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REVIEW: Leftovers by Treva Harte

Dear Ms. Harte:

TH_Leftovers_coverlgA story that looked, from the excerpt, like it was going to be a quick and cute little Thanksgiving reunion story turned out to be a lot deeper and a lot more…experimental than that. And while a deeper treatment of the issues that the characters have in the story probably wouldn’t have hurt, the skipping stones nature of the glimpses into their lives over a full year was interesting and emotional and satisfying.

The story begins with Emerson preparing his house for Thanksgiving with his friends Paul and Liz. Paul and Emerson are an on-again/off-again item where they basically get together once a year at Thanksgiving and eat and fuck and separate. Paul is a rising music star, Emerson is apparently a home-body. But Paul comes to Thanksgiving this year with a plan — a plan to convince Emerson to be with him full-time. And things seem to go well, until Emerson reveals the real reason he’d been pushing Paul away from him all these years.

It being a short story, I’m not going to reveal the reason. It’s not anything devastating to the story, although it’s pretty devastating to Emerson who has to deal with it. Emerson and Paul get their happy ending, but they have to work hard at it. They have to overcome Emerson’s issue and Paul’s own realization of his selfishness. However, in some respects, I think they don’t have to work hard enough. Emerson’s got this problem he’s had his whole life and while it takes a year for him to control it with Paul in his life, it ONLY takes a year for him to control it, and that doesn’t seem like enough time.

The narrative is constructed in snapshot pictures of their relationship through a year from Thanksgiving to Thanksgiving, with some snapshots of previous scenes. Each scene is very well done, emotionally wrenching and fun to read, but I felt the lack of the filler between the scenes, the lack of exactly how they got from scene to scene while dealing with the big issues on a day-to-day basis.

But for a short little holiday story, it was fun and while it was at times frustrating, I liked the almost experimental nature of the narrative. The story is bigger than just the holiday scenes, though, so it’s not solely a holiday feelgood story. And that’s the joy as well as the problem: it was bigger and could easily and happily have been longer than the 70-odd pages it was.

Grade: B

-Joan/Sarah F.

This book can be purchased at Loose ID in ebook format.

This book was provided to the reviewer by either the author or publisher. The reviewer did not pay for this book but received it free. We do not earn an affiliate fee from Loose ID through the book link.

Sarah F. is a literary critic, a college professor, and an avid reader of romance -- and is thrilled that these are no longer mutually exclusive. Her academic specialization is Romantic-era British women novelists, especially Jane Austen, but she is contributing to the exciting re-visioning of academic criticism of popular romance fiction. Sarah is a contributor to the academic blog about romance, Teach Me Tonight, the winner of the 2008-2009 RWA Academic Research Grant, and the founder and President of the International Association of the Study of Popular Romance (IASPR). Sarah mainly reviews BDSM romance and gay male romance and hopes to be able to beat her TBR pile into submission when she has time to think. Sarah teaches at Fayetteville State University, NC.

One Comment

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