Posted at Hearts on Fire Reviews
Jeff Irwin is delicately built, sensitive, and doesn’t care at all for sports. Brett Willson is popular, good-looking, a star football player, and a candidate for Homecoming King. Unfortunately, he failed English twice and if he fails a third time, he will be removed from sports altogether. Brett’s coach coerces Jeff into tutoring Brett so he can pass and in return promises Jeff an “A” in gym. The two young men eventually become close friends and lovers, not so easy while living in a small town in Michigan during the less-enlightened 80’s.
This is not just a story about the relationship between Brett and Jeff. It is also about Jeff’s relationship with his parents, his close friendships with three students who don’t quite “fit in”, and the difficulty he and Brett have with accepting themselves.
Jeff has some self-worth issues and idolizes Brett a lot more than he deserves, but he is no wimp. He’s a truly amazing character with a great deal of strength and courage. During his freshman year in high school, a number of harrowing events occur that would devastate those who are less resilient. Jeff grieves, copes, learns to be independent, and manages to go on with his life. As Jeff gradually becomes a whole person, his relationship with Brett becomes more balanced.
I really enjoyed this sad, sweet, and touching story.