Book Review

His Boy – Book Review

His Boy was Dean Cole’s debut novel. This whimsical story is quite different in tone from his recent story, Chasing Ghosts. His Boy tells the story of Charlie, a kept boy, who comes home early one day to discover his boyfriend of 5 years, Richard, in bed with his best friend, Tyler. Charlie snaps and decides that this is the final straw and walks out and takes off in his car not looking back.

He goes as far as a small country town, Staley Village, and his car breaks down. It is at this moment that Charlie realizes he has no plan and no idea where to go next. His whole life was that relationship and he doesn’t know how to do anything. He was in such distress that he left without his wallet, clothes, or money.

Fortunately for him, a local book shop owner sees him standing in the rain next to the broken car and offers him help. Though Charlie appreciates the rescue, he does not know how to show appreciation for it. He begins to use Nathan as a way to enact revenge on his ex-boyfriend. This of course backfires on him.

Despite Charlie using him for vengeance, Nathan still takes him in and agrees to help him. Charlie takes the opportunity to not only get back on his feet but to figure out who he is, beyond being the arm candy of an abusive controlling boyfriend.

One of the things that I loved about this story was its ability to hold to its whimsy and fun narrative while discussing darker issues. As the story unfolds and we get to know Charlie, we come to realize how bad of an abusive relationship he was in. Richard never loved Charlie, but instead loved the idea of having someone he could control and claim ownership over. Richard would try to justify his affair and would blame Charlie for not understanding his reasons and accepting them.

Whenever he shows up trying to win back Charlie, it is never about how much he misses his boyfriend. It is more about how much he misses having someone who is dependent on him. Someone who is there at home waiting for him and fulfilling his personal needs. Resentment towards Charlie increases when Richard sees affection forming between Charlie and Nathan. He hates that someone else is playing with his toys.

The story also touches on forgiveness for past deeds that cannot be changed. Charlie talks about the mental and emotional abuse he had growing up with his parents. His mother locates him and sends him a message about wanting to see him. Charlie at first doesn’t want to go but eventually decides to take the opportunity to let his parents know how awful they were towards him growing up.

Both of his parents recognize what they had done to him and regret their actions. They offer heartful apologies hoping he will forgive them and accept them back into his life. It is at that moment that Charlie realizes that all he ever wanted was for them to acknowledge what they had done and to give an apology with meaning. It won’t erase what they did but allows Charlie to realize how all that he went through shaped him to be who he was, both the good and the bad. He can now move forward and make changes in his life for the better, for himself and not for someone else.

Though this may sound like it is a dark story, it truly isn’t. As I have stated, this is a fun and whimsical story that had me laughing throughout most of it. The crazy antics may seem impossible in real life, but when the reader thinks about it, we have friends, if not ourselves, that would do some of the crazy things Charlie does.

I do wish there was a sequel to this story, as I would like to see more of Charlie and Nathan, but the story wraps up so perfectly, I would hate to ruin that. I recommend reading this, and Cole’s follow-up book, Chasing Ghosts.


Dean Cole on Twitter

His Boy on Amazon

Chasing Ghosts on Amazon

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