I’m Saying Yes by E.N. Holland
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
I’m Saying Yes is definitely a take on Brokeback Mountain but with a happy ending instead of death and tears. The premise is based on the scene between Ennis and Jack after Ennis’ divorce and Jack wants the two to finally be together. If Ennis had said yes instead of no, then I’m Saying Yes is what could have happened in a utopian world. The writing is very good with an engaging appeal that keeps you interested. Unfortunately though the challenges the characters face are very weak and the story is always giving easy solutions and neatly wrapped up circumstances. The novel lacks the intensity of the original couple and book but it’s a nice pleasant read for those that always wanted the happy ending from BBM.
The story focuses on the day to day, slice of life details as the two men work out how to live together and what shape their lives will take. Both men are taken from the book with Ennis as Allen and Jack as Jim. The details of the men’s lives are nearly identical to BBM down to their history, ex-wives, children, occupation, and various details. So this story may be hit or miss with fans of the original book. Once the two men decide to get together the story goes into the details of how it could happen. This includes extended scenes about their lives together in minute detail so readers must be interested in these kinds of scenes because nothing else happens.
I didn’t find this bad but the story does seem to lose any intensity and driving pace once the two decide to be together. From then on it’s constant affirmations of love, fidelity and loyalty while solutions are very easy to find. The men need jobs and a place to live – suddenly a perfect solution is presented. The two men need to work something out about their kids and suddenly visitation is no problems and everyone is supportive and loving, including the ex-wives. There are a few incredibly minor complications but any issues are resolved fast and without much drama. In fact the story is so committed to making this utopia perfect that it throws in unnecessary resolutions, like Jim’s ex-boyfriend Ray for example.
This is one of the biggest drawbacks as the story is simply so perfect. The one incident of discrimination ends with the person dying because of course that’s simply karma. Just like being a nice person ends up netting Allen and Jim an incredible life together because they deserve it. It’s always nice to read a story where all the protagonists get what they deserve pretty easily but it also takes away any intensity to their journey. Instead the story meanders along without any real direction or purpose. When it finally stops, the story just seems to peter out without a defined end point.
The story, however, is not poorly written even if the pace wanders from time to time. The writing is engaging and the atmosphere of the time (recent historical, 1976) comes across incredibly well. The feel, touch, taste, and sounds of that period translate beautifully and it takes no effort to become engrossed in the languid storytelling. While incredibly familiar, the characters are likable and you want them to be happy. The point of view does hop frequently mid-scene between various characters but it’s always easy to follow and makes sense at the time.
Overall I found I’m Saying Yes to be an easy book to read even with a slow pace. The take on BBM is obvious and immediate, so much so that it’s clearly not trying to hide the origins so readers can decide if that works for or against their enjoyment. The writing is very good regardless and I think anyone looking for a languid peek into the life of confirmed cowboys and soul mates should really enjoy this offering. Not to mention all those fans that insisted on a happy ending for BBM.