Title: Everyday History
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Bree Archer
Publication Date: June 29, 2016
Length: 290 pages
Reviewed by Morningstar
Headstrong Ruben Harper has yet to meet an obstacle he can’t convert to a speed bump. He’s used to getting what he wants from girls, but when he develops a fascination for a man, his wooing skills require an upgrade. After months of persuasion, he scores a dinner date with Henry Normand that morphs into an intense weekend. The unexpected depth of their connection scares Ruben into fleeing.
Shy, cautious Henry, Ruben’s former high school history teacher, suspects he needs a wake-up call, and Ruben appears to be his siren. But when Ruben bolts, Henry is left struggling to find closure. Inspired by his conversations with Ruben, Henry begins to write articles about the memories stored in everyday objects. The articles seduce Ruben with details from their weekend together and trigger feelings too strong to avoid. As Henry’s snowballing fame takes him out of town and further out of touch, Ruben stretches to close the gaps that separate them.
The concept and delivery of this story have stuck with me even two years later so much that I often think about the history of my own things and the love that those things represent. That’s why it’s my flashback book because it’s one that I want people to experience and to love. It’s a book that touches all parts of the reader.
This is not just a story about a young man trying to figure out his sexuality. This isn’t a story about growing up and experiencing life to make sure you are ready for the tough things, the commitment things, the you are my world things. This is a story about a man who sees history in everything we touch, cherish, and have by our side through the everyday life. The picture of you and your best friend on your very first vacation together, the tea kettle that’s been handed down generation after generation in your family, or the hat your mom made you for the cold winter in your favorite color. This story not only shows us that love can persevere through distance and time but that our history is embedded in the very things we live with every day.
Reuben and Henry could not have been more opposite as people and at entirely different points in their lives. Reuben was the cocky, beautiful, popular guy that oozed charisma. But through the course of an internship, something changed. A change that made him unsure, naive, and enraptured with his teacher. Henry is smart like I will make you love history without even knowing smart. On the surface, he is exactly what you expect a history professor to be. Shy wears glasses, tweed vest, ironed shirts…typical. Henry is anything but typical and lives with a secret of his past that holds him back in life and love. A past that literally sends him into a panic at the mention of it. But after one weekend, a year after they met, Reuben brings him to life. This sends Henry on a course that changes his life.
Alice Archer writing style is somewhat poetic but not. It is a unique style that helped make me love these two characters, The Historian and The Explorer, as Alice calls them in her book. You know how when you’re reading, and a quote or paragraph catches you, and you want to highlight it to remind you later of that part? I was so engrossed in this story I couldn’t even THINK to highlight anything but if I did most of the book would’ve been highlighted!
Even though through most of the book Henry and Reuben are not together, the unique way that Alice Archer writes this story with Henry’s articles, Reuben’s reactions to those articles, Henry’s letters to his cousin, Reuben’s experiences in love, and finally Reuben’s fight to get to Henry she makes you feel like they are on this journey together. I will not lie and say this was an easy read because it most certainly was not. It wasn’t the most angsty read I’ve ever read, but it was painful, heartbreaking, and soul hurting kind of read that I love! The ending...that ending is worth EVERYTHING!
This is the kind of book that makes me want to be a reader, makes me addicted to stories, and puts me in awe of authors.
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