Title ~ Chasing the Rainbow
Author ~ Kade Boehme
Published ~ 15th May 2015
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
Bobby Gugino realized he may have met the man of his dreams in Jody Olsen, only neither of them were gay, so far as Bobby knew. But when Jody came out and ended his marriage, Bobby's entire worldview was skewed, and his own health issues lead to his own coming out. Fast forward four years and Bobby runs into Jody again, but Bobby may be too busy making up for lost time to see how great they are together.
Jody Olsen's got guilt and mommy issues, but his coming out was smooth and his life had settled into a mundane pattern of kissing frogs while waiting for prince charming and helping run his mother's book store in New York's East Village. When Bobby comes bumbling back into his life with a surprising shared passion for the written word and an endearing love for sugary Frappuccinos, Jody can't help but be quickly swept up by the man.
The struggle to be patient with Bobby and his being unsure about being committed to someone is not an easy one. Does Jody hope for his happy ever after with Bobby, or is the lure of chasing the rainbow too much to fight against?
Includes a fresh-faced divorcee with his nose in romance novels and his heart in the clouds, a thirty-something fresh out of the closet, chasing a missed youth and trying to find his place in the big gay world he'd missed out on... and a little dirty suit sex.
I must be honest: I am a dedicated Kade Boehme fan. I’ve read pretty much everything he’s published in e-book format and, even when the topic didn’t particularly intrigue me, still managed to get blown away by the raw, visceral and overwhelming talent of this author.
Chasing the Rainbow is not Mr. Boehme’s best book. In fact, little happens in the book. The plot is so simple, it’s barely there: man decides he’s gay after dating a woman for 12 years, meets another man who just divorced his wife for the same reason, and they fall in love. That’s it. It’s sort of the ultimate Gay Romance reductionism.
And still, I couldn’t tear myself away from the page. I read it, pretty much, in a single sitting. That’s predominantly due to the amazingly vivid and unique characters Mr. Boehme always seems to pull out of thin air. There’s just something so real about the two men, something so authentic, something so simple, that they became astonishingly real to me, as though I was living through a saga with a dear friend, disappointed when things didn’t go well, a big smile on my face when they did.
Jody is (apparently) the manager of one of New York’s top bookstores. Despite the predicted imminent death of the bricks-and-mortar model, the store he works in is still very successful, and it always attracts the top authors for meet-and-greets. Jody, at first, comes off as a bookworm, a bit of a nerd, a shy and retiring young man of 24-or-so who, while not a virgin by any stretch, is also not even close to being a club slut. He hungers for a relationship, for a meaningful connection, not a one-night stand. As it turns out, his ex-wife is Lesbian and their marriage was a case of friends settling down together, not a passionate commitment to forever. At some point, Jody realizes he is not bi, but really, full-out, full-time gay. Which meant that It was time for the two to separate and pursue their own identities and destinies.
Bobby is a different case, entirely. Though Jody is gorgeous, has a really nice body and a stellar butt, Bobby is the real deal – a hot Brooklyn Italian stud, with the muscles, attitude and smile to go with it. Surprisingly, they have much more in common than you might expect. Bobby, though a Guido from head to toe, is also the first in his family to graduate from college and spends all the time he can spare from the family contracting business buried in a book. They’re both into books. They also both discovered, fairly late in life (Bobby is 36) that they’d been wrong about themselves. Neither one was ever bi. They’re both gay. Jody has always been ridiculously attracted to the sexy man with the smirk, but thought: girlfriend, long-time, straight. Until one day when Jody’s ex-wife asks Bobby to give him a ride to the nearest subway station. The whole world changes for both of them in that brief, fateful, moment.
Bobby starts showing up, every day, for lunch at the café in the book store that Jody manages. More often than not, Jody schedules his own lunch hour around Bobby’s visits. One day this hot, classy mama pretty much pushes Jody out of his seat next to Bobby and insists that Bobby come to her upscale apartment to give her an estimate on a kitchen remodel.
Bobby knows this woman is involved with the bookstore in some capacity, but she’s obviously got serious money, as witness her impeccable dress and Jimmy Choo footwear. He shows up at her apartment and, as he suspected, she starts putting the moves on him, very aggressively and very blatantly, when who appears? Jody, of course, asking her what the hell she thinks she’s doing. Bobby runs from the scene of the almost-crime with Jody trailing right after him, both embarrassed by the incredibly awkward situation. The rich woman is Jody’s mother, of all things! She’s also a serial slut and serial wife. She inherited a lot of money when Jody’s father, her first husband, died, as did Jody. It takes a while for Bobby to find out that Jody doesn’t work for the book store – he and his mother own it. That and a lot of other property. And a trust fund. And Jody’s apartment. Brooklyn, working-class Guido meet Jody, the hot blond rich boy with the perfect ass.
Well, the course of true love never did run smooth and Kade Boehme has no intention of breaking that tradition. Bobby still thinks he needs to be a slut, to explore the gay sexuality he’d ignored for 34 years. Jody fears he’s being an easy, needy mark, hooking up with one more frog, hoping he’ll turn into a prince.
That’s where Mr. Boehme’s writing really shines. The bulk of the book consists of a series of dates, hot sex, shared events and Jody learning how to manage the confident Bobby’s underlying insecurities and uncertainties. Bobby works hard at being what Jody needs, although he doesn’t always succeed. Jody keeps wondering whether Bobby is worth all the effort until the next time he’s devastated by that beautiful smile and their passionate lovemaking.
It takes a while, but the reader gets the undeniable pleasure of watching the two men grow together. There are some exquisite moments, when Bobby finds his heart skipping a beat when Jody’s face beams with happiness, and when Jody feels the real sincerity and commitment coming off of Bobby in waves that require no words.
Essentially, Chasing the Rainbow is a character study, a glimpse inside the souls and behind the eyes of two men who become who they need to be in order to be together – until they can’t even imagine being apart for even a moment.
While this book doesn’t have the power and conflict of Mr. Boehme’s Don’t Trust the Cut or the powerful ups-and-downs of the Keep Swimming series, it deals with the same themes that of all of Kade Boehme’s books do – the families we create, the people who become home for us. You’ll read of Bobby’s problems with the traditional, stubborn, Italian mother he loves, but he cannot give up his life for her approval. You’ll meet Bobby’s brother, Carlo, who, despite some funny, snarky badinage (as only brothers can get away with), always has his back. And then there’s Jody’s mother who, although a royal pain in the butt, truly wants for Jody whatever will make him happy. Love comes in strange packages, relationships and totally unexpectedly, which is what makes it so special and beautiful. Kade Boehme is the master of writing family, and Chasing the Rainbow is Kade Boehme stripping it down to its barest essentials, without artifice or a single false word.
I did start out by stating that Chasing the Rainbow is not Kade Boehme’s best book. No matter, Mr. Boehme’s writing, even when not at the peak of his considerable talent, is still infinitely better than the vast bulk of contemporary gay fiction authors.
So, I recommend this book without reservation. It’s not an earth shaker, but not all good books have to rock your world. Sometimes, it’s just enough to share the beauty and poignancy of those ordinary moments that amass and grow into something downright beautiful.
In his bio, Mr. Boehme claims to be a cynic. Don’t believe him. He’s a pure, unabashed, unapologetic romantic writing wonderful, sensitive, insightful and evocative books.