Reviewed by JustJen
Title: Far From Happy
Author: Jeni Decker
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Length: 200 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: January 20, 2014
Available at: Dreamspinner Press, Amazon & All Romance eBooks
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: There was no smoking gun. No horrible family secret behind why I left. No reason at all for me, at nineteen, to leave for New York, ready for anything life had to offer—especially if it involved certain proclivities. In the time required to walk to Times Square from the Port Authority Terminal, my naiveté was wiped away. I witnessed a prostitute performing her nightly hustle. In the days to follow, I was mugged twice, ripped off while trying to purchase pot, and beaten to the point of soiling myself. But a chance encounter with a young hustler led to a meeting with Mr. B, mob-connected owner of multiple clubs on Times Square, all under fire from a new mayor embarking on an anti-sleaze campaign directed squarely at The Deuce.
I spent the next twenty years of my life coming of age on the streets, but now, as I speed south across the countryside, heading for my native New Orleans and a dying sister, I make a pact to leave New York in New York, only to find coming home proves harder than coming out.
This is a story about a young man who runs from everything. He runs from his family, runs from himself, and just generally runs every time a situation makes him uncomfortable in any way. He runs to try and find himself but ends up running again before he has time to figure anything out.
Jackson left his family in New Orleans and headed to New York to experience life. He ends up hustling to pay for college, which has put him in many dangerous situations. Not everything is completely detailed or played out, but there is enough to get a sense of some of the things he has gone through. He stays disconnected from everyone, including himself, and it takes quite a while for that to change.
He ends up going home for a family emergency, and the story flips back and forth between his visit home and the time he spent in New York. During this time, Jackson is also writing a manuscript of his experiences. While home, he meets Christopher, a man who seems to have it all together. He is completely comfortable with himself and is confident in who he is, which is the complete opposite of Jackson. Things definitely don’t go very well for these two, though not for a lack of trying by Christopher.
I’m not often a very big fan of flashbacks, but they make this story quite interesting. I ended up getting pulled right into this story of watching Jackson struggle even with so much support from his family and Christopher. I so badly wanted him to find himself and learn to live happy, and I was turning page after page hoping to see it happen. This is definitely not your typical romance, but it is well-written, and the gritty aspects were just as beautifully described as the loving/emotional ones. This was a solid HFN, though I easily imagine Jackson having a few setbacks before he reaches his HEA. I will definitely be looking to read more from Ms. Decker in the future.
Overall Impression: I loved it
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*