May 20, 2010
The Pagan & The Pen Reviews
Title: A Perfect Game
Author: Reno MacLeod and Jaye Valentine
Publisher: Noble Romance Publishing, LLC
Genre: Contemporary Erotic/M/M
Length: 150 pages
Other: BDSM/Spanking/Gay Lifestyle/Relationships/Teacher/Student Relationships/ Parent/Child Conflict
Pagan & Pagan Elements: None
Reviewed by: Russ Allen
About The Book: Twenty-year-old Christopher "Kit" Pennington dreams of becoming a professional baseball player. He has the talent and the drive needed for the sport, but finds his lack of interest in formal education barring his way. Under threat from his wealthy father, an important alumnus and contributor at the private Christian college Kit attends, Kit has been barely muddling through. Not until the very handsome Liam Dalton replaces one of Kit’s regular professors at the exclusive school does higher learning take on any real meaning.
The Review: This is an interesting and very readable story of how a relationship between a college professor and one of his students grows from reflecting the fringe elements of homosexual activity to love and marriage. There are a few flaws in its telling, as well as some unresolved problems or unanswered questions, but they do not distract from the overall narrative. The story sheds light on the more extreme aspects of the homosexual lifestyle [called “The Scene”], which might arouse some readers and turn others off. However, even straight men, as well as gays and bi-sexuals, may find themselves reacting enjoyably to the erotic, and somewhat graphic nature of the descriptions it offers of homosexual activity.
Among the aspects that reduce the quality of the story, in part because of their limited believability or unresolved nature, is Kit’s use of his father’s credit card to fund his sexual exploits, seemingly without his father ever becoming aware of it; the coincidence of Kit running into Liam in an erotic store in Provincetown days after they first meet; the way the story seeks to resolve Kit’s shaky relationship with his father; Liam’s experience with an anal vibrator while teaching his class; the occasionally unfulfilled promised sexual activity, and the idea that a sexual relationship between teacher and student could actually end up in marriage.
More positively, the way that the story shines light on that part of “The Scene” that includes domination, discipline, ownership of one person by the other, sexual slavery, exhibitionism, physical abuse, and purely physical sex is actually educational for anyone unfamiliar with those practices. This aspect is complex, for while both Liam and Kit are supposedly into these activities, Kit has carefully avoided being dominated, (he is an anal virgin when he meets Liam), while Liam, for all his talk, has very real limits when it comes to these activities. How emotional and physical intimacies interact in the context of this extreme form of homosexuality is not fully resolved, for Liam and Kit move back and forth toward the edge without ever fully engaging in what they say they want.
More details as to how Liam and Kit came to be who they are when they first meet, especially in terms of their sexual interests, might have helped flesh out the story and enabled the reader to understand why in time their growing personal relationship established limits on their sexual activities.
Nevertheless, taken as a whole this is a revealing look into the dynamics of homosexuality, the difficulties and the risks facing those who engage in its more extreme practices, the prejudice that gays encounter, and the steps men take to achieve a loving and committed relationship.
I recommend this story especially to non-gays as a way of gaining an appreciation for the differences and commonalities that exist between straights and homosexuals.
Pagan Elements: None
Cover (Rated 1-10): 3. The cover is attractive, but this book is not about baseball, which the cover might lead one to believe. “A Perfect Game” is actually about the interplay of two people exploring a gay relationship, not the national pastime. I would not be drawn to, much less purchase or read the book based on the cover.
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