When Curtis slips at the pool knocking himself out, the first thing he sees when he wakes is blue eyes. The eyes belong to Danny and the two become the best of friends at a young age. They spend all of their time together and intend to go to college together until Danny changes plans and leaves town. Danny has been in love with Curtis for quite some time and it’s just too hard to be around him. The divide is too big for Curtis to overcome and ten years pass before he tries to contact Danny.
In the same day, Curtis loses his job, his girlfriend, and his place to live. Hitting bottom with no options, he calls Danny. Danny now lives on Vancouver Island, the other side of the country from Curtis, but invites Curtis for a visit. When Curtis arrives, he finds Danny successful, gorgeous, and admitting that he is gay. As the two friends attempt to recapture the friendship and closeness they once shared, Curtis has to come to terms with the fact that he not only didn’t know Danny as well as he thought, but he is attracted to Danny in ways he can’t and doesn’t want to understand.
The premise of friends-to-lovers is one of my favorites and will draw my attention each and every time. The Water Will Catch You is also the story of childhood friends who think they know everything about each other, but are dealing with fear, denial, and an extreme lack of communication.
There was a lot that I liked about this book and there were areas that equally didn’t work as well for me. To start, the writing is at times beautifully and lovingly written and those are words I do not use often. It is also soft and descriptive and the writing illuminates the remote area where Danny lives, as well as draws out the craftsmanship of his career as a custom furniture builder.
The story opens present day and the men have not been in contact for ten years. When Curtis arrives at Danny’s home, he expects that their friendship will pick right back up. While Curtis does ask Danny questions about what happened years ago, Danny will not chance telling Curtis that he was in love with him and this hangs over them for a good portion of the book. While there are a few flashbacks to highlight their youth, the story lacked the intensity of both emotion and connection for me between both friendship and any signs of longing. I did like Danny’s character better than Curtis, but both read as fairly bland to me.
There is a slow burn here, which is realistic in many ways. Curtis does not want to be attracted to any man and it’s not a quick shift at all for him. But, every time there is any forward movement to their relationship, Curtis runs both physically and emotionally. He’s not particularly nice to Danny and he’s completely oblivious of Danny’s feelings. So Danny won’t talk about the past and Curtis won’t talk about the present and they went around and around.
There were those moments when they were connecting that were well written, but time and again the emotion was snatched away by Curtis and I became less interested in wanting to continue to hear his story. When Curtis makes a confession to Danny, there was such limited back story to support it and I couldn’t completely get behind it. Curtis also says toward the end of the book that “reading someone was always my gift,” and from what we are shown that statement completely contradicts all of his actions. The secondary characters do not add much with Danny’s friend Lauren not being an overly developed character and not really being that great of a friend to Danny. Also, Danny’s parents make an appearance and their actions that were seen on page were contradictory to what we had been told about them and were never fully explained.
I wanted to like this story more than I did and three quarters of the way through I became ambivalent about finishing it. At the end, I liked the style of the writing more than the characters or their story as it was presented.