“Light is meaningful only in relation to darkness, and truth presupposes error. It is these mingled opposites which people our life, which make it pungent, intoxicating.” – Aragon, Louis
I’ve read several books by Deanna Wadsworth and enjoyed them all. When I read the blurb to Easy Ryder, I thought what is there not to love? A tattooed biker, a runaway hitch hiking across country, all taking place during America’s birthday in 1976. I was all over it.
Eighteen year old Michael Ryder is leaving his home in Pennsylvania. He’s been beaten by his dad and brother for being gay, and he’s had enough. He’s going to San Francisco, where he believes is the ultimate utopia for gay men, men like him.
I instantly fell in love with Ryder. I love how he was still optimistic despite everything that happened to him at home. He never once felt sorry for himself. Doing things he had to do for a ride left him ashamed and disgusted, but was there really any other way? When he’s dropped off at a gas station looking for another ride, he’s instantly drawn to a dangerous looking biker with a lot of tattoos. The biker is Ryder’s wet dream come to life and he just offered him a ride. He doesn’t know at the time, but this biker is about to rock his world.
Now Snake is the total opposite of Ryder. He’s twenty-five, a Vietnam vet with five tours under his belt. He’s given up on his dreams, he’s come to accept life as it is, no more no less. I wasn’t sure what to think of Snake in the beginning. He was so very quiet and had a lot of mystery about him, I didn’t trust him. He would prove me wrong in the end.
I loved how the author brought these two very different characters together and actually made it work. In any other circumstance, Ryder and Snake would never have met, ever. As I got to know Snake through Ryder’s eyes, I found him to be a troubled soul, with a lot of self doubt, a cynic. Being with Ryder helped Snake see the world differently. I loved seeing the changes in Snake as Ryder got under his skin. I loved seeing him realize that he can be who he is, have a life he once thought himself unworthy. Once the layers were peeled away, I saw Snake as he truly was, a very lonely person who wanted to love and be loved in return.
I usually don’t comment on the sex scenes, but I have to tell you, Deanna Wadsworth can write a sex scene like nobody’s business. I felt the passion between Ryder and Snake. I felt the raw need, the patience Snake had with Ryder really showed me he cared so much. I felt as though I was an intruder reading their love making scene; and yes, I even blushed a bit. And it takes a lot to make me blush.
I loved going back in time and seeing how very different the world was towards gay men. I think the author did a great job in transporting the reader back to that era. The mid-seventies weren’t gay friendly. And a scene in the story brings the fear and the need to hide who they were to the surface.
Overall, this story is heartbreaking with sad circumstances but also of hope, love and finding your forever in the place you least expect it.
A must read for everyone, highly recommended.
Reviewed by: Lynn