Monday, August 3, 2015

Book of the Week: Sutphin Boulevard by Santino Hassell #Review

Michael Rodriguez and Nunzio Medici have been friends for two decades. From escaping their dysfunctional families in the working-class neighborhood of South Jamaica, Queens to teaching in one of the city’s most queer friendly schools in Brooklyn, the two men have shared everything. Or so they thought until a sweltering night of dancing leads to an unexpected encounter that forever changes their friendship.

Now, casual touches and lingering looks are packed with sexual tension, and Michael can’t forget the feel of his best friend’s hands on him. Once problems rear up at work and home, Michael finds himself seeking constant escape in the effortless intimacy and mind-blowing sex he has with Nunzio. But things don’t stay easy for long.

When Michael’s world begins to crumble in a sea of tragedy and complications, he knows he has to make a choice: find solace in a path of self-destruction or accept the love of the man who has been by his side for twenty years.


 Review

This isn’t your typical friends to lovers type of story. Like the city it takes place in, it’s gritty, rough, and unforgiving. Set in Michael Rodriguez’s point of view we get a very detailed view of his mind… and all the shattered pieces that linger there. This is a man who is carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders and he really shouldn’t. Mentally he can’t handle it, physically it’s killing him. His family is a mess, his job is drama filled, and his best friend Nunzio is the only anchor he has… and he’s losing that too.
I was born in Flushing Queens NY. Queens is a borough I know well. I love that Santino is a New Yorker and was spot on with his geography. Nothing worse than reading poor researched books. It’s the little things, you know?
This story is a tear you apart, chew you up, spit you out kind of story. There’s great pain and great triumph. There’s hate and there’s love. No matter what you get you get it epically.
Sutphin Boulevard is not a fairytale, it’s reality. I loved that most about it. There wasn’t that, okay I forgive you let’s hug it out crap. It was no, it’s not okay, work out your shit! That was fantastic!
Santino Hassell’s writing is stunning, his descriptions are beautiful, and he writes the human condition like poetry. This is a book you want to own!

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