4.5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Joe Cosentino, Literary Fiction, Reviewed by Lisa

Review: An Infatuation by Joe Cosentino

Title: An Infatuation

Author: Joe Cosentino

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 103 Pages

At a Glance: An Infatuation is a sweet and simple tale with a nontraditional happy ending, one that will break your heart and make you smile in spite of it.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: With his ten-year high school reunion approaching, Harold wonders whether Mario will be as muscular, sexy, and tantalizing as he remembers. As a teenager, it was love at first sight for Harold while tutoring football star Mario, until homophobia and bullying drove Mario deep into the closet. Now they’re both married men. Mario, a model, is miserable with his producer wife, while Harold, a teacher, is perfectly content with his businessman husband, Stuart. When the two meet again, will the old flame reignite, setting Harold’s comfortable life ablaze? How can Harold be happy with Stuart when he is still infatuated with his Adonis, his first love, Mario? Harold faces this seemingly impossible situation with inimitable wit, tenderness, and humor as he attempts to reconcile the past and the future.

A Bittersweet Dreams title: It’s an unfortunate truth: love doesn’t always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.

Dividers

Review: Joe Cosentino proves there’s more than one way to a happy ending in An Infatuation, a story of first love and heartbreak delivered in a fresh and funny voice.

Harold High gets the chance of a teenage lifetime when he’s asked to tutor football hunk Mario Ginetti, but before you go about thinking this is yet another nerd/jock high school romance, let me assure you it’s not. Harold’s teaching methods and Mario’s endearing obtuseness add a layer of charm to this already humorous, if not unlikely relationship, and watching the equally unlikely friendship that grows between the two boys was poignant in its inevitable conclusion.

Told in flashbacks, Harold is now a happily married man, whose husband, Stuart, plays along in the telling of this tale, acting as sidekick to both Harold and the reader. The author’s method of delivering Stuart’s choicest lines was an original twist to the narrative, and I couldn’t help but love it because in only a few words, Cosentino brings Stuart to the fore of the plot in spite of his not appearing throughout much of the story, giving readers the opportunity to connect with him and sense not only the devotion he feels for his husband but the security of their marriage as well.

Where the author sets up the tragedy of An Infatuation is through Mario. Mario is the stereotype: he’s the loveable dumb jock with the overbearing father, who can’t be gay, who can’t possibly fall for a guy like Harold. He’s the boy who has to date the cheerleader and marry her and have the white picket fence and 2.2 kids in order to comply with the status quo. And it’s through Mario that we see the contrast between what his life becomes—a life of denial—and where Harold has ended up—living a fulfilled life with a wonderful man, even though he’s never forgotten his first love.

The anticipation builds toward Harold and Mario’s reunion, ten years after their high school graduation, and their meeting evolves in a will they/won’t they moment of truth. There is a sadness that plays out in the different paths their lives have taken, one that culminates in the unexpected and bittersweet ending this story’s blurb promises. Joe Cosentino delivers it at just the right moment and in the most touching of ways, proving sometimes there are no second chance at first love. And yes, there were tears, and yes, they were earned through skillful manipulation on the author’s part, making us care for these characters and investing in them and their story.

An Infatuation is a sweet and simple tale with a nontraditional happy ending, one that will break your heart and make you smile in spite of it.






You can buy An Infatuation here:

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