Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Links: Smashwords
A Fool Among Fools by John Terracuso is not your typical m/m offering. This novel strays into the territory of self-revelation and keenly observes just how much the heart can endure before losing not only its fighting spirit, but its joy as well.
Michael has dreams of being a writer. He whittles away at his own script for stage while toiling in a frustrating and most assuredly soul sucking job as a “junior” copywriter for product placement ads, such as faux butter and nail strengthening kits. Along the way, he meets a man who seems to be so perfect yet can’t commit to any type of relationship, constantly stringing Michael along month after month until Michael realizes that to protect his heart, he needs to end whatever it is they had going in the first place.
Luckily, Michael also has incredibly warm and supportive parents who lend a great deal of comedic relief to an otherwise unhappy story and two close and loyal friends who try to steer Michael away from the ever present doomsday thought patterns he has about his life. No, this was far from a typical m/m romance; this was more of a fictional biography that made me alternately laughing and wanting to tear my hair out.
While the thrust of this novel is Michael’s increasing hatred for his job and for his bosses, the real message here is the idea of how much we endure so as not to look like the failures we fear we might be. The main character grapples relentlessly with the idea that time is marching on and he has so very little to show for it, in terms of both job success and artistic fulfillment. He is, in every sense of the word, trapped—in a thankless job, a strange and unsatisfying relationship, and his own desire to be a writer.
However, author John Terracuso keeps this novel from being just a whiny introspection and cleverly morphs it into a statement about how much the human spirit can endure and still keep moving forward toward happiness. He gives us delightful side characters that support his main character and also enlighten, cajole, humor and, yes, correct him as well. These are friends who point out not only the good in Michael’s life but the fact that he has a future ahead of him that will not always be so bleak.
As a result, there is a real sense of family and love that surrounds Michael and keeps him from going off the deep end over and over. Yes, we watch with growing frustration and a bit of real horror at how he is constantly manipulated and tossed aside at his work and by his erstwhile lover, but we also sigh in relief as he bounces back again and again with his humor and sense of self intact. Michael is a cog in a corporate dime-a-dozen job, but in the end he finds what is true and right and clings to it with all his strength. There is such hope at the end of this novel for our struggling hero.
If you are looking for another typical m/m romance then A Fool Among Fools by John Terracuso is not the book for you. However, if you are looking for a novel filled with wit and soul searching and, yes, a bit of redemption, then this entertaining novel may just be the one you’ve been waiting for.