This is a long, languid romance between Daniel, the tattooed professor dropped in the middle of Michigan, and Rex, the quiet small-town carpenter. It’s all told from Daniel’s POV, and he is a jumble of nerves, caffeine, foul language, and insecurity. He’s freaking adorable, like if Tim Federle went into academia instead of Broadway. This review could just be quotes and you would all buy the book immediately.
Daniel grew up poor, one of five sons of a mechanic. With encouragement from his professors, he made it all the way to a PhD, but his family is not impressed. He interviews for a job at a small private college in Michigan, and meets Rex after crashing his rental car. He thinks Rex is straight.
The last thing I need is for tomorrow’s local paper — if they even have a paper in this town — to carry a story that reads, “Out of town gay man found beaten to death in cabin of unfairly handsome local straight bruiser. Police assume queer panic ensued after out of town gay made a pass at straight bruiser.”
Daniel gets the job and moves into a tiny apartment. He’s always waiting for his next paycheck to buy a better blanket or a warmer coat. He gets known around town because he has a lot of tattoos (his best friend is a tattoo artist) and he’s gay.
“You’re the professor! The gay one from New York!”
“Holy sh*t. I am from f*cking Philadelphia, for the love of god. And how does everyone know I’m gay? Not like I care. Just, seriously, you all gossip like a sewing circle.”
He runs into Rex again, and after a few meetings, Rex asks him out.
I even bought apples because it seemed like something someone who got asked on a date might do.
The story unfolds over time, as Daniel and Rex learn the ups and downs of being in a relationship. Neither one has much experience there, so there’s a lot of panic (by Daniel) and reassurance (by Rex). Also a lot of sex. In between that, we get some small town characters, slices of the poor new professor lifestyle, and a healthy chunk of Daniel’s childhood angst. Daniel rambles about literary naturalism and Marxist materialist criticism when he’s nervous, his hair always looks messy because he pulls on it when he’s irritated, he has a special named after him at the coffee shop (3 shots of espresso in a large coffee), and his first attempt at cooking for Rex goes badly.
“Ew, get away,” I say. “You taste like death eggs and fire toast.”
I really enjoyed spending all this time in Daniel’s head. As I said, the story kind of rambles along, no dramatic plot other than two guys carefully falling in love and learning to rely on each other. It’s adorable and funny.
Click to purchase: Amazon
In the Middle of Somewhere
by Roan Parrish
Release Date: July 10, 2015
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press