Review: Dear Alex by Clare London

Alex Palmer writes the “Dear Alex” Agony Uncle column for Meant for Men – a magazine aimed at gay men’s life and issues. What started as a genuine and ground-breaking feature has become a snark fest, due to Alex’s boredom and personal cynicism. His respect for the correspondents has dwindled away in direct relation to his own self-respect as a journalist. He no longer believes in his readers’ search for a soulmate, or in his own column’s headline: “Is He Really the One?”

In the early days, Robbie Cooke was Alex’s co-presenter on the magazine. They’d been lovers, too. But unlike Alex, Robbie still sees the anguish and need behind the letters they receive. He wants to help the writers, rather than turn their situations into journalistic entertainment. He and Alex may still have to work together, but their fundamental disagreement on how to run the column tore them apart as romantic partners.

Excess drinking and a succession of casual lovers is wearing Alex out, yet he’s in denial. He’s convinced he doesn’t need “Dear Alex” to set him straight about what’s wrong with his life. But when he’s alerted to the fact that Robbie may be in danger, he realises that what he’s really missing is his ex-lover’s care, compassion and love. The problem is, by the time Alex is desperate to make amends, Robbie may have already moved on.

This was originally published in the Dreamspinner Press anthology "Make Me a Match".

Ohhh, I do so love a bitter bad boy who gets a second chance and grabs it with both hands.

Alex and Robbie have worked together at Meant for Men for years and co-wrote the Dear Alex column with advice for the lovelorn. It started with the best of intentions, but as time went on Alex became more jaded and the tone of the column went from being a sympathetic ear to mocking ridicule, all in the name of entertainment.

 Robbie was less than thrilled with the evolution and their relationship suffered along with the integrity of Dear Alex. At one point Alex and Robbie were more than friends, but less than boyfriends. From what the story infers Robbie would have been very happy with something more, but that was at the same time Alex was on the road to Bitter City. The stars were just not in alignment for these two.

Thankfully they had a foulmouthed fairy Godmother type looking out for them in the form of their boss and a night of working on the column leads to some eye opening realities for Alex and I was just glad he paid attention. It’s a short story so waffling on his part wouldn’t have worked for me. One thing about second chances, there has to be enough time for organic resolution. I hate when a character is all douchey for the majority of the story and in the last 5% “sees what he’s been missing all along”. That doesn’t give me enough time to reconcile the two pieces to that character. But, this one worked and I believed in what he was feeling towards Robbie.

The only thing I would have liked was more of Robbie. I liked his character and we really only know him through Alex’s eyes. Not that he wasn’t a fully fleshed out character, because he was. I just wanted both sides to their story. Alex was good at seeing Robbie though, when he pulled his head out of his ass, and I liked the man that was introduced. So, that’s me wanting more of Robbie.

Overall a quick sweet read I would recommend for fans of second chances that are light on the angst.

For more info on Dear Alex check it out over on Goodreads!

**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**


  1. I quite like Clare London's books, I like the idea of misalignment stars finding their alignment, so I'm going to give it a go.

    1. You'll like it Lorraine, she writes such great characters you can't help but love them even when they're being clueless!

    2. I'm sure I will, the more I hear the more I like it.