I've been thinking about this one...

Where the Allegheny Meets the Monongahela - Felicia Watson, Jeff Gelder

and I have to admit I'm still feeling a torn about how I feel about this story. I think it's admirable that the author tackled the subject matter that she did and yes, this was a longer than usual story, but, I think it needed to be in order to appropriately deal with the issues. At just over 9 hours it was by no means the longest audio book that I've encountered and overall I didn't find my attention wandering so definitely points in the books favor.


There were aspects of the story that I struggled with and I think that at least some of this is a case of geographical issues. I'm from Canada so I'm really not well versed in the differences in laws and guidelines followed by agencies in the US but in my part of the world Logan would never...I repeat never have been allowed to run a class for victims of domestic violence as he was in this story...regardless of whether it happened one time or a dozen he abused his wife and 'anger management issues' does not excuse it. If anything it increases the odds of the abuse being repeated.


Yet at the same time I felt badly for Logan...he's a character who is very much a product of his environment and sadly had he been raised in a different environment than he was it's very possible that for one thing the abuse might never have happened and two...Logan wouldn't have been raised in an environment that fostered homophobia and in his own way Logan's behavior was motivated by homophobic ideals but thankfully he was also able to re-evaluate his ideals and see them for what they were.


I also had an issue with Trudy, Logan's counselor...truthfully more often than not I felt like she was pushing her agenda more so than helping Logan to deal with his problems and work through his issues and while he was in counselling because it was court mandated I never seemed to reach that point where it felt like Logan was beginning to understand that he did have issues that he needed help dealing with and that things were shifting from a must do situation in Logan's mind to a situation of 'I need this and it's helping me'. Logan's relationship with Trudy never held the positive or constructive sense that a patient/counselor relationship should hold. Logan consistently conveyed a sense of resentment when it came to Trudy with his anger at having to attend the sessions and at Trudy's 'intrusive' questioning of how he felt about things and for less tangible reasons I found that I wasn't overly impressed with Trudy and quite honestly if I'd been Logan I'm not sure that I wouldn't have asked for a change of counselor... overall this relationship just didn't work for me.


While some things didn't work for me there were also things that worked such as how much Logan wanted to be able to see his daughters again and ultimately his realization of how his behavior could impact his daughter's ideas of how a relationship should be. The picture we are given of how much Logan's children meant to him was for me a really big redeeming quality in his favor along with his realization that irregardless of how he felt about his wife, he wasn't the only one who deserved better...so did she.


Nick's relationship with his mother and how things between he and his father were portrayed along with this the part of the story what really worked the best for me was the relationship development between Nick and Logan. Overall, I was comfortable with how things played out between them and that it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows made for a very realistic relationship between these two men and yes, I have to admit it 'thank the writing gods it wasn't insta-love, it seems like a number of the books that I've read lately have been based on this and it was just really nice to read a story where it took some time and effort for the MCs to get to know each other, like each other and have that become something deeper with a stronger bond. I'm not saying there's no such thing as love-at-first-sight but sometimes the things that are real and worth having also take time and effort and that's what it felt was happening in this story.


Just one more thing to mention before I chase move on to the next story and that's the narrator for this one...it was Jeff Gelder and while Mr. Gelder isn't a new to me narrator this is somewhere around the 8th of his audio book narrations that I've listened to and while I've enjoyed them all this one for me was definitely one of the better ones and he truly did an awesome job with the narration. I don't doubt that I'll listen to this one again in future.


And here I am at the end of things and finally feeling like I can give this a rating that I'm comfortable with so I'm going to go back up and give this 4 stars because when I compare this to other stories that I've given 3.5 stars to for me it's really a bit better than that so we're going with 4 well thought upon stars.