Fantasy Mystery Romance Comics Non-Fiction

Better Than People

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Better Than People (2020) Roan Parrish (Garnet Run)

I’ll be honest–I’ve been wanting nothing but comfort and fluffy reading right now, and Roan Parrish is generally the last author I’d turn to for that. Her other books–while excellent–have been extremely angsty. But reviews said this was NOT full of angst, and one of the characters has a house full of rescue pets, so I decided to try.

This wasn’t all fluff, but it also wasn’t angsty.

Jack had a good career as a children’s illustrator, until his partner and best friend screwed him over. Several months of wallowing in self pity were then followed by breaking his leg, and no longer being able to walk his dogs.

Username? He hated usernames. JackOfAllDogs, he typed. Then, with a guilty glance at the cats, he changed it to JackOfAllPets. Then he decided that looked too much like Jack off and changed it to JMatheson.

Simon has severe anxiety. That part of the story–seeing Simon try and manage his anxiety and sometimes failing to do so–was at times hard to read. But Simon’s issues were longstanding and although he didn’t succeed at being in public, he had coping mechanisms and was obviously doing as best he could. Except for the whole having friends things.

This part was always the hardest. The moment when he could see the person he would have been— the connections he would have made— if only he weren’t like he goddamn was.

The story is how while walking Jack’s pets, Simon slowly comes to talk to, and eventually trust, Jack. And how the two fall in love.

“I worked at a c-company before.” He shuddered. “It was awful. Cubicles and p-people and no one would leave me alone.”

“What’d they do?” Jack asked, preemptively furious on Simon’s behalf.

Simon turned to him, eyes wide with horror. “Talked to me! Had b-birthday cakes and— and holiday parties.”

Oh, Simon has the best grandmother.

“Don’t make the mistake of letting fear convince you that you already know the end of the story.”

So a little bit of angst, and a lot of work as the two try to navigate what Simon could and could not manage. But it was sweet, and dealt with grief and anxiety and pain in a real and honest way, that faced these issues, and made it clear they weren’t just things you could “get over” if you tried hard enough.

Publisher : Carina Adores
Rating: 8/10


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