After Ben

After Ben - Con Riley I'm so glad to have been wrecked by this train...



Mmmm, okay. I must admit this book was nothing I expected. After some time reading the same genre it's only logical I recognize the same pattern again and again. There is a guy, there is another guy. They fall in love. The end. That mathematical scheme is nonexistent here. I had serious troubles figuring out who was who. Of course I knew who the MC is, we have his POV the whole time. But who was the another one? Oh, you can laugh all you want but I was just aware of where it was heading on page 175. But instead of talking about my dubious mental agility, let's say why I was convinced there were 4 possible options for Theo.

By the back cover, I knew about a guy who is quite attractive but not enough for Theo because he can't stop thinking about a man he meets in a forum, so it's only fair the gym guy is dismissed and, honestly, the Internet person sounds quite cool.



But... I knew that somehow they had to meet in person before they "knew" each other in the strict sense. I expected something like [b:The Truth About Riley|18103276|The Truth About Riley|Henrietta Clarke|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1371620466s/18103276.jpg|25420557] and somehow it's exactly like that. So I was convinced Joel or Evan would have to play the role. The problem was... neither of them fitted. They were too young, too blind for everybody but each other, too out of place to be Theo's life partner. No, there had to be someone else. And then one of Morgan's comments and the reappearance of an anonymous character made it for me. I felt quite stupid but relieved, at last I had an explanation and the puzzle made sense again!



I could understand Theo's attraction to Morgan, a guy he has never seen. Despite only hearing his "voice" in an indirect fashion, we could perceive him as someone charmingly bellicose, wickedly witty, selflessly attentive and amusingly condescending, so it was no wonder Theo was dazzled every time he read one of his messages. And the love that was created from that was pure and true, as appearances never got in the between. In one moment Theo thinks people show their true self while writing in the Internet, and although I know some lies could be let out, taken as a whole that is entirely correct. As the person who is talking is leaking his thoughts and feelings into words as a way to make up for the times he can't be honest in real life, it's only fair the receiver gets to know that someone in a better way that some "flesh and bone" people do. And sometimes that's the real danger in the static (and dynamic) way that exists while surfing.



The structure of the novel is shocking, too. You'd think you'd find a love story of healing and comfort. Theo is sad and depressed, but with small changes big repercussions follow and what once was discouraging and dispiriting, turns into a new and shining add to his gray life. Changes in his workplace, changes in the forum, changes in his family, changes in this feelings... Every person that crosses his path contributes to heal him in a way or another, and as faces display, a few of them moves him inside and transforms him into someone else, stronger and happier, which pushes him to take the reins of his existence in the direction he craves. Again. It makes me think how can everybody influence a person, even without that someone being aware of it. Every little action could be decisive, and that's scary but flattering, too. Seeing a sparkling soul breaking free from his dull shell must be inspiring.

But this story is not a story about a pair, but also about people who surround that pair. We are not islands, even though sometimes we would want that to be so. Morgan has his own issues, and Joel and Evan have their own. Peter is not that far behind. Everybody has their own injures, and sometimes they are evident, but sometimes they are not. Coping with is hard and it's not always a success. You have to learn when to give up and when to fight, and it's a pity but a lot of of times we confuse both concepts.



So, to sum it up I only can say this one is outstanding and poignant, but in a different way I'm used to, which I believe is more of a compliment than the opposite.