David’s Dilemma by Lynn Lorenz
When David’s father moves in, David loses more than his study. He loses his life. His father has Alzheimer’s and each day is a struggle for both of them. His father’s blunt, bigoted attitudes about David’s lifestyle, friends and neighbors pushes David out of his circle of support and into a world of loneliness, repeated conversations, and the fear that his father will wander off or burn down the house while David’s at work.
With David’s life in turmoil, now is not the right time to meet a man. And definitely not the time to try to have a romantic relationship. But when his father does wander off, David turns to the local police for help, and he meets Detective Travis Hart.
Travis’s life is not much better. Just coming off a nasty break up with his much younger lover, Travis struggles with his attraction to David. A rebound romance is not what Travis is looking for; he wants commitment and forever. Both men realize what they really need at this point in their lives is not a lover, but a best friend.
Through phone calls, they begin a friendship and share the moments in their days, David’s coping with his father and Travis’s struggle with his job as a cop. But as their friendship and attraction turns into the love, David’s father spirals deeper into a disease that robs him of memory and replaces it with fear and delusions, until the situation becomes something that neither David or Travis ever expected.
[More naked chest. Please invest in more stock images Amber.]
Lynn Lorenz is an auto-buy author for a lot of people, but she’d never caught my attention enough to actually buy and read most of her books. I’d read one book a while ago and disliked it in a casual, not worth writing a review way and forgot about it. After reading David’s Dilemma, I have come to the conclusion this author is a personal preference. Some will like her and some will be indifferent but the best thing about this particular book is that the story is very well written with realistic outcomes and issues using believable characters as they deal with life. This isn’t a light book as it deals with illness and angst but it’s also not overwhelming and too emotional, it has an honest feel wrapped up with a happy ending to satisfy romance fans.
The plot is everything the blurb promises but it doesn’t give away the reason the book really shines above others in this genre. This authentic look at a man struggling with his father’s illness coupled with the range of emotions this brings was well penned and moving. This is really a book about the main character David, but the viewpoint alternates between David, Travis, and David Sr. The glimpse into the mind of David Sr. was necessary to understanding the slow internal deterioration that rarely appeared on the surface. This deterioration was essential to the plot progression and dramatic ending but also rang with an eloquent honesty resonating with anyone who has had experience with Alzheimer’s. The different point of view changes largely happen in alternating chapters so there was no confusion or head hopping going on.
David was the best characterized of the three men, as this is really his journey through life, relationships, and illness. Although there is very little dwelling on David, his past, present, or even future, the reality of his day-to-day emotions and actions give him a weight that most will enjoy. I personally found David somewhat light as beyond being friends with Travis and his frustrations and fears involving his father—I felt there wasn’t much to David. We’re given his emotions as they occur within the current circumstances but there is no additional context and depth to David to add to his character. I found him pleasant enough to read about but this prevented me from connecting with the character on a level other readers may. David experiences a range of emotions from fear, frustration, anger, and guilt as he struggles with his father’s illness and the consequences for both of them.
At this same time, David and Travis are developing a long-distance relationship while being in the same city. Even though David and Travis admit they both need a friend and use nightly phone calls to talk about their day and receive emotional support, these two start immediately with the acceptance that they eventually will be a couple. On their first phone call, they establish nicknames—Travis calls David “baby”, and David calls Travis “honey.” So there is no question they will eventually move this friendship to the next level, which they do at a slow and calculated pace. This allowed the story to show Travis in his role as a police detective and his need for unconditional support from a partner. Unfortunately Travis is also somewhat ill characterized, as there is not much to him shown other than having experienced a short mid-life crisis by dating someone much younger before meeting David and the complicated emotions related to his job. He’s a sympathetic character for David and again, pleasant to read but I found the lack of context and depth lacking to allow me to connect to him. Other readers may not have this problem though.
The depth given to David Sr. was my favorite of the three men as the slow deterioration was very reminiscent of those struggling with this disease as well as his harsh bigoted and racist comments showed his true personality. I genuinely enjoyed that the author didn’t create a sad, sympathetic character but instead showed a complicated man who is by turns lost and fearful and aggressive and confrontational. His gradual decline showed true feelings and thoughts he likely would have kept hidden but the lack of inhibition coupled with confusion allowed these comments and thoughts to be exposed. The guilt and fear David feel in combination to this father, even though their relationship is strained offered an authentic look at many father/son relationships.
As I’ve said, the writing was very well done and overall this was a solid book with clear characters that evoke emotion and genuine insight. Reader response may vary although I enjoyed this book and the author’s writing to the point that I’ll be looking her up again. However, as a personal preference she didn’t work for me as well she does for others. There was a lack of context and additional depth that kept me from connecting and investing in a story that otherwise would be moving, emotional, and touching. It had all those elements but for me they were muted without that necessary connection. The level of her writing is such that I encourage all readers to pick up her work and make your own decision. She may very well deliver a book that moves you to tears.
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