Oliver by his side. 

Rusty's struggles were HEART BREAKING. Especially at Berkeley. Though he does manage to find a friend there - Rex, even if they have a sort of rocky start hehe mostly Rex rocking his bed with anyone willing while Rusty was doing his best to ignore it and study. Yet Rex turns out to be a true friend to Rusty, he just tired in his own silly way to make Rusty decide his sexual orientation (as Rusty puts it - he is "undeclared"). I would have LOVED getting Rex's book, he seems such an interesting guy! Another bright light in Rusty's life is his younger sister. They both grew up in a cage made of gold, and they both clung to one another at times of need. She loves Rusty so much she was willing to more than rock the boat in order to keep him in her life after the big fallout..

The fallout is when Rusty and Oliver are caught sharing a kiss. For his parents that's IT. He either returns playing his (or rather their..) "game" and dropping Oliver or he is OUT of their lives. For Rusty it's no brainer. Right on the spot he leaves with no regrets. Yet he has a really hard time dealing with life, not because he isn't a hard working guy who actually makes it out beautifully, but because he feels he has nothing to offer Oliver. Yet Oliver and his loving family shows Rusty that love is all about giving and expecting nothing but love in return (unlike HIS family) and so in the end he realizes that if these people keep coming to see HIM they must truly enjoy his friendship even if he has a crappy apartment (and even though turns out he is actually gay or rather Oliver-sexual ;)). Rusty has many inhibitions but none of them are about Oliver, loving Oliver and touching Oliver. He is the true constant in his life even though he is rather surprised to realize the sexual part. But once he accepts the attraction he feels for Oliver, the next step is clear and easy for him to make. 

I LOVED how everything was resolved. If this was a Christmas read (when it was published) it's the best book for hopes being answered, for family being there for you (even if it's your boyfriend's' family..), for sitting to eat together with people who care about you and sharing presents that are more about thoughtfulness and love than anything else.   

Beautiful. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Heartbreak included, but also unconditional love.

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