Friday, September 26, 2014

The Accidental Marriage: An unconventional romance

I had the pleasure of being asked to read The Accidental Marriage by Roger B. Thomas. I didn't know what to expect, I certainly wasn't expecting what I got. On the surface, it's the story of a gay man and a lesbian woman who find themselves in a situation which can only be resolved by getting married. Beyond that surface, though, it's the story of two broken people who become friends and find that this friendship leads them to true love - love that is willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of the beloved without an expectation of gain or physical pleasure resulting from it.

To be honest, I wouldn't have read the book if I hadn't been asked to. It's not my usual fare. I have long ago put down romance novels because I find most of them to be empty of the truth of what love is.  However, the book defied my expectations. It pulled me in and kept me reading from start to finish. This wasn't a book I had to force myself to read. It was a book I genuinely enjoyed reading.

The book is told from Scott's perspective entirely. We don't get to see things from Megan's point of view, something I would love to see in a future book.  However, we do get to see Scott working hard to be first and foremost a good friend, which leads him to trying to be a good husband, and then a good father. However, the author isn't afraid to shy away from the fact that this goodness doesn't come easily.  It requires very real sacrifices, and Scott's not always happy to have made those. He's not always eager to embrace the changes. Sometimes, like all of us, he wishes things were different - and sometimes that wishing leads him to making mistakes.

I am not a gay woman nor have I ever been with a gay man. I don't know the lifestyle, so I don't know if Mr. Thomas's descriptions are accurate, but I suspect that they are from non-fiction material I have read.  I can say that, for the most part, Scott and Megan felt real and their reactions felt real. I had a few moments when I wondered at the reality of it, but those moments were brief.

I didn't like how it ended, but only because it left me asking so many questions. He did a great job of setting himself up for a sequel should he desire to write one. I would definitely be eager to read it if one did come out.  Thank you, Mr. Thomas, for writing this book. I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who won't like it not because the story isn't readable, but because the story doesn't take them to easy or comfortable places.  It challenges assumptions about the nature of love, romance, and what it means to be gay - and that's a good thing.

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