Monday, May 15, 2017

Review: The Truth About Goodbye by Russell Ricard

When someone we love dies, we don't want to believe that means they are gone forever. We look for signs that they are still with us, watching over us. Wherever we think they are though, they certainly aren't where we want them to be, beside us, holding our hand, loving us, and living with us. In Russell Ricard's debut novel, The Truth About Goodbye, will this uncertainty and yearning for a lost loved one keep the main character from going on and living or will it help him to understand the truth about goodbye?

Sebastian is turning forty and it's not just his age that is weighing on him (although the number bothers him as well). His birthday is the anniversary of his husband Frank's death a year ago. Sebastian is still grieving Frank. Wrapped in a heavy cloak of guilt because they argued over a younger, good looking, former fling of Frank's the night Frank died, Sebastian has been having trouble putting one foot in front of another. He can't bring himself to clean up his apartment, he can't contemplate dating, and he can't seem to create the choreography that would help him move beyond the chorus boy roles he's been playing for over two decades. On the plus side, Sebastian has his over the top friend, Chloe, a former Rockette, who is trying hard to haul Seb out of the dark pit he's living in by introducing him to the delectable Reid, a man who intrigues Seb but also makes him feel as if he's cheating on Frank. Sebastian also has his guru, wellness coach, and yogi Andrew who is helping him to keep breathing even if he can't quite get Sebastian to address his deeper issues. And finally in Seb's corner, is his furry cat Arthur. In fact, it is originally through Arthur that Seb first suspects that Frank is still with him.

Seb is skittish, running hot and cold about Reid. He's a drama queen, and he's suddenly seeing Frank's ghost on the ceiling. The biggest constant in his life is his community center gig teaching tap. These things come together to round out his character as a nice man who's a little flaky, overwhelmed by grief, angry at fate, and uncertain how to push on. His loss will always be a part of him but as the novel opens, it is consuming him. Ricard has done a nice job showing how grief creeps into all corners of a life. But he's also done a nice job showing how loyal friends can be the bridge between a formerly happy life and a new and different, happy life. There are some interesting snapshots into NYC musical theater life and a look at what's available as the next stage for someone aging out of being a chorus boy. Reid was a lovely, understanding man but the reason for his determined pursuit of Seb, who was nothing if not capricious towards Reid and a possible relationship, wasn't entirely clear. Chloe is a wonderful friend and brings some fantastic levity to the story.  The end was predictable, perhaps feeling more so that way because there's a four year gap between the bulk of the story and the final chapter.  In the end though, this was a sweet love story about living and healing after loss.

For more information about Russell Ricard and the book, check out his publisher's author website, like him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter. Check out the book's Goodreads page, follow the rest of the blog tour, or look at the amazon reviews for others' thoughts and opinions on the book.

Thanks to Lisa from TLC Book Tours and Wise Ink for sending me a copy of this book to review.

1 comment:

  1. I think so many people could identify with Seb and the fact that he argued with Frank the day before Frank died ... sadly I think many of us have those kinds of memories, and they are so hard to deal with.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!


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