Friday, 17 December 2010

Review - Relationships 201 © Alix Bekins

Relationship 201

Author: Alix Bekins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Genre: Contemporary, GLBT

Buy Link

Stephan Burke’s relationship with Eric has hit a rough patch, and they can’t seem to reconnect after their summer apart. Despite being good together, Stephan feels something undefinable is missing. Now starting grad school, he’s meeting up with old friends who offer not-so-sage-advice, rediscovering how much time schoolwork consumes, and—Eric aside—crushing hard on the professor he works for.

Professor Jeffrey Tegan is new to campus and eager to befriend his TA. Jeff turns out to be almost everything Stephan has ever wanted in a man: he’s smart, outdoorsy, likes music, and is smokin’ hot. Only Jeff is just getting over his recent divorce, and Stephan has no reason to think Jeff is anything other than totally straight. He knows his crush on his professor is clichéd and ridiculous, but he’s not fulfilled by what he has with Eric… is it so unreasonable to want more?

My thoughts

College/University setting plotline and scenarios are a firm favourite of mine and I am always keen to open a book up and see where my author of choice chooses to drag me.

This book is Stephan Burke’s story, it’s about his career path, his social circle, the challenges he faces in making relationships work and really finding out there is no set piece to life and he has to face those gut wrenching situation even if he would rather bury his head in the sand.

With a backdrop of the university the scenes move from classroom to dorm room and everything in between but all within the University town that it is located in. There is no underlining subplot anywhere in this book this just follow two semester of Stephan’s life during year when he has to TA for Professor Jeffrey Tegan.

They meet in the most unlikiest of  place and from their first moment Jeffery was every thing that Stephan admires in a man and more so in a partner, but being young and caught up in the social and emotional dynamics of the young he has to accept the sour with the sweet and there is alot of sour that Stephan has to come to terms with in his life.

What I liked

The insulating backdrop off  the university. Sometimes insulating scenario can be like a pressure cooker and it was so in this book, study, time management, socializing and risky behaviour all becomes meshed together, but – yes but, this could be chalked up to the learning years and probably wouldn’t happen if it wasn’t in this setting. From that point of view I thought it was a true reflection of what young people get up. 

I hated and loved people equally in this book. I though the author introduced me to a wonderful mix of characters. From the over studious, to the stoned by night characters and the potty mouth so and so’s that dragged every conversation into the gutter.

I think everyone will find characters that  they can or will relate to in this book. I want to think that I was a better student during my college years – but I can see bits of me in a  few of the characters..

I liked the flow the book. At first it bugged me that the scenes moved all over the place and Stephan was such a mixture of perfect student by day to the recreational drug user by the time the party rolls around – but from the mindset of  Stephan that is how I could imagine him acting and this time is when his circle of friends is being defined and he has to make the choices of what his tastes are and who he wants in his life.

I could see Stephan growing more than any of the other player in RELATIONSHIP 201 by the time the book ended, other than still having sex on the mind he did make visible strides during the length of this book.

I will admit I didn’t like half the people in this book, not because they weren’t likable but I am looking at them with older eyes and I could just see the waste and the dramatics that was just not necessary. I liked the fact the author made me appreciated them even if I didn’t like them. People are entitled to grow and change and by the time the ends rolled around I accepted them warts and all. 

Niggles

The beginning of the book has a mix of the author’s and Stephan voice – it did take some getting used to who was actually speaking to me. It did settle down to Stephan quickly though.

The scenes do jump around and feels choppy and that also did take me a while to settle in with, but once I got that this was Stephan’s journey I was OK.

Professor /student relationship. I will admit I am not familiar at all with the American University/college system of education but  Student/professor relationship are not as blasé and accepted as I got from this book.  While it is clear from the outset that this is not condoned by the admin, Stephan’s friends seems to accept this as the natural order of things if this is where Stephan crush leads him… I didn't really get that there is no concern.

There is little to no definition to any of the characters – I would have loved to know more about them and their history, where they were going and more importantly more conversation between Stephan and Jeffrey rather than the vague hits of interest here and there..

Something’s that I wanted to know or be address was never touched on and too much was left to the end and therefore explanation were short and too to the point to be effective.

Bottom Line

From the moment I saw the cover of this book I really wanted to read it, there are really few covers that has a fresh wholesomeness to it and RELATIONSHIP 201 definately does to me.  The book takes Relationship 101 to a whole new level and compound the situation even more by being based in a setting where all the good and bad rub shoulders evenly.

While I had some issues with the book, it was a good read and I like the author’s voice,  I am off to check out some of the short stories that she has published.

5 Speak To Me:

Chris on 17 December 2010 at 14:52 said...

Hey EH - I can't reply to your comment on my blog because I keep getting a "mailbox disabled for this recipient" error back. :( Maybe you didn't type the correct email address?!

Janna on 17 December 2010 at 15:02 said...

I'm not a big fan of the student/professor relationship. Between that and the rest of your niggles I don't think this book is for me...
Great review though! :)

Erotic Horizon on 17 December 2010 at 18:41 said...

@Chris..

I give up with my email and blogger now - it keeps dropping off with most wordpress site that I visit...

Hopefully blogger can sort it out...

:)

Erotic Horizon on 17 December 2010 at 18:43 said...

@Janna

Thanks hon -

I can understand this is not your cup of tea - but I do like the angle Ms. Bekins took with this book - It will definately appeal to readers who love a little classroom setting in their plotline..

:)

Lily on 18 December 2010 at 02:18 said...

It sounds interesting and I like the cover. Nice review!