The Telling (The Telling, #1)

The Telling (The Telling, #1) - Eden Winters Michel Ritter comes home to Cookesville, Alabama after four years of war in Iraq. Having left home an eager, fun-loving kid, he's a man now, one who carries a baggage full of dreadful memories and guilt. Although most of his battle wounds are on the inside, they make him struggle hard to find his way back into life. It doesn't help that he discovered, while being a soldier of all things, that he's gay - a fact no one knows at home. Jay Ortiz is an engeneering student, far away from home in a dull backwater town. He's got a lot of friends, but at the same time he's so lonely he falls in love with the picture of a young soldier. When he's to meet that young soldier in the flesh, he dreads him to be an asshole or worst of all, straight...I liked that book. Liked it a lot, in fact. It was heartwarming to watch Michael and Jay coming to terms with themselves and with another. There's a bit of sex, but most of it is actually necessary for the process of the story, and some of the scenes were really enthralling. Never too graphic, although sometimes too meticulously detailed for my liking (although others may feel different; I think that's mostly a matter of taste. No major issues here). The characters were finely done and very believable, and the war scenarios the reader is shown through flashbacks of Michael's memory are so real and cruel I almost felt the fire blast and the bullets whistle by. And there were some of the most likeable secondary cast I ever met, especially the women, each a person in their own rights and with their own page time. But, and there's always a but, I still had some issues about this book. The Telling feels like a first book. There's a lot of explaining going on, and a lot of storytelling instead of showing, some of it even repetitive. I found myself skipping pages at time instead of reading yet another musing of Michael's about how his mother or grandparents would react if he came out to them especially when it was already made clear before that his family was more at ease with his sexuality than Michael was himself. Or Jay, reacting like a sullen kid to a slight misgiving in Michael's word choice instead of just cutting him some slack when it was told before Jay understood Michael's issues, having a cousin who'd come back from war, too. (->>This on was fixed...Another main issue I had was with the editing, because there are many lapses in grammar, particularly towards the end, which always threw me out of the flow of the story.) But overall, The Telling is a very gripping story. Except for the formal errors, the writing is excellent. I recommend it to everyone who wants to read a satisfying, heartwarming story about finding love and making it work.***edit***The author generously mailed me a "cleaned" copy of her book. As I read it again, without the misspellings and formal mistakes, I couldn't help entirely loving it. Five stars, 'nuff said.*****