Parker Rexx is a professional book critic. He’s got an inattentive (and most probably cheating) boyfriend named Kasey, and he’s been watching the handsome cowboy named Jobe from Oklahoma who is spending the summer caring for his ailing grandfather in the house across the street. Parker’s family thinks he’s wasting his time, and even his shrink is telling him he needs to work on and repair his relationship with Kasey.
Ignoring his doctor and wanting to rid himself of Kasey, Parker is nearly obsessive about Jobe. He even follows him to watch Jobe in private moments. Finally, the men begin spending a bit of time together, drinking beer and talking while sitting on Parker’s front stoop. One night, things come to a head when Kasey returns, drunk and belligerent, and Parker finally ends things. Soon, Parker and Jobe act on their growing passion for each other and a tentative relationship begins. However, Jobe is due to return to Oklahoma in a few weeks. Will they be able to work out how they can go on, or will Parker’s love for his Summer Cowboy be lost come the end of August?
I chose Summer Cowboy because it took place in Pittsburgh, PA. I grew up about 45 minutes from there and visited quite often. It’s a lovely “little, big city” and I was happy to be able to read about some homies. I looked forward to this book and had high expectations when I cracked it open. Honestly, after I got a few pages in, I had no idea what to think of it.
The story had an odd feeling to it. It was atmospheric for sure, and it seemed the author wanted to be almost poetic. This is the second paragraph of the book:
I become studious and learn a summer cowboy. This is what people–friends and relatives–think of me as I take on the juvenile task of watching Jobe Rider. It’s what I also think, but don’t tell anyone. He’s only temporary to the city, I come to understand, built rough, chisleled, and thirty-six, maybe thirty-seven. Just adorable.
Several sentences later…
The type of guy who seems humble, not really into himself, the opposite of arrogant, although he can be if he wants to, since he’s beautiful, studly, and charming. Tall as corn in August. Golden-blond like the finest crop. Nebraska or Oklahoma perfect. Just visiting for the summer; a few weeks. No more than four in all. So handsome, I can squeeze myself to death. Pop.
Can you see what I mean? The whole book reads like that. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it felt a little clunky to me.
Parker also seems a little one dimensional. The voice I hear in my head is almost monotone, even when he followed Jobe to an abandoned lot with high grass where Jobe lies in the sun…sometime sleeping, sometimes smoking some weed, sometimes masturbating. It’s kind of creepy and Parker seems to realize this, but doesn’t want to give it up.
Jobe is a little better. While I still didn’t feel a strong connection to him, I did find him to be a little more…I don’t know…deep? I liked that he didn’t seem to be put out by being in Pittsburgh, taking care of his ailing grandfather. He seemed almost excited about it. He became a fan of my beloved Steelers, as well as the Pirates and the Penguins. Also, he’s actually interested in Parker, finally making a move after about two weeks.
The author nailed the descriptions of Pittburgh in the summer. It’s always cloyingly hot and humid. Sometimes, it’s hard to breathe, and I could feel that oppressive heat and moist air. I enjoyed the part where Parker took Jobe on a tour of the city. I longed to see parts of home I haven’t seen in years. I wanted to ride one of the inclines and take in the view of Heinz Stadium, the rivers, and other gorgeous sights from Mt. Washington. I was quite impressed with all of this, and it made me happy.
When the men finally begin their relationship…sexual and otherwise…it felt like an accurate portrayal of something with a finite timeline. They knew their time was short, so they made the most of it. They did have a nice chemistry, so it made my heart pound. The dialogue, which is kind of stilted throughout the rest of the book, is hot and sexy.
Then came the end. I actually shouted, “What the what???” It was so abrupt. I mean, I knew I was getting close to the end, but wow. I did not expect what I got. Once again, it’s not necessarily bad, but I shut down the kindle while shaking my head. I admit I didn’t know what to do and how I was going to rate this one. I know I’m not giving you much to work with, but I don’t want to give anything away. I’m going to cautiously recommend Summer Cowboy, especially if you’re a fan of an obsessive, one sided love that turns into something damn near perfect.