Erryn reviews Hope is the Thing With Feathers by Brandon Witt (Published by Dreamspinner Press, November 30, 2017, 51 pages) A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read this book: I was intrigued by older men falling in love..
Fifty-six-year-old Samuel Phipps is all alone on his small farm in the Ozarks, with nothing but a menagerie of chickens, pheasants, turkeys, and other birds as company—which is just the way he likes it. In fact, if Samuel had his way, he’d tear down his neighbor’s house so his solitude could be absolute. One day Faloola, his favorite turkey, escapes, forcing Samuel to make the trek next door. When Raymond Webber—sixty-seven—answers the door as naked as the day he was born, Samuel doesn’t know whether he’s more annoyed… or attracted. The two men are opposites in every way—Samuel is serious, while Raymond believes in free love and herbal relaxation. The weeks leading up to Christmas are rocky to say the least, but some holiday spirit might help them get past their differences….
A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar “Stocking Stuffers.”
How do you recover when your neighbor has absolutely started off on the wrong foot, inadvertently breaking your heart? The fact he opened the door naked and you’re attracted to him certainly complicates matters. Samuel Phillips is a man who is alone but has convinced himself he’s not lonely. He has his birds, including his prize turkeys, to keep him company. He dotes on those birds, speaking to them as if they understood him. There are many people who relate to having conversations with pets. Animals offer unconditional love, comfort during periods of distress, and can be great companions.
Raymond Webber is horrified when he discovers he has inadvertently hurt Samuel, one of the few older gay men in El Dorado in the Ozarks. His old uncle was bigoted, but preferred leaving the homestead to his ‘faggot’ nephew rather than the government.
But Raymond has plans. He is eyeing a comfortable retirement once he gets the old place fixed up. The fact he’s attracted to his neighbor is just a bonus.
The story is told entirely in Samuel’s point of view, so I was able to see how he processes the world around him. When Wesley Ryan (from the book Then the Stars Fall), comes to drop off feed and cookies, Samuel sees that he does, in fact, have connections with the community. He has never left the state, however, while his new neighbor has traveled the globe. Two different worlds.
The romance is a slow burn, almost courtship-like. Raymond has to try to get back into Samuel’s good books and, as they say, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.
I loved that they were men in their fifties and sixties who are hearty, but have bodies that have endured a lot. Not all gay men are young and buff.
A must-read, especially this time of year.
Brandon Witt’s outlook on life is greatly influenced by his first eighteen years of growing up gay in a small town in the Ozarks, as well as fifteen years as a counselor and special education teacher for students with severe emotional disabilities. Add to that his obsession with corgis and mermaids, then factor in an unhealthy love affair with cheeseburgers, and you realize that with all those issues, he’s got plenty to write about…