Review: Momo, My Everything by Posy Roberts

William Harris is a reserved man, private and guarded. He has no one to go home to. He’s never found a man worth sticking around for. He’s never been in love. And he's convinced he's happy with his lone-wolf life.

Nate Kelly is William’s opposite, social and easy going. He comes into William’s life as the elegant geisha Momo. When William realizes Momo is a man in drag, he’s captivated.

From their first date, William’s world changes. Nate is nothing like his usual type. And William soon finds out being with this carefree man means always being on display and attracting attention, which makes him want to retreat. He tries to keep Nate at arm’s length, but it’s no use. Nate’s transformed his life in a matter of months and keeps drawing him back in.

If they stand a chance, William has to be comfortable standing next to someone so at home in the limelight. Their future together and William’s happiness depend on it. Is Nate the man finally worth giving up William's solitary existence? Is he worth sticking around for?

*Extensively reworked from the short story, The Measure of a Man.

I know it's gauche for a reviewer to compare books but I cannot figure out a better way to explain why this didn't work for me. Apologies for my creativite paucity.

I recently read The Impossible Boy by Anna Martin and if it were possible for a person and a book to have a meaningful relationship, we'd have one. Not that I was expecting a carbon copy of Martin's book, but I loved Stan's gender fluidity and Ben's acceptance of it and my motivation for choosing this was thinking it would be a different take on the theme. I'm increasingly drawn to gender fluidity, crossdressing and femme characters and finding the gems is sort of a vision quest. Momo, however, I wouldn't classify as any of the above.

Nate does crossdress as a geisha at a local Japanese restaurant on the weekends for extra cash, but that's not what I would classify as crossdressing. He is extroverted, out and proud about it, but I wouldn't characterize him as gender fluid or femme. Ergo my primary motivation for choosing the book was a non-issue and I found that deflating.

William is the narrator and simply put, I did not like him. He meets Nate as Momo, his geisha alter ego, and is intrigued despite the fact that he ordinarily goes for jocks. Frankly, I never understood why he has such a hard time admitting that he's attracted to an anomaly.

I understand how suddenly being faced with an attraction to Nate's Momo persona during sex could be jarring for a lifelong gay man, but there wasn't enough exposition for me to become sympatheic to William. I'm not saying it's not realistic, but I didn't like that he kept making Nate jump through hoop after hoop after hoop-friends, family, co-workers, his loctician, all of them had to give their stamp of approval for William to accept what, were he paying attention, he'd know already! It came across as him fundamentally believing Nate wasn't good enough for him and I find no enjoyment in one character treating another thusly. That was compounded by the fact that he kept telling Nate that he cared for and even loved him. We have a saying here in the South: 'the carpet don't match the drapes'. That's all I'm saying.

Even in his texts I could feel his flamboyance, and it made me happy despite myself.

This speaks to the larger issue which is I like characters capable of independent thought and William is not that guy. I also abhorred that he wasn't honest with Nate about how he was feeling after months of being together. I don't need characters to effectively communicate, but by the same token I can't abide non-communication AND cliches. Herein we have the love conquers all/magic peen as well as omniscience both of which served to circumvent an open dialogue and, thereby, relationship development. That coupled with the frequent time jumps served to keep me at arms length while, also, bypassing character and relationship development. So when the "big moments" came in their relationship I was left sputtering. I never felt their connection and found myself continuously hoping Nate would dump William like a bad habit.

I'm sure I'm in the minority here but I wouldn't categorize this as a romance. It's primarily a character study on a closeted man, struggling with insecurity and shaking off the shackles of societal expectations, though not a well executed one.

What little sex there is was somewhat stirring, especially that dance floor scene. That alone is worth a half heart. I never understood the obsession with the painted W at the nape of the neck thing. It felt like there was something more there that wasn't fully realized. 

So I'm left feeling like there was a wellspring of potential left untapped, thus I can't recommend it, but YMMV. I would encourage others interested to read other reviews before deciding.

A review copy was provided.

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