Title: Teaching Professor Grayson
Author: Kade Boehme and Allison Cassatta
Length: Novel (224 pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (November 21st, 2014)
Heat Level: Medium
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 4 Hearts
Blurb: Christian Grayson is a professor of sociology who comes from a close-knit Southern family steeped in values and tradition. He left Tennessee using education as his excuse for escape, when he truthfully only wanted the freedom to be who he truly was. But at age forty, he’s still in the closet and still adheres to the morals his father, a Southern Baptist minister, raised him with. This includes saving himself for Mr. Right.
CJ Hata has been under Christian’s wing since his freshman year. A genius, pure and simple, he’s a senior now and no longer needs to report to Professor G, but he still seeks his teacher out occasionally for a friendly chat.
When Christian accidentally outs himself to CJ while pouring his heart out about his dying father, CJ feels totally out of his element. He convinces himself to put forth his best effort because the man he’s been crushing on for four years needs a friend. In the meantime, everyone around CJ is stumbling out of the closet, but the one person he really wants to come out has barricaded himself in with the bible and his family’s expectations.
Purchase Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5715
Review: This was an extremely captivating read, in large part because both characters were not what one would expect them to be. Christian, the 40-year-old teacher is the virginal, closeted one, while CJ (the college student) is the more worldly and experienced of the two. I found this role reversal very refreshing. It’s not very often we see the younger MC learning patience and understanding, having to slow down and educate (of all people) his teacher. On the flip side, seeing the older MC struggle with who he knows himself to be versus his religious/family upbringing and responsibilities was absolutely intriguing.
While CJ did come across as snarky, I understood that. If you feel like in your 20’s you have it together, and yet the guy you’re falling for who is twice your age can’t seem to put one foot in front of the other without stumbling – well, how frustrating would that be? And Christian often seemed like too much of an innocent – but to be that 40-year-old feeling inept in his attempts to be what his young would-be lover wants, while trying to be true to himself – or who he thinks he should be… the amount of self-doubt that could generate would be of epic proportions.
Family and religion intersect to generate even more issues, and CJ and Christian have their hands full. The two repeatedly stumble and get back up again; they love, leave and return to fight for their relationship. Through their trials and errors, they do reach that middle ground and manage to be true to themselves and their beliefs.
Those of us who don’t see sexuality in limitations and constraints often forget that there are people and places that are not quite so liberal, and individuals who do have to deal with these conservative and antiquated values. This story so effectively portrays these circumstances and deeply resonated with me on many levels. I only hope that for every struggling ‘Christian’ in real life there is a ‘CJ’ waiting in the wings.
Christian and CJ teach us that where there is a will, there is, in fact, a way. I loved that they turned what was originally viewed as ‘black and white’ to ‘gray’. They showed that faith is what YOU believe, and how YOU work it into your life, and not what others want you to believe. It is because of this that I found myself rooting for them, wanting them to find their way to a future, their future.
Collaborative writing of a single work is not easy. Such endeavours are often apparent to the reader; the writing can seem disjointed and lack cohesion. This most assuredly did not occur here. Teaching Professor Grayson is a seamless effort, well written, and had I not known in advance this was co-authored, I’d never have guessed. Kudos to Allison Cassatta and Kade Boehme for this accomplishment. I truly hope there is more to come from these two in the future!
** I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through www.mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com **