Valentine Shower

John C. Houser
Valentine Shower
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Publisher
Dreamspinner
Release Date
February 2014
Genre
LGBTQ

SUMMARY
For Reuben, numbers are everything people are not: rational, predictable, and soothing. Outside of this family, his boss Terry is the one person he feels connected with. In the years they've worked together, listening to Terry's jokes and stories over coffee has become a reliable part of his routine. But he's missed having family nearby since his parents retired to Florida, and figures he'll need a woman to correct the problem.

He's hurt and confused when Terry not only refuses to help, but announces he won't be coming around much anymore. It's up to Reuben's no-nonsense sister Yaffa and his therapist, Dr. Greenberg, to help him understand Terry's feelings—and his own.

A part of the "A Valentine Rainbow" set of 14 holiday stories.

Book Review by Pat Henshaw (author,reviewer)
Mar 04, 2014   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
114 people found the following review helpful
How does an exceptionally bright but socially inept man find romance? Very, very carefully, according to John C. Houser.

Ruben loves numbers because they're safe and reliable, unlike people, except for his boss Terry, who aren't. Terry, whose business relies on Ruben, enjoys being with his totally obtuse employee. Between them, life is good--until Ruben decides what he needs in his life is a wife.

But in order to get a wife, Ruben realizes he needs to get a date and asks Terry for help. Terry, however, isn't quite as enthusiastic as Ruben about this whole dating thing. In fact, Terry refuses to help, so Ruben calls on his sister Yaffa and his therapist for advice.

As anyone can imagine, chaos ensues. Ruben tries, but since he has no clue what he's looking for nor can he read the hints and signs Terry leaves that he wants a relationship with Ruben, Ruben manages to drive Terry, his sister, and the patient analyst to the brink.

The author almost manages to create a French farce out of Ruben's search for a mate, including pratfalls and insanely incompetent moments on Ruben's part. Some antics are worthy of belly laughs while some are real groaners. But nevertheless, readers will sympathize with brilliant but hapless Ruben, and the drubbing he takes from those near and occasionally dear to him.

While Ruben isn't part of most of our experience, his down-to-earth sister, doting Terry, and Ruben's long-suffering analyst are people we can empathize with. They all recognize that Ruben isn't brusque and aloof because he's trying to shut people out, but because he doesn't know what to do with ordinary social contact like making small talk or flattering others. Ruben is the flat-footed stomp in life's ballet, something not everyone can forgive.

Fortunately, Ruben finally gets a clue, even though he isn't sure what to do with it. Readers may find the ending just a little harsh on poor Ruben, who ends on a clownish note, even though it's somewhat in keeping with the slapstick quality of the whole.
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