Second time around as good as the first...

Bareback - Chris Owen

I re-read this book as part of a buddy read over on GR with my friends Eleftheria, Jewel & Renee. These ladies are awesome to buddy read with I ended up basically disappearing on them yesterday but they were still there for me and I had all their comments to read when I got back so I didn't feel left out and even though I was definitely the last across the finish line on this one it was still a hella' good time.


Now onto the book. First let's address one of the obvious issues in this book the copious (trust me I'm being conservative here) copious amounts of sex in this book. I kid you not Tor and Jake put bunnies to shame. The world over those little critters are sobbing in despair as their reputations lie in tatters in the wake of Jake and Tor's libidinous activities. I also have to admit that usually when a book contains the amount of sex that this one did I start rolling my eyes and mentally pleading to get on with the story. Much to my embarrassment that didn't happen. I was quite amenable to a little voyeuristic participation. I blame this slip in behaviour on my lovely buddy read partners. The visuals were very helpful ladies because lord knows I wanted to lick those two from head to toe after seeing the pics (See Renee's review on GR for said pictures).


Ok so there's lots of sex we've got that out there on the table (and yes I'm pretty sure there was at least one table involved) and frequently when there's lots of sex the story can tend to be lacking, not so. Chris Owen has created a story that covers the span of several years in which we see two men come together and develop a relationship and then as often happens in the real world we also see these two men get torn apart because sometimes life, the everyday mundane things that come up gets in the way and clouds our judgement and sometimes an elephant walks into the room and people don't know how to deal with it.

(in this book the elephant in the room is the cheating)

(show spoiler)

So at somewhere between 65-70% the elephant struts into the room and for the remainder of the book we are left with our hearts in tatters and a box of tissues clutched in our hands because these two men live hard and they love hard so it's inevitable when they hurt they hurt the same way. It's hard, it's gut wrenching and it left me struggling to breath so much so that I had to keep reading I had to read right through and get back to the good place again, back to where I could breath.


Now I'm going to talk about the elephant that was in the room so the rest of this will be in spoilers.

As many of you already know the elephant is the fact that one of these men cheated on the other. I know this is a hard line for many people. It is for me in real life but I can deal with it in stories if it's well done and from my perspective this was well done. See I stopped feeling and breathing at that moment when it happened because I knew exactly how it felt I've been there, I've been that person who watched their partner sharing an intimacy that should have only been shared with them. I know how that feels, I stopped breathing, I walked away in a daze. Luckily for me unlike in this story once I walked away and took some time I realized that not only was I still breathing but I could breath easier and better than I had in a long time. Unlike in this story where we had to watch Jake and Tor struggle with their feelings, with the complications of working together, with all the damage that this wrong decision caused to them because ultimately at the heart of it cheating is just that it's a decision that many of us have to make at one time or another. Do I destroy what I have or do I want to try and fix what I have, get back to where I was with this person who I claim to love more than anything in this world?  This is not a pretty issue but unfortunately it is one that more couples than any of us would like to admit have to deal with. I liked how it was addressed in this story because it brings to light the fact that while the decision to cheat may rest with one person oftentimes the factors leading up to it are contributed to by both parties whether they are willing to acknowledge it or not is up to the individual. Infidelity is not an easy issue to address because like many things each case is different making each solution different as well.

(show spoiler)


At the end of the day this is still a 5 star re-read for me and it was fun to share it with my 5 star friends.