Review: From Top to Bottom by Kevin Klehr

from top to bottomRating: 3 stars
Buy Links: 
 Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Short Story 


Tony is a guy who lives a life with lots of sex and little responsibility. He isn’t interested in doing much besides having a good time with as many men as possible. Tony is an exclusive top, but when his partner of the night comments on the benefits of bottoming, Tony decides it is time to give it a try. But rather than learn the ropes from just anyone, Tony decides to look for other exclusive tops who are interested in losing their bottoming cherry together.

Butch is a cake baking bear, and Ford is a cute guy curious enough to cheat on his boyfriend. The three guys each get their chance to bottom, and along the way Tony learns more about himself.

Ok, I’ll say right from the start that this was a rough go for me. I really liked the idea here and the blurb seemed appealing. It indicated something fun and sexy with a little self discovery thrown in. Tony has a bit of charm, and there were some quirky, fun elements, like Butch’s tendency to bring cake to each of their hookups, and Tony’s TMI relationship with his dad. And there are a few moments where Tony breaks the fourth wall to talk to the reader that are entertaining. But a lot of this story just didn’t work for me and it was kind of tough to get through.

First off, be aware that this story is not a romance, but erotica. So there is understandably not any kind of relationship building or romantic arc, although Tony and Butch do become friends. And that is totally fine with me, as I knew what to expect, and you all know I am just fine with the steamy stuff. However, as much as I hate to say it, the sexy times did nothing for me, which is a big problem in a book that is largely about sex. The euphemisms felt awkward and jarring, the scenes jumped around from raw sex to dramatic musings, and some elements were just downright unappealing to my taste. That said, I think a lot of what you think about this book will hinge on what you think about the sex scenes, so here are some examples so you can get a feel for things.

My mind returned to the task at hand: my lips on Butch’s tasty hole. Its stale odor needed to be savored. My hands pushed his cheeks aside as my tongue lurched to lick his pussy ass.

Dirt. Coffee. Sweet and sour. Honey to my mouth. A hole waiting to be fucked has many flavors. All of them combine to make the manliest taste imaginable. It’s where you drop all pretence, knowing that from this point on, anything goes.

Ford’s heated breath warmed by face. I looked up. His mouth devoured mine, tasting Butch’s sweat off my prying tongue, as moist tang of salty pre-cum slithered over my taste buds. Both of us had the essence of man to share. Appetizing samples from our hungry bear.

Now the man I desired most dived into Butch’s crack, eating him like he was savoring the juice of a peach. The hairy man groaned through his wicked grin.

“Come on, man,” Butch encouraged. “Chew my gremlin!”

I heard Ford giggle. “Don’t laugh,” I demanded. “Or else I will too.”

I licked Butch’s shaft. Its throbbing tip warmed my mouth on its way in. Its moist reward tasted so different from Ford’s delicious cock. Piss was its main odor, and somehow his pre-cum was tainted in this essence. A bonus for those of us who seek the gifts of nature.

“Let me feel inside you,” said Ford. His voice rumbled like a car engine dying to take off. “Open yourself to every possibility my cock can give you. Every pleasure. Every pain. Every inch.” He slid in a little farther. “That’s it. Be my man whore. Let me reach inside the gift you have for me. Your exquisite man space.”

“Feed me, Ford,” he replied. “Thrust me and soak me.”

Here it is partly that the language felt kind of porny and over the top to me. I would say purple prose, but kind of dirty purple, if that makes sense. The other problem is just me in that a lot of it just wasn’t to my personal taste, and that was hard to get past as it affected most of the sexy times together. Here is another example that just felt like such overly dramatic prose that didn’t really fit with the tone of the story to me, nor with the POV character narrating.

But my devotion to his partner’s cock was just as thrilling. I was its disciple. Jarrod eased me back and forth with his hands on my head, to heighten my worship. I was the believer in unobligated passion, who’d learned to let my body be a vessel. And my god stood above me, feeding me life. His dominance was welcome, for I’d be his devotee any day, any time.

My own authority drilled into my willing participant. His deflowering was well and truly in motion. With each plunge, he was mine. Mine to let go in. Mine to flow into. Mine to possess.

So like I said, if these examples totally do it for you, I think you are going to enjoy this book more than I did, especially given how much of the story is various sex scenes. However, aside from the sex not doing it for me, I feel like this book tries to do too much and nothing is explored enough. Given that the vast majority of page time is dedicated to sex, there are a lot of side elements brought in that just don’t have enough time to develop. We have Butch’s collapsing relationship, Ford cheating on his boyfriend, and Tony’s crush on Ford. This is a short story with mostly sex taking up the page time, and so it felt like we were jumping around a lot to different plot threads that aren’t well developed. Given the short length and the erotic tone, I think it would have been helpful to narrow down these other elements and explore one in more depth rather than trying to fit in so many things.

Finally, based on the blurb and the way the book ends, we are supposed to have seen this growth in Tony, as if he has changed as a result of this experimentation. Unfortunately I just didn’t see it at all. We are told this happens, but I never saw it developing, and even at the end of the book I could see no real difference in Tony other than being told he changed.

So like I said, this one just didn’t work for me and I had a hard time with the writing style here. If you find it more appealing, I think this story will work much better for you. But between finding the sex scenes a rough go, and too much other stuff happening that isn’t sufficiently developed, this story just didn’t hit the right notes for me.

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