Today Jason and Michelle have a Buddy Review of Tangled Mind to share with you all!
As Beck arrives home, he finds his longtime boyfriend, Brady, overdosing on heroin. For the past ten years, Beck has cared for Brady through his depression and drug use, but there is nothing left that can be done for Brady. Spiraling through his own grief, Beck fights through his own depression and co-dependency issues. Beck has lived his life constantly taking into account Brady’s moods for so long that he doesn’t even know what his own life should be.
When Beck breaks down time and again in an effort to reclaim his own life, his friend Timothy is there for him. When Beck cannot afford his mortgage on his own anymore, Timothy comes through and extends an offer for Beck to move in with him. Timothy wants to take care of Beck, and waits patiently for Beck to work through his grief, as he has been in love with Beck for years. When Beck finally feels ready to move on, he may not have to look any further than his closest friend.
Jason: This story really hit close to home for me, reminding me of a six month period when I spent all of my free time with a co-worker who lost her 14-year-old daughter in a car accident. Beck’s grieving process was pretty much spot on with my friend’s and the realism in Robert’s writing really impressed me.
Michelle: I also thought the grieving process was well done and one of the best aspects of the story. Beck is not only grieving the loss of his partner, but the loss of his own identity. The author does not make it easy for him and he does not just magically move on. The one area that I did have to keep reminding myself of was Beck’s age as he did read much younger to me than 30.
Jason: And to me, his behavior was appropriate to his age. Perhaps I gave him some latitude because of my experience with my friend years ago. She was in her 40s, but in her grief tended to withdraw, giving an outsider the impression of someone younger and less in control.
Michelle: Fair enough. Timothy was a bit harder to get a read on due to what we are shown of him. He hid his feelings from Beck for so long and then was so patient after Brady died. The fight they had when Beck was moving in then felt like a forced conflict. Timothy suddenly lost patience in order for Beck to then assert his independence and try to take control of the little things associated with moving into Timothy’s house.
Jason: You know what? I hadn’t thought of that. Why would Timothy suddenly flip out? Why would Beck suddenly decide to push back? Who knows. People are not rational and wondering how Beck and Timothy’s relationship would pan out was probably the thing that had me guessing the most in Tangled Mind. To us it was obvious that Timothy had feelings for Beck and Beck was oblivious, with good reason. In my personal experience, such closeness during the grieving process ended up destroying our friendship. Sounds odd, I know, but even at the time, it made sense to me — I became a reminder of the loss and grief. That was my long-winded way of saying that Roberts did a great job of creating and developing the characters in the short period of time we followed their stories.
Michelle: The story is shorter and I felt Beck was better developed and we got to know him much better in terms of the grieving process, but not as much in terms of how he really felt about Timothy. I wasn’t fully convinced that he was indeed in forever love with Timothy and not just comfortable with him. As for Timothy, we only got glimpses of him and then when Beck is finally seeing him and paying attention there was another area for conflict.
Jason: This may not be a good choice for someone who has recently lost a loved one, but on the other hand, it is a fairly good description of the cycle survivors go through and could be beneficial. I know it brought back memories of the time I spent with my friend, and I highly recommend Tangled Mind, a well written, solid short story with characters I could empathize with. Roberts packs a lot of story into a small package.
Michelle: I had the same thoughts about how the author packed a lot of story into a small amount of space and similar feelings on the book overall. A difference of opinion might have made for a more lively conversation, but we agree that Beck’s journey is realistic, the book delivers a well written story with a solid character, and we can both recommend it. To Jason who selected the book for review, good choice.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.