JJ is 18 years old and lives with his mother, brother, and his mother’s boyfriend. After seeing the movie Call Me by Your Name, JJ wants out. He dreams of escaping his current life and moving on to something better.
Donnie is a divorced accountant with a 15-year-old daughter. He seems successful, but after sitting down to watch a television showing of Call Me by Your Name, he becomes enchanted, almost obsessed, with the coming of age love story.
The two men “meet” on a Facebook page dedicated to the film, and begin an online relationship that turns into a phone relationship, and soon, JJ and Donnie meet in person when Donnie invites JJ to stay with him to get away from his mother’s abusive boyfriend.
The chemistry between JJ and Donnie is electric and almost immediate, and they begin an intense sexual affair. Their passion burns bright, but the question is whether the two can overcome family and employment issues and continue on their road to love, or if that passion burn out as quickly as it began.
When I chose Taste for Self Published Book Week, I was excited to start. I have heard of Call Me by Your Name, and I have many friends who’ve seen and loved it. Let me tell you, I was not disappointed. The story blew me away, and the MCs were unique and sympathetic. I was able to feel their pain as their lives spiral downward, and their almost giddiness once they meet and begin to fall for each other. The writing is almost poetic, and I was sucked into the story right away. Even though it’s not a particularly long book, I read it from beginning to end in one fell swoop. I couldn’t make myself leave JJ and Donnie behind, even if it was to just sleep for a few hours.
The story was well paced and the attention to detail was remarkable. I could see Donnie’s living room, or JJ’s smile, or even Donnie’s daughter Leah’s clothing. Everything ran through my head like a movie.
In the plot summary, I mentioned the chemistry between JJ and Donnie. It was instant and off the charts. Of course, there was heat to spare, but there was also excitement, confusion, sadness, and anger, along with a softness and sweetness that made my heart swell.
Even though Taste touched on JJ’s relationship with his family, I felt the main focus was on Donnie, his ex wife, and his daughter. Donnie was, in his words, a serial cheater. He and his wife were drifting apart, and he wanted to just…FEEL for awhile. He also considered himself to be a bad father to Leah. It wasn’t as if he didn’t want to bond with her, he just didn’t understand her. Once again, I sensed and felt Donnie’s pain. I thought Williams did an outstanding job fleshing both JJ and Donnie’s characters, but Donnie especially.
Now, as for the end…I’m going to assume most of you have either heard about or seen Call Me by Your Name, so it may not come as a surprise to you that this doesn’t end with an HEA/HFN. HOWEVER, I’m going to say that each man got what he needed from their relationship. JJ was able to find it in himself to go after his dream after a wonderful opportunity is given to him, and Donnie was able to reconcile his feelings toward Leah and his ex. He also came to terms with his life in general and became not only content, but happy.
I highly recommend Taste. Even if you haven’t seen Call Me by Your Name, it won’t matter. Other than being based on the movie, you won’t be lost. As I mentioned, I haven’t seen it, but I had no trouble jumping in and being captivated. Definitely pick this one up.
This review is part of our Reading Challenge Month for Self Published Book Week! Leave a relevant comment below and you will be entered to win one of ten HUGE prize bundles donated by some fabulous self published authors (you can see the full prize list here)! Commenters will also be entered to win our amazing grand prize sponsored by NineStar Press: a Kindle Paperwhite loaded with 50 NineStar Press books! You can get more information on our Challenge Month here (including all the contest rules) and more details on Self Published Book Week here.