Guest Reviewed by Ami
Title: Overly Dramatic
Author: Rebecca Cohen
Series: Treading the Boards
Heroes: Andy Marshall/Phil Cormack
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 131 Pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: August 19, 2015
Available at: Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Andy Marshall moves to London looking for a fresh start after breaking up with his long-term boyfriend. To stave off boredom from his day job as an accountant and to meet new people, Andy joins a local amateur dramatics society called the Sarky Players based in Greenwich, South London. Despite his best efforts to avoid it, Andy is cast as one of the leads in a truly dreadful play called Whoops, Vicar, There Goes My Trousers, written by a local playwright.
The play might be bad, but the Sarky Players are a friendly bunch. Andy quickly makes new friends and finds himself attracted to Phil Cormack, a local artist helping with the props. But life doesn’t run to a script, so Andy and Phil will have to work hard to improvise their own happy ending.
Review: The blurb for this novella screamed humor, which was why I asked for an ARC copy. It is my first by Rebecca Cohen, and unfortunately, I wasn’t overly impressed by it. For a novella, I found it to be dragging – it took me hours to finish because I kept being distracted with other things (that seemed to be more interesting). I read this with an indifferent manner after I hit about a quarter length, and ended up skimming the last 10-15% or so.
The story is written solely from Andy’s perspective; I didn’t feel like I knew enough of his love interest, Phil. In fact, I found Andy’s other friends, like Naomi or her neighbor, Ussie, to have a stronger presence compared to Phil. The romance felt lackluster at best; frequently ‘interrupted’ by other things, like the play itself, Andy interacting with his family, being set-up on a date by his sister, as well as entertaining his octogenarian neighbor. The romance didn’t feel focused. It was difficult for me to care for the couple because of it.
In addition, the story has a ‘slice-of-life’ style of it – it doesn’t have any ‘overly dramatic’ situations (despite the title), except for one hard slap on a cheek, which was neither done nor happened to either of our heroes. I really don’t have issues with slice-of-life; one of my favorite MM romances last year has this style. However, slice-of-life works better when I’m already familiar with the characters – thus fan fiction seems to be the best offering this – or if the story gives enough length to build the foundation between myself and the characters. Slice-of-life is already mundane by nature and when I’m not interested with the characters, it is hard for me to invest in their humdrum everyday life as well.
Overall Impression: It was ok
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*