Well it can never be said of a Rick R. Reed novel that it does not in some way move me emotionally. This time, his new novel, Blink, moved me to tears. A story of second chances, of first loves, and, most assuredly, of finding that you must love yourself and accept who you are before you can love another.
Two men glance at each other on the “L” train and there is some sort of flirtations spark that happens. But while one of those men has come to grips with who he is, the other is being torn in pieces, grappling with the need to be the perfect son and the loyal fiancé. The year is 1982 and Andy is engaged to Allison, so why does his eye wander one morning and spot handsome Carlos and feel his heart give a stutter? Weeks pass and the chances of seeing the Latino man again fade from possibility, so why does Andy recall him with such clarity and search the train cabin each day in the hopes he will see him again?
In a later encounter, Andy asks Carlos to meet him on the corner near his apartment, knowing that he is potentially about to ruin his upcoming wedding and destroy his fiancée’s happiness. Carlos keeps their appointment and just as they are about to make love, the phone rings and reality comes crashing in. More than 30 years later, Andy glimpses a man on the “L” train and hope returns to his life. But will Carlos want to return as well?
Reed presents this story in dual point of view, each chapter taken by either Carlos or Andy, and we are privy to their inner thoughts, longings, and anxieties. As the story evolves, so do these two men, their lives taking drastically different directions only to find themselves landing back together in nearly the same place. While they are older and wiser, they are still lonely and in need of someone to love and be loved in return.
I was pulled again and again into the hearts and minds of these two main characters. These were good guys who deserved happiness, yet many moments in their lives fell well short of the joy they desired. Reed writes his characters with such a quiet dignity. He gives them depth and imbues them with such rich emotions and feelings that they truly become a reality that moves beyond the page. I found myself fully immersed in this story. Skillfully handled, the author takes what could have been a sweeping saga and instead gives us just enough action from each man’s life to make us understand who they have become over the years. The story is sweet and fast moving. There is just the right amount of angst hidden in the tenderness of what could almost be thought of as a coming out story in many ways.
Blink by Rick R. Reed was about more than second chances. It was about finding the courage inside one’s self to love who you are and live as genuinely as possible. I highly recommend this novel to you.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.