Amy Lane’s Sidecar is a lovely trifle of a book that was sent to me by *Name Redacted* (oops! I mean Patty!) a couple of weeks ago, but I’ve only just gotten around to giving it a try because I was preoccupied with reading about Thea Harrison’s Wyr folk and Jordan Castillo Price’s Psycop world. It made for a nice change of pace from the (well-written and enjoyable) alternate worlds of those authors. There was no magic, or ghosts, or psychic talents, or anything of that sort. Instead, Sidecar is about two people lucky enough to find each other under rather terrible circumstances, and the resultant life journey they embark upon together.
Josiah “Joe” Daniels is the child of Quakers, and while he doesn’t actively practice that faith, many of its tenets are deeply engrained in him. As a result, he is constantly picking up strays of all kinds – dogs, cats, kids, the elderly – and making sure they get the help they need. Few would guess it to look at him though – from the description of his physical appearance, it sounds more like Joe should be a member of SAMCRO on Sons of Anarchy than a NICU nurse. Which is fitting, since he loves nothing more than to ride his Harley.
It’s the mid-1980s and Casey has just been caught by his parents having sex with a boy. His father is furious and immediately throws him out with only the clothes on his back. Joe happens upon Casey hitch hiking and living on the streets about two months later, and brings him home to feed him and give him a chance to clean up before handing him over to Child Services. When Casey sneaks into his bed to “pay” Joe for his kindness, Joe is horrified that a kid would do such a thing and makes him go back to his room immediately. (Honestly, I was relieved it went down that way. The ick factor would’ve been a little high for me otherwise.)
Sidecar is the story of Joe and Casey’s journey together over the next 25 years. There is no antagonist per se, only the mores of a society that wasn’t as tolerant or inclusive then as it is today. (And, yes, I know we’ve got a long way to go, but I think we can agree that things are better. At least in some states.) It’s sweet, and lovely, and has an epic gag about boogers. What more could you ask for?