I'm Your Manby Timothy James Beck Published 01 Dec 2004
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Beck revisits territory familiar from his debut novel, He's the One (2003), a romantic comedy in which his protagonist, Daniel, a sometimes drag queen, gardens by moonlight in the hope of attracting the attentions of handsome neighbor Blaine. Now in the aftermath of their romance, ex-lover Daniel (who's very out) is busy acting straight in the soap opera Secret Splendor, while Beck presents the Manhattan milieu from the point of view of closeted ad executive Blaine, who's adjusting to the breakup while working on a key cosmetics account with signature model Sheila, his ex's best friend. While he's preparing to head up his client's new in-house agency, Sheila's trying to make time in her photo shoot-filled schedule to get married, and in the middle of all these major transitions, Blaine decides to father a child with his best pal and learns that gay fatherhood is a man-magnet.
"I'm Your Man" Reviews
Even if this book is out of stock, I highly recommend to everyone who enjoyed the previous books in this “Manhattan” gay series to read I’m Your Man. I read it after reading what could be considering a sequel, When You Don’t See Me, the story of Nick, Blaine’s nephew that right in this book comes to live with his uncle Blaine, but that is in the final chapters and so, if you don’t read it in order, you have some spoilers (exactly as I did now, but that is a minor one).
Basically I’m Your Man is the obvious sequel of It Had To Be You, the book where Daniel and Blaine meet and fall in love. It’s a good book, a nice and comfortable romance, with a right dose of sex, but not overwhelming; like all the books in this series, it’s more important the net of friendships that develops like a flood, overwhelming everyone who falls under it. They are all living between Eau Claire, small town, and Manhattan, big city, but apparently there is no difference, sometime Manhattan is as small, and butchering, and gossiping, like Eau Claire, if not much.
One of the most interesting things, at the same harder to remember if you don’t read the book one after the other, but also comforting, like you are meeting with old friends, is that everyone seems to be the boyfriend/girlfriend, or former boyfriend/girlfriend, of someone else. When I’m Your Man starts, Blaine is living the aftershock of his breakup with Daniel: they fought over some stupid argument, and maybe helped by the stress of both jobs, but also by the stress coming from being in that stage of life when you have to stop be boyfriends and you have to become partner, they didn’t manage to overcome it. Blaine wonders from friend to friend, and sometime this lead him to have sex with some of them: I think Blaine is searching comfort, and family, something he wanted with Daniel. One of these men is Ethan, former boyfriend of Martin, best friend of Daniel; one of Blaine’s best friend is Adam, partner of Jeremy, ex-boyfriend of Daniel; Blaine accepts to be the sperm donor for Gretchen, who will start a relationship with Gwendy, Daniel’s sister… see? Everyone and everything link Blaine to Daniel, and so, even if they are not together, I really didn’t feel the sadness of the breakup, it’s not like the authors spoiled the happily ever after of It Had To Be You, this was only the obvious sequel, and the development of Blaine’s character. Even if he was Daniel’s partner in It Had To Be You, that book was all about Daniel, and Blaine needed his space and story.
I really like this series, since the characters felt real, even if they are soap opera actors, guru of the advertisement, or super top models… their lives are not all glittering, and they have the ordinary trouble that falling in love gives. They love and fight, they make peace and mistake again, and every time it’s not like in a “romance”, but like it could happen to you; only that for them, maybe there is a paparazzi ready to shoot them and plastering they face on the media.
A little warning, I read When You Don’t See Me before this one, and it did spoil me a bit the final; plus that book was good but sad. Between this and that story there are years, not only in the storyline, but also in the release dates of the book. I think the authors changed, in many ways: as writers but also as men and women. So you have the idea to read all these books, read them in order.
Okay, before I begin, I'd like to point you towards my reviews of 'It Had to Be You,' and 'He's the One,' and to say, simply, "Go; Buy; Enjoy." It's not that you'd be totally lost reading these out of order (I came at the series ass-backwards with the ass book first, so to speak), but I would have to say that the third book won't have the same gut-punching beginning if you've not read the other two.
Namely, the position of Blaine and Daniel as ex-boyfriends.
It's not just that I've become something of a romantic since I actually manage to land one of those ephemeral 1% of sane gay men to date (no really, they exist!) - I read the other two when I was hip deep in single status, and they were quite an uplifting read. They had candy content, don't get me wrong (I mean, hello, everyone is described deliciously), but there were a few scenes that made me stop and think, which one doesn't often expect in fun reading. Most specifically, the "two saddest words" component of one of the tales ground me to a halt, until I finally found my own personal answer, and it has become a standard question I ask of people by the by.
Geez - am I still talking about the other two books? Right. On topic.
"I'm Your Man," starts with Blaine being single, Daniel being his ex, and the reader absolutely stunned that Timothy James Beck could be so heartless as to make us suffer through the notion of these two without each other. Sadists. But, like any good romantic, that horrible shred of hope kept me going past those awful first pages (they-broke-up/they-broke-up/they-broke-up hammering in my head all the while) and I found - as usual - that Timothy James Beck delivered a solid bit of work.
Blaine and his best pal Gretchen (also single, though in her case more repetitively and steadfastly so) decide that little swimmy Blaines and little ovulating Gretchens might be a nifty way to have child. The fallout in Blaine's life is a joy to read, as Blaine navigates a lot of what family is supposed to mean (and often doesn't). Blaine's a character you can slip into fairly well - his mental processes, though sometimes leaving you fit to smack his mythical head around for a few hours, make sense internally, and you can see why he is the way he is. It's also refreshing to read a gay character who isn't all that stereotypically gay conscious - the poor guy hasn't got a clue how to handle transgendered issues, has more than a little bit to learn about fashion, and can be more than a little bit ignorant. Even my usual slight friction with the perfectly sculpted super-hot muscle stud image didn't seem to rub the wrong way in this novel, which says a bit about how well he was written. Blaine goes to the gym a lot, so it's not like a novel where the hero fella suddenly has gym payoff when we've been with him every hour of almost every day and he's never even seen the inside of the gym.
The long and the short of it (and more long than short, I admit, as I fear I'm gushing at this point), Timothy James Beck gave me what I really wanted most: characters. Daniel is still Daniel - but an evolving Daniel. Ditto Blaine, and Adam, and Shiela, and all the other host of characters that make up the Beck world.
Personally, I'm ready for book four. I might even manage to read that one in more than a single day, to draw it out a little bit...