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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Manny Diaries by Kilt Kilpatrick

The Manny Diaries by Kilt Kilpatrick
Publisher: Ravenous Romance
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (193 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Phlox

Young art student Evan Ross falls out of the closet and into the fire when an unexpected sexual encounter with a friend changes his life forever. His rocky - and surprisingly hot - search for true love and a real job (not necessarily in that order) takes him on a series of romantic adventures and misadventures, from the lofty hills to the seedy streets of San Francisco.

When he lands a job as a male nanny for a precocious 8-year old, his career and romance paths start to converge - and he finds himself falling for a dead-ringer of his dream man, Clive Owen. The only problem? It's the girl's straight father.

Can he land his dream job and his dream man? THE MANNY DIARIES is sexy, warm and hilarious novel with a supporting cast of quirky, lovable characters, a fun pace, and a true-to-life setting.

Nothing's worse than bumping into your fantasy man in what seems a fated moment, only to find out he’s both father and husband. Readers of Kilt Kilpatrick’s short fiction will find themselves in a certain amount of familiar territory in his d├ębut novel. Physical humor, quirky characters, pop-culture asides, and amusing embarrassing moments abound. Initially, I was skeptical that his writing style would translate into a novel length work, and perhaps if the plot had involved only comedic moments, this would have been true. The ever-flexible mind of Mr. Kilpatrick surprised me again, though, and gives us a story with emotional depth and pathos.

Evan is an immediately likeable character. Perhaps a little self-absorbed and somewhat lacking in the ability to pick up on social cues, still Evan comes across as sympathetic. Newly come out, he’s emotionally vulnerable, feeling a bit lost and adrift, but plucky enough to want to make the best of whatever life doles out. His interactions with his friends are funny and warm. Often, simple things made me chuckle while I read, such as this little snippet of dialogue:

“Wow, Cosmopolitans are…really…really….” I murmured after our second one.

“Surprisingly strong? Dangerous?” Trini offered.

“Magically delicious?” suggested Rodel.

“D. All of the above,” I declared.
The story is told entirely through his point of view, so the reader’s connection with Liam is far less successful. We never really understand what motivates Liam on a personal level, never really get to know him or understand why he feels so drawn to Evan (besides the obvious physical attraction.) This, and the fact that Courtney is not entirely believable as a mother, or at least is a mother who would prompt any sane person to call social services, were perhaps the stories only major flaws.

The secondary characters are all charmers, with Trini, Evan’s best friend, and Monette, the child for whom he nannies, stealing the show in every scene where they appear. I think one of the reasons I came to adore Evan so much was because of his interactions with Monette, a precocious, strong-willed, obviously lonely child. His own sense of play and wide-eyed wonder allow him to relate better than most adults, and to channel Monette’s energies in a positive way.

While this is a comedy, there are plenty of non-funny, steamy moments and even some moments of dark despair at the appropriate time for a romance. Comedic without becoming slapstick, a story of self-discovery and a love story with a very nice warm, fuzzy moment at the end, The Manny Diaries is all of these things. I look forward to seeing more full-length work from Kilt Kilpatrick, to see where his fertile imagination will take us.

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