Blake Fraina… does that name ring a bell? No? Well it should very soon. Soon the GLBT community will be singing her praises and wishing they had found her sooner. The bell towers will be singing forth the harmonious melodies that echo throughout this freshman writer’s creation creatively titled King of Cats.
So what is so special? Why all the fuss? That is an easy thing to answer. From the moment I gave this book the time of my busy collegiate day, I was hooked. I was pulled into this lovely book from the very first sentence in the very first story. You see, King of Cats is not your average gay novel. In fact, it is not even a novel. It is a collection of short stories surrounding the life of one man… Jimmy Lyons. And what also makes this not your typical gay love story is that it isn’t all roses.
Blake breaks out of the proverbial gay mold by not making his characters muscle-bound, gym-addicted, largely endowed, over-sexed, ultra-str8-acting, go-go dancing, circuit boi freaks. The characters are real. They have real influences on their lives. There is not one thing in this book that the reader cannot relate to in some fashion or another. It is very… simply real!
So why get all hot and bothered over it? Why not? All you have to do is to read the story. Read the life of Jimmy. See how his father influences him in more ways than none. See the struggle to be accepted, yet at the same time wishing you were not so out there. See the struggle to love when you cannot seem to love yourself enough. See how a relationship that seems like it is perfect can shatter in a heartbeat and make you break.
The way Blake makes her characters seem so real that they could jump right off the pages and slap you in your face are outstanding. The way she is able to capture the subtle nuances and present them in a way, which is unmistakable, just knocks my socks off. However, do not be fooled… this is not the type of character that everyone is going to love. In fact, you might come away from the story hating some of the characters… I know I did! But that is what is great about Blake’s ability to capture the essence of those characters, and her willingness to write using REAL characters and not the typical gay studs.
And to think all this is coming from a freshman writer. A not so well known writer. This is a shame.
So if you want to discover just how un-cushy your life is compared to what happens to others… read this book. If you want to explore the other side of the coin… read this book. If you just want a deep, powerful, and very addictive story… read this book.
Discover some very emotional things that happen which center around how our father can really influence us. Past, Present, and Future.
Explore themes, which emanate from every single page turning line. Despair, Abuse, Neglect, Passion, Joy, Pain, Sex, Misery, Betrayal… just to name a few.
Finally Live through the eyes of Jimmy and a whole host of characters that show just how real and unreal life can be.
Is it real... or just a figment of your imagination? YOU CHOOSE!
I give this a 5 out of 5 Triangle rating and suggest everyone buy a copy and fall in love with Blake Fraina’s King of Cats just as I did!