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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Locker Room by Amy Lane

Beautiful beautiful story. One of the best I've read by Amy, though THE best is saved to "Sidecar" which frankly reminds me somehow of this one though only tiny ideas and nothing of the plot itself. One of the things in common is this book spans 15 years making Xander and Chris sort of epic (in Sidecar it's even more - 25 (!) years). If something was NEVER an issue in this book is their love for each other and how much they'll do to have each other in their lives. Another thing in common is Chris basically saves Xander from a life of hunger and abuse (similar in a way to Joe saving Casey's life though the circumstances are TOTALLY different as well as the plot line and setting). 

Xander Karcek and Chris Edwards meet at 15 for the first time on the basketball court which is THE thing that brings them together. Chris was merely waiting for his mother to bring take-out for the family, while Xander was playing in the court because he has no where safe to go and playing means he could ignore how hungry he is. When Chris asks his mother to bring Xander home to eat dinner with them he has NO idea the impact it would have on ALL of their lives.  

Xander's life changes when he is accepted into the Edwards family. Though he takes his time before he accepts their offer to live with them. Before that he did everything he could to leave his mother's house and find a way to support himself so he could have a place to crash, the barest to eat and could concentrate on his studies so he'll be able to play the game he loves so much. While Basketball started as the most important thing in his life, Chris was shortly added to the list. Chris shared that view so the next 15 years they did everything they could to play the game together while keeping their growing and changing relationship to themselves. 
The book follows their relationship, their lives, the way they found to "cheat the system" so they could have each other, as close as possible. At first it was easy, but as the years went by and especially as a homophobic coach came by they needed to play a much different game with a MUCH steeper price relationship-wise. It was truly heart breaking. They were both doing their best, but the cost for each of they showed. Xander's nightmares weren't getting better and Chris started to drink and when finally they are caught it seems they're going to have decisions to make, ones neither of them would like. 

Though their story was heart breaking at every turn it was also heart warming. The Edwards family - Chris' parents and his little sister - were SO supportive of both "kids". They did everything they could to help both of them, and when they found out about them being gay I think the only thing that made them sad was how long they kept it a secret. Later on, they broaden their safety blanket with a very understanding agent and even two "strays" (that's also something that felt a little bit in common with "Sidecar" yet so very much different in everything else). With all the odds against them they were both a constant in each other's life. Though this book is HEAVY on the angst, it was never annoying or OTT, it felt just right (for the situation) and also it was NEVER about them. They were solid as a couple. Nothing could and would breaking them apart. 

The conclusion of the book truly broke my heart but it was mended together in the very end. They both grew up a lot in these 15 years yet some things stayed exactly the same - their love is the kind that lasts forever. 

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! and if you haven't read "Sidecar" you MUST!

Read on:
9-11 Apr-2017

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