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GAY WRITES REVIEW: Her Two Dads by Ariel Tachna

This review is part of our Gay Writes celebration. Don’t forget to comment on the original post for a chance to win one of those prizes as well as commenting on this post for a chance to win a copy of this book.

“Srikkanth Bhattacharya is a quintessential gay bachelor and perfectly happy about it-’until he gets a call from the local hospital telling him his best friend died in childbirth. Sri had agreed to provide the sperm to make Jill’s dream of motherhood come true, but he’d never expected to have to make decisions for a baby girl. He intends to place her with an adoptive family, but once he sees her, Sri can't bring himself to do it, so now he's struggling to learn how to deal with a newborn.

His housemate and friend, Jaime Frias, volunteers to help, never guessing he'll fall in love with both the baby and Sri. Everything seems perfect until a visit from Social Services sends Sri into a tailspin, feeling like he has to choose between his daughter and a relationship with the man he's coming to love.”

Dear Ms. Tachna,

I will admit that the fact that one of the protagonists is of Indian heritage is what got me interested in this book. From other things I’ve read and seen, I’ve gotten the impression that GLBT orientation isn’t widely accepted in India and I was curious as to how you would deal with this. I’d also tried a historical book you co-authored which hadn’t worked for me and though perhaps a contemporary might do better.

I think the shock Sri experiences upon learning of Jill’s death and his new responsibilities is done well. Ditto the part involving the social worker at the hospital and the nursing staff helping to train Sri once he’s met his little princess and fallen for her. Good job in adding sections to the book which show life with baby when it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Sri has moments of sheer terror which I’ve heard are common for most first time parents when the instruction manuals just aren’t enough to cope with the curves a baby will throw at you.

I love the scenes of Sri bonding with Sophie – telling her all about how he met her mother, of the great friendship they had and the plans Jill would have had for her daughter. It balances how Sri’s other room mate Nathaniel got irritated when his life got upended by a colicky baby screaming while he was trying to study.

Some sections of the story devolve into stereo instructions such as when Jaime and Sri first hit Babies R Us. I felt as if I were in an infomercial touting the wonders of the store crossed with a documentary instructing first time parents how to prepare for bringing baby home. There are just some things which could be mentioned but not explained in such detail or perhaps merely lightly touched on like all the effort that went into decorating Sophie’s bedroom.

Jaime is the perfect mother. No, I mean that. He knows everything about babies, doesn’t mind the nasty work, is calm, competent, willing to shoulder the colic load and rearrange his work schedule so Sophie doesn’t have to go to daycare. He’s a keeper even if it’s a bit hard to believe he’s so good.

There are a lot of scenes of Sri or Jaime coyly thinking the other isn’t interested in him. I almost felt like I was back in high school and these two should be passing “do you like me? check yes or no” notes. But though it takes a while to get to the sex, once it does these boys know how to pleasure each other. I like that they hold off on making love until it is just that for them: a celebration of their feelings for each other.

You mix a world that is seeming fairly gay friendly with some incidents that did leaven the fluffy bunny feeling I was getting. Points for making your point in a way that has been used against GLBT couples in real life. The call to social services would be terrifying and, as Sri thought, humiliating to have a cop going through your house. Yet as the social worker says, they have to respond to these calls. Still the thought that some yob with an agenda could vicariously invade your world would shake mine. Sri has a point that he can’t suddenly stop worrying about this even if his head tells him he can. Good for Jaime that he sticks to his guns about Sri working to overcome the fear and thus live a normal life for them and for Sophie.

I was wondering when Sri was finally going to tell his parents about Sophie. Were I them, I would also be pissed that they’d had a granddaughter for eight months without knowing anything about her. Then he also unloads all his news at once and tells them he’s Gay and getting married. Way to break things gently, Sri.

You use two cultures which, from my understanding, aren’t as Gay friendly to be the background for Jaime and Sri. Both are afraid that their lifestyle isn’t/won’t be accepted. Jaime tells Sri that he’s felt uncomfortable around his family since he came out and Sri still hasn’t told his parents. So I kind of expected some more fireworks when their families did get involved in the men’s life.

Usually I don’t care for epilogues but this one is a charmer. As I read what Sophie says to her teacher, I couldn’t help but think of the young daughter of a friend of mine. The things her mother says come out of her daughter’s mouth are hilarious as well as extremely mature. I can’t wait until this girl goes to school and my friend hears back from the teachers what her daughter says to them. Though I didn’t get the more in-depth exploration of how the men’s lifestyle will impact their relationships with their respective families, I did like the book and can see both Sri and Jaime being loving fathers and partners in life. B-

~Jayne

Amazon Buy Link

We have one DIGITAL copy (no geographic restrictions) of this book to give away. Comment by Friday, 6am EST to win! (One win per person for our Gay Writes giveaways, but feel free to comment on all posts to increase your chances of winning!)

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

26 Comments

  1. Merrian
    Oct 14, 2010 @ 04:12:49

    Don’t put me into the draw for this I already have it. I share the thoughts you outline in the review about the info dumps, the fluffy bunny feeling yet also a very real sense of the cultural backgrounds and issues that shape this relationship and the story. The only thing that really struck me was that I don’t think Sri went to Jill’s funeral. I know he would have been head down with the baby but the author’s attempt to show the distance between Jill and Sri over the responsibility for Sophie I think left their friendship as something talked about not shown. It just jarred me that a basic respect wasn’t shown. The things that stick in your mind after a story is over can be quite funny.

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  2. Jayne
    Oct 14, 2010 @ 04:24:26

    @Merrian: Now that you mention it, it is odd that he didn’t put in an appearance or do something about it. Especially since he took – and I assume will take – the time to tell Sophie about her mother.

    I agree with you that the strangest – and sometimes littlest – things will stick in my mind and sometimes end up either making or breaking a book for me.

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  3. Kaetrin
    Oct 14, 2010 @ 05:01:13

    Sounds great – please count me in for the giveaway.

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  4. Jambrea
    Oct 14, 2010 @ 06:08:09

    I love this cover and it always catches my eye!

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  5. DS
    Oct 14, 2010 @ 07:16:31

    NPR did a story on Indian parents coming to terms with their adult gay children. I can’t remember which show it was on so I’ll try to find it. It dealt with the positive side.

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  6. DS
    Oct 14, 2010 @ 07:22:51

  7. Tweets that mention GAY WRITES REVIEW: Her Two Dads by Ariel Tachna | Dear Author -- Topsy.com
    Oct 14, 2010 @ 07:54:47

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sarah Frantz, dearauthor. dearauthor said: NewPost: GAY WRITES REVIEW: Her Two Dads by Ariel Tachna http://bit.ly/9t5HB1 [...]

  8. jayhjay
    Oct 14, 2010 @ 08:13:40

    Oh, this one sounds good. I don’t read many stories with kids, but I’d love to try it.

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  9. Jaye
    Oct 14, 2010 @ 08:22:43

    I wish I knew how to pronounce the dude’s name. It’s frustrating when I can’t pronounce a character’s name and every time it comes up it takes me out of the story for a second or two.
    That cover is sooo sweet (awww).

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  10. Ell
    Oct 14, 2010 @ 08:49:49

    Agreed–sweeet cover.

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  11. Kirsten
    Oct 14, 2010 @ 09:13:32

    From your review: “Some sections of the story devolve into stereo instructions such as when Jaime and Sri first hit Babies R Us. I felt as if I were in an infomercial touting the wonders of the store crossed with a documentary instructing first time parents how to prepare for bringing baby home. There are just some things which could be mentioned but not explained in such detail or perhaps merely lightly touched on like all the effort that went into decorating Sophie's bedroom.”

    I stopped reading at this point because I kept thinking, wouldn’t she have already outfitted the baby’s nursery before she died? She had no family and Sri was her closest friend. She’d obviously made arrangements should anything go wrong; why not leave him the baby’s things as well as the baby??? The shopping spree seemed so contrived.

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  12. Christina M.
    Oct 14, 2010 @ 09:19:23

    Though I normally do go for the typical baby enters the picture and insta love follows, this story actually sounds very interesting and I would like to read it.

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  13. Jayne
    Oct 14, 2010 @ 09:40:55

    @Jaye: I mentally pronounced his first name as “Shree.” Don’t know if that’s totally correct though. Perhaps someone could jump in correct me.

    I remember reading one book set in Roman Britain where the author cleverly worked in a pronunciation lesson early in the story. I loved her for that.

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  14. Jayne
    Oct 14, 2010 @ 09:44:41

    @Kirsten: I thought the same thing! Where’s all the stuff Jill would have brought?! Why waste money doing this? But then maybe he didn’t have access to her apartment or a way to prove who he was? When my father died, we had to haul in a copy of his will before the apartment manager would even let us in.

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  15. Jayne
    Oct 14, 2010 @ 09:50:06

    @DS: Yeah! That is positive and thanks for the link.

    ReplyReply

  16. Shelley
    Oct 14, 2010 @ 11:32:04

    Sweet cover.

    ReplyReply

  17. anni
    Oct 14, 2010 @ 12:12:48

    @DS: I’m wondering if that link will help with one of my class assignments, so thank you!

    I usually don’t read m/m romances but the cover looked intriguing and made me want to read the review. Now, the fact that one of the h’s is Indian has me itching to see how the author handles the coming out to the parents thing!

    lol, I remember having to explain to my very hindu-conservative mom what it actually means to be gay. It was the sex talk in reverse, with me spending an hour explaing that being gay doesn’t mean there is something wrong with the male’s uhh… anatomy? Hopefully, I can read this at my local library; do not need to explain to my mom the process of having two dads ;-)

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  18. Moth
    Oct 14, 2010 @ 13:38:18

    This sounds really sweet. Put my name in the hat for the drawing please. :)

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  19. Sirius11214
    Oct 14, 2010 @ 14:22:49

    Oh I would love to win this one.

    ReplyReply

  20. cories5
    Oct 14, 2010 @ 14:53:05

    Great review! Now I want to read it.

    ReplyReply

  21. Marie
    Oct 14, 2010 @ 16:17:09

    Sounds sweet – put my name in the hat too. :)

    ReplyReply

  22. Nialla
    Oct 14, 2010 @ 20:31:32

    Sounds interesting. Please put my name in the virtual hat.

    ReplyReply

  23. orannia
    Oct 14, 2010 @ 20:36:37

    This story has me intrigued on three fronts – the different (from my own) cultural backgrounds of the two main characters, the romance and sudden fatherhood. I’d love to read it and would be very grateful to be entered into the giveaway draw (but I’ve made a note of the title just in case I don’t win so it can go on my TBR list :) Thank you! And thank you Jayne for the review!

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  24. tisty
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 04:32:58

    @Jayne: “Where's all the stuff Jill would have brought?”

    Some people are very superstitious about that kind of thing. I know my mother never bought anything for her first child until it was delivered. She had money put aside and had told dad what she wanted, and he got it all before she got home. But then she also refused to have a nursery room, feeling it was tempting fate. Apparently her mother was the same.

    Don’t know about me, but i suppose third generation (at least) you would call it a tradition?!

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  25. vickyvak
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 06:24:47

    I wouid love to read this book! It got really interested only by its summary!

    ReplyReply

  26. Joan/SarahF
    Oct 16, 2010 @ 10:39:21

    @orannia is our winner for this giveaway. Congratulations! You'll be getting an email from me.

    ReplyReply

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