Finding Peace - Andrew Barriger
The sequel to Finding Faith, this is a sweet, engaging novel. Itís well written and quite easy to read.
However, if this were a het novel, I wouldnít have bought it or read it. I donít really want cosy and domesticówhat we would call aga-saga novels. This would be the perfect novel to give a mother who was having a hard time coming to terms with the idea of the gay lifestyleóbecause it isnít: the gay lifestyle. Itís what Andrew Barriger wants to present as being possible, but it just doesnít ring true to me. Why? Well, itís too good to be true to be anyoneís lifestyle. This is the perfect American dream, lived by Tom and Taylor, in the perfect American town with the perfect American friends. Anyoneís mother would be pleased to think you lived like this!
So, a lovely book. You can curl up and read without being torn to shreds. I just happen to like shreds.
If, like me, you loved Finding Faith, youíll be delighted to spend a few more hours in the company of Taylor & Tom, lawyer and baker-turned-teacher, who found true love over a tray of chocolate croissants in a suburban American town.†
Falling in love is the easy bit.† Making it work against external pressures requires real commitment. Two years on, Taylor & Tom are ordinary gay men trying to make a good life together in a world geared, even in this 21st century, to straight relationships.
Life is a juggling act for most of us. Time for what is really important isnít easy to find.† Itís hard work to keep going past the first flush of passion and desire, when the stress and strain of everyday life takes hold.† Yet Taylor & Tom muddle through, despite holding down demanding day jobs and continuing to run a busy bakery store.† They manage because they have to, because itís worthwhile, with gentle good humour.† And the unequivocal support of friends who are their family.†
We revisit old friends like Taylorís former landlady, Gen, now involved in a serious romantic relationship herself.† Taylor & Tom must deal with troubled adolescent, Wayne, a student at the school where Tom teaches.† Abused by both father and brother because heís gay, Wayne needs a lot of TLC.† Taken in by Taylor & Tom, Wayne gets the space and encouragement he needs to grow, and even finds love of his own. Tragedy strikes in this follow-up story testing Taylor & Tomís resolve in unexpected places.
As in Finding Faith, this book has no explicit sex.† Iíd happily let my teens read it.† Yet itís plain Taylor & Tom enjoy intense physical intimacy that doesnít need spelling out.† Their love shines through everything they say and do.† I found that very touching and actually kinda sexy.
The vibrant heart of this book is its realistic characters, and small town setting. It shows what matters isnít who you sleep with but what you do with your life.† Weíre all humans together so should have equality in law and daily life, free to be ourselves, treating others as we would have them treat us.
Taylor & Tom are ideal role models for young people struggling with sexual identity, maybe thinking they can never have what they need, like lasting love and family. Like any long term couple they have ups and downs, problems to be talked through and resolved, but they want whatís best for each other.† Taylor still has his pillow, and now Tom helps with tricky wardrobe decisions (Finding Faith).
Taylor & Tom love each other by any definition of the word, yet society denies their right to show that commitment, despite a relationship strong enough to withstand everything thrown at it. Gay marriage has become a contentious and divisive issue even since this book was published, so more than ever it deserves a wide audience.† Same sex couples want what any loving couple wants.† The definition of family is a group of people who love and care for each other so much their own needs come second. We all need family for occasions like Thanksgiving and Christmas, birth, death and marriage rituals, part of human experience marking us all. Taylor & Tom have so much to give itís shocking that many deny their right to raise children simply because theyíre a same sex couple.† How many unwanted children are born to straight couples caught by accident or too selfish to put children before their own needs?
Yeah itís a feelgood novel to boost the spirits but hey we donít get enough of those, particularly in the gay lit genre.†† I congratulate Andy Barriger for producing something extraordinary about two men who find faith in themselves and peace with the world, in the cocoon of friends, family and a supportive community .† Things that make life worthwhile for us all.† Highly recommended.† I hope thereís another sequel.
Buy Finding Peace:A Novel: from Amazon here