Guest Audiobook Review: Everyday History by Alice Archer

Headstrong Ruben Harper has yet to meet an obstacle he can’t convert to a speed bump. He’s used to getting what he wants from girls, but when he develops a fascination for a man, his wooing skills require an upgrade. After months of persuasion, he scores a dinner date with Henry Normand that morphs into an intense weekend. The unexpected depth of their connection scares Ruben into fleeing.

Shy, cautious Henry, Ruben’s former high school history teacher, suspects he needs a wake-up call, and Ruben appears to be his siren. But when Ruben bolts, Henry is left struggling to find closure. Inspired by his conversations with Ruben, Henry begins to write articles about the memories stored in everyday objects. The articles seduce Ruben with details from their weekend together and trigger feelings too strong to avoid. As Henry’s snowballing fame takes him out of town and further out of touch, Ruben stretches to close the gaps that separate them.

Run time: 9 hrs 53 mins
Narrated by Daan Stone

Reviewer - R *A Reader Obsessed*


”Sex please, hold the love”

That is the mantra of Ruben. Charismatic, confident, everyone’s best friend. People flock to him to bask in his light, but Ruben’s barely a man, and when he surprisingly develops a crush on his high school teacher, he finds himself changed, intrigued, and determined to discover exactly what it is about Henry that makes him so enticing.

Henry and Ruben are vastly different in all the ways that could possibly count - looks, personality, age, and especially where they are in their lives. However, once Ruben graduates, they act on their attraction, and it’s explosive and intimate. In such a short time, they reveal and learn about the other with an intensity that far surpasses every prior experience… but just because they’re perfectly perfect for one another, they both know that Ruben is just not ready for such a commitment. They kindly use the other to take the next step towards a new chapter in their lives and part ways.

Not surprisingly, things don’t go as planned. Ruben is forever, irrevocably changed and compares everyone he meets to Henry, being unable to let go but stubbornly staying away. It doesn’t help matters at all when Henry starts his successful column commenting on the significance of what many would deem benign or ordinary possessions. He claims that so many of the items we own, all carry important meaning and value - whether it triggers a feeling, represents a life event, or brings up memories about a special person, and in Henry’s case, that person is often Ruben. When Ruben discovers this, it gets harder and harder to not be so mind blowingly affected, and he gradually realizes what needs to be done. Thus, a journey begins for both men - one chasing, the other trying to move on.

What can I say except that this was really beautifully written. It’s descriptive, evocative, sensual. You too, will be touched and moved by Henry’s musings, just like Ruben. You'll also feel Ruben’s own regret and desperation as he starts to form a plan and hopes he’s not too late to rectify past mistakes. The narration overall was very good. As a warning though, Daan Stone hardly varies his voice between exposition and the characters, and personally I had difficulty discerning who was talking at times, forcing me to push the rewind button often. That pales in comparison though, to the prose. This book was detailed in all the ways that were important, wrenching out those emotions and showing what love is - pain, pleasure, regret, how much it can torture, haunt, strengthen, and even grant acceptance and freedom. It showed just how deep that love can go, and where it can humbly start with something so simple as a pen, a photo, or an article of clothing, while at times those things leaving barely an impression, or perhaps, if one is lucky, representing the most important and profound part of the entire rest of your life.

Thanks to the author/publisher for the audio in exchange for an honest review.

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