TOO DIFFERENT TO MAKE IT WORK?
Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall is not a feel good gay romantic comedy because it deals with two incredibly messed up individuals with horrible past relationships history. But it is a feel good gay romantic comedy in the way that it absolutely gives you those ‘aww’ moments along the way. It’s also a fake boyfriends kind of romance that will make you laugh a lot.
I have to admit that at first I thought it was too on the nose. I mean, the main character, Luc, is funny in a too-funny way where he turns every single life experience into a joke. (Boy, can a relate.) But he does it out of fear that the seriousness of matters will hurt him again. (Boy, can I relate.) He’s the child of a rock star who abandoned him when he was a baby. As a result, he’s spent his whole life hating the man, who ends up back on his doorstep, at the worst possible time for him.
The book starts with him falling into a ditch, accidentally (not because he’s drunk), and he’s just made a fool out of himself in front of some guy in a club, wearing bunny ears. The thing is, that leads to him being in the papers again, painted in a horrible light, and he takes all these instances very clearly a sign that he’s utterly messed up and beyond saving. Then comes his boss – of a charity that attempts to save dung beetles – who comes up with the idea of finding an upstanding boyfriend for Luc, so he can look better to the charity’s donors at this Dung Beetle Drive event.
Luc’s best friend Bridget says she has the best idea – meaning the guy who clearly doesn’t like Luc and who is Bridget’s only other gay friend. A stuck-up barrister, reminding us of Bridget Jones all over again, and the rest is a ridiculously funny, almost tragic, series of events that is not only entertaining but also very possibly real when you consider everything. There are many characters in this book who are hilariously real and flawed, which is what I always love in my books, and the relationship, I mean fake relationship between Luc and Oliver is, in its own way, completely weird and sweet, all at once.
What I like most about these two is that they’re so messed up that they push the other one away, but then they come back together, inevitably, to talk about what happened. Which is not exactly how communication should go, but it’s adjacent to it.
Like I said, the main character Luc is too funny, sometimes too on the nose, but I laughed out loud at multiple parts in the book – from Luc’s endless inner monologue to his ridiculous reactions to thing people deem normal to his sarcastic commentary to his friend Bridget’s stunts in publishing to Oliver’s crazy friends to Luc’s colleagues who are objectively the most hilarious part of the book.
This book is populated by hilarious people who mostly act real, and the romance itself is swoon-worthy for a hardcore romance reader such as myself. Now, if you’re a reader of smut, this won’t really do it for you because it’s not that kind of book, but I didn’t mind it, since it was so entertaining and all. It’s British too, quite British, which again, reminds me of Bridget Jones and Jane Austen and all those other stories we’ve seen a hundred times, but not with a sarcastic fallen from grace son of a rock star who works for dung beetles, or well, I mean for their preservation.
I wish I could give this 5 stars, but I have to give it 4, only because it goes on and on in places, but it’s okay. The author is allowed to go on funny tangents without being penalized for it. Still, it’s an amazing read. Highly recommend it.
Reviewed by Violeta Nedkova