Pull Me Underby Zarah Detand Published 14 Feb 2014
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As the first British footballer to come out at the prime of his career, it helps that Ben Jimmer is in a long-term, committed relationship with university student Henry Brown. Even if that relationship is fake.
Or: a cheerfully clichéd tale of romance, tattoos, football, and friendship (both with and without benefits). Also, tea. And stupidly complicated feelings, of course. Let's not forget about those.
"Pull Me Under" Reviews
This was close to a 5-star read for me, a slow, gradual, and sweet fake-to-real relationship story. Ben Jimmer is a top-ranked British football (soccer to us Yanks) star who is outed by pictures of him dancing at a gay club. It's still ambiguous enough that he could try to deny it, but he decides he's tired of living the lie. He decides to come out at last. When he comes under pressure in the locker room the first day, he finds himself saying what his agent recommended. "Anyway, I have a boyfriend."
In fact, Ben has only ever kissed one guy. Once. But his agent, Aaron, is gay and knows a friend who is both currently single and a fierce and cheerful advocate of coming out, and a football fan. Henry Brown is fun, sweet, even-tempered and pretty unflappable. He refuses to let Ben pay for his help, baulks even at expensive gifts, and is helpful beyond compare. Henry's presence at his side lets Ben make it through the first days of his coming out without self-destructing. But as time goes on, he realizes that he is falling in love with Henry. Which is something he really doesn't want to unload on a guy doing him an amazing favor in the name of LGBT visibility and rights.
Of course, in romance tradition, Henry is falling for him too... The thing that made me take off a star is that this proceeds at a glacial pace. I like slow. I like seeing guys, especially inexperienced guys, move cautiously and second guess themselves. But this story needed a little more than "He can't possibly feel the same way" to keep these guys apart that long. More could have been made of Ben's wealth, perhaps, and Henry being accused of gold-digging, or something else external in the plot to push them apart.
As it stood this book was lovely and sweet and warm. The fan, teammate and public resistance to a gay footballer was muted, and not melodramatic in the least. This was nicely done, but meant that the coming out drama wasn't tough enough to serve as the whole conflict in the story, so there was a point where the Big Misunderstanding began to grate a bit. Still a very nice addition to the "pro athlete coming out" category, and Henry was a great character.
The premise is cute. A closeted gay football player, Ben, is photographed dancing at a gay club and because he doesn't want the public to think that he is promiscuous, his manager decides that what he needs is fake boyfriend to show everybody that he is in love and in a committed relationship. That's where Henry comes in.
Two things that frustrated me with this book and that is the inability for the MCs to communicate thus causing drama. Reminds me of The House on Hancock Hill. And the other one is the length of the book - It's quite long and I found myself skipping some parts.
Ben is great character and his inner monologues is very funny . The supporting cast is great too. I had a lot of sigh and aww moments here but unfortunately the ending kinda feel flat for me and did not have the emotional impact I was hoping for me.
My main complain really is that it's a long read and if this was shortened I think It would have been more effective. Overall, it is still very well written and I'm looking forward to this debut author's future releases.
This will probably be in my top reads of 2014.
4.25 STARS! :)
Loved this book! Poignant, cute, funny, a story of misunderstandings and male egos, of compassion and giving and negotiation. Well worth the read I promise.
I finally found out why I immediately thought of fanfic when I first bought this. IT IS A FANFIC I ONCE STARTED TO READ, about Harry Styles/ Louis Tomlinson (One Direction). Mmmh, weird.
dnf at 19%. This reminded me of a too long, badly edited fanfic. But while I occasionally love those, this bored me immensely. The conversations and interactions between the MCs seemed so clumsy and unrealistic. And the dull writing style irritated me extremely: telling your reader about everything beforehand, instead of showing character traits etc. through dialogue and interaction is just lazy. Not for me :(
DNF at 16%, so no rating.
My love and lust after Harry Styles is very known among my family and friends (not his music, him. Physically) till the point that my 7 years old girl even calls him “mama’s boyfriend” (to my husband’s dismay) so when a friend of mine told me about this book coming from a fanfic about Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson I jumped in. Not only jumped in, I dragged my friend Rosalinda with me (who also dies for her lust after this cutie) to read about this very shipped couple.
And maybe that’s one of the reasons of my disappointment: I didn’t see them anywhere... at first I didn’t even know who was who.
I found the conversations flat and weird and I didn’t feel or empathize with the characters. But hey, don’t let my disappointment get to you because I know a lot of people who loved the book. I’m not one of those, no, but maybe you are. I may have loved it years ago... I don’t know. Not the right time for me and the lack of depth in here. Also Ben’s thoughts loose track so easily I was constantly forgetting what they were talking about, I just knew it wasn’t something important. It never was (in my 16% at least)
Maybe I’ll read the fanfic version that created this because I still want some Larry Stylinson (is this how fandom call them, right?) in my life. Gimme that please!
Reviews for Book Lovers
This book is long. It has grammatical errors. It's written in first person present tense which I hate. Much of the conflict stems from lack of communication and misunderstandings. And yet I loved it! The characters in this, Ben and Henry were really what made the story for me. I enjoyed the humor and inner dialog of the MC and I loved the author's voice. I see so much potential here.