It has been ages since I gave a day completely to a book and there wasn’t a sun lounger involved but I willingly donated my Bank Holiday Monday to Justin Myers and his brilliant debut novel, The Last Romeo.
This book is for anyone, gay, straight or inbetween, who have set sail on the stormy seas of internet dating and come adrift more than once.
The story centres on James, a writer in a dead end job who spends his days wading through endless celebrity gossip of people even he barely knows and nights treading on eggshells to his horrible boyfriend, Adam. When the toxic relationship ends after six years, he is let loose onto the world of dating. Pretty soon he realises he can get a blog out of this as an anonymous dater but once he starts he finds these things have a habit of taking on a life of their own.
Myers writes with brilliant pace and wit. There were so many moments that I laughed and others where I cringed because I had done this, said this or thought this. We like to think we are all so individual but really we’re all going along doing the same things.
This book should really be put into a time capsule, it perfectly personifies the world of dating in the 21st Century where we only connect through wi-fi and if someone offers to buy us a drink, we are instantly on our guard. Imagine if we read this even twenty years ago, it would seem like some dystopian future world. Unfortunately, and I’m talking through bitter experience, this remoteness seems to allow people to be freer which is not always a good thing. It’s encouraging to know that the characters of this book have had just as many, if not more, bad dates than I have and Myers writes with such a refreshing honesty that you can’t help but turn the page to see what situation James will find himself in.
James is a flawed hero which is nice as that’s what we all are at the end of the day. He does things that make you wince and which you like to think you wouldn’t, but in reality you probably would. I have a long haul flight coming up and I could kick myself for not saving this book because I can imagine the whole flight would have disappeared as I was caught up in this story.
It’s great that books like this and The Madonna of Bolton are making their way into the mainstream, showing that gay problems are the same as anyone else’s, it doesn’t have to be deep or full of metaphor, it can just be worrying that we’ll trump in our sleep when sleeping with a new beau.
This is a definite must read from me, it’s so funny and entertaining and might make you look at your own life a little differently and reassess your rules of dating.