Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Suburbilicious by Eric Arvin





Reviewed by Alan Chin
Pubished by Dreamspinner Press

Suburbilicious is the frolicking sequel to Subsurdity, comprised of further vignettes from Jasper Lane. It is not necessary to read Subsurdity to enjoy this sequel, but it is highly recommended to get more background on these madcap characters.

Jasper Lane is a well-trimmed, upper-middleclass neighborhood with a mixture of gay, straight, liberal, conservative, young, and old people, all a bit wacky and all reaching for the brass ring. There is not one central character, but rather everyone seems to play a part with equal billing. The story jumps from house to house, neighbor to neighbor as their stories intertwine, and in some cases collide. Returning characters are Cassie Bloom, the grand dame who likes to throw gay-porn parties and hides a deadly secret from her son, Jason. Melinda, who is now single and dealing with the dating scene. Steve, husband to Sandy, who now owns a gay porn production company while Sandy runs for office in the Gay Porn Wives Club. Rick Cooper, who is now living with Dave, and is jealous of the stud who’s buzzing around David. And Jefferson, a secretive person who’s spying on the neighborhood. Even the dog who goes by the name of Gay Hound makes a cameo.

Like Subsurdity, this is a fast paced, easy read, the kind of carefree read people take to the beach. It is often interesting, often silly and often funny. The story jumps from one character to another every three or four pages, of which there are five main characters to follow.

I was a little disappointed that Patrick, whom I very much liked in the first Jasper Lane book, didn’t make an appearance until the very end of this story. I was also disappointed that the lesbian couple introduced in the first few pages, were not mentioned again until page ninety, and then played a very small role. As for the other characters, they had same impact on me as the first book. I found them slightly one-dimensional but fun. Most of them were somewhat believable, and a few, like Jason, were sympathetic. There were some – like Terrence, the gay man who took his son to summer camp – that were portrayed as far too infantile to be believable or likable.

There were also a couple of plot points introduced in the first book, the murder mystery for instance, that paid off in this sequel.

This is certainly not the kind of character driven, thought provoking book that I normally enjoy. However, it was fast and fun. If you are looking for gay “Literature” then I suggest you keep looking. If you simply want a fun read that will lift your spirits, they I suggest you give Suburbilicious a try.

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