The one thing that is absolute regarding T.J. Klune’s newest release, Olive Juice, is that the less you know about it, the better the reading experience will be. This is one of Klune’s heavier reads and it is filled with emotional intimacy and his signature style.
The book opens with David, as the story is told through his eyes. He had received a text from Phillip that Phillip wanted to see him and he was waiting for Phillip. He was always waiting for Phillip as Phillip was always late and David was always early. It worked for them, it was their thing. But David hasn’t seen Phillip in a while, just moments here and a text there and David is living a half life. He exists even when he feels he doesn’t have anything or even a right to exist anymore. He carries guilt and he carries grief and he carries regret and it’s been six long years of pain.
The book is told in one long emotional purge. It’s one night that takes place in mostly one setting and it’s a conversation that is both personal and private that maybe we shouldn’t be listening to, but we do because it’s been laid out for us to join in. We are offered the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the event that defines David and Phillip, the event that gave a before and after to their lives. The before, where David and Phillip met, fell in forever love, and life was grand, and the after, when their world turned upside down and over and around with their worst nightmare coming true.
It’s the story of words that are spoken in anger, rage, and the deepest pain that can’t be taken back and that shatter lives in a moment. It’s the story of how you go on even when you can’t and when just about everything is gone. But it’s also the story of finally taking that hand when it’s offered to you to try to ever so slowly pick yourself up.
The story does not try to be too mysterious once you start and it’s effortless to catch on to what is going on early in the book. It’s a shorter novel and I would recommend having the time to read it all at once for the maximum effect. It is not specifically a romance, but a story of love just the same. I did have the expectation that it would be even more emotional than it was, but your experience may certainly vary. If you like T.J. Klune’s more poignant reads, as well as a well written and visual story that transports you through the most important as well as difficult memories of one man’s life, Olive Juice would be that book.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.