Rating: 1 star
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Graham Taylor is fresh out of university and teaching at his first post in a high school outside Chicago. While never adverse to hooking up or having casual sex, Graham is looking for something more. Some would say that he is a bit of a dreamer, but for Graham he is merely a man who wants to meet a boy, fall in love, and live happily ever after. Being shy makes that very difficult, but Graham decides to make his way to Chicago and do the gay bar scene in the hops that he will fine “the one.”
So begins You’re The One by Gene Taylor. A romantic comedy that had its fair share of moments that made me smile and, at times, shake my head in confusion. You see, once Graham decides the bar scene is the way to go, he meets a mysterious man after a disastrous one-hour hookup that led him from the bar to a guy’s apartment and a less than fulfilling encounter. Upon returning, he meets a man who looks amazingly like Robert Redford and is told that the man has a gift for him. Without realizing what is happening, the stranger touches Graham’s finger and gives him the ability to make anyone fall instantly in love with him. All he need do is point at them and say, “you’re the one.”
As fantastical as this sounds, this was the first inkling that I was reading a paranormal story, and, frankly, it confused me. There was virtually no set-up, no idea of the possibility that paranormals even existed. Now Graham had this power, but no idea how it really worked and, to make matters worse, “Robert” had disappeared as quickly as he had materialized.
I pushed on in this story and unfortunately found myself liking it and Graham less and less. He was a study in contradictions. Constantly wanting to find someone who would love him and be a lasting partner, the gift he is given slowly devolves into him using it in order to avoid arrest and exposure as a gay man, and then for sex, but not because he loves these men. It becomes a way to, in essence, keep him from being lonely. While I understand that reasoning, the rest of this novel paints Graham as this guy who is all about truth in relationships and finding lasting love. You see the two sides of this character just did not mesh.
I found myself disliking the lead character more and more as the story went on. I felt he was a bit of a user, only looking out for himself. And the resolution to the story? The big reveal as to who “Robert” really was and what powers he actually held? I felt it was just too quick, underdeveloped, and lacking in real emotion. In fact, this was the main problem with the novel as a whole. I never felt real emotion from any of the characters. Problems arose and were resolved rather handily. Not one of the lovers that Graham had tricked ever got angry with him. All was taken in stride, even the unraveling of the mysterious “Robert” at the novel’s end.
You’re the One was a story whose characters remained fairly one-dimensional. The dialogue became predictable and the story lines, while at times a bit humorous, became more of the same, either a way to avoid the inadvertent love interest Graham had created or an opportunity for sex. The fact that some of the characters were straight and “made gay” by the magic spell was just a bit too creepy and made me think that Graham was really an uncaring and shallow person. Overall, I was disappointed with this story which could have been a sweet romantic comedy that explored one man’s desire to move beyond one night stands to real love.