cbr14bingo Shadow Level 3
The shadow of a relationship hangs over our main character Flo, as he spends the first time away from his longtime boyfriend, Bas in Dancing on the Volcano. But of course, shadows play a metamorphic role in a few different areas: the shadow of working with others and the lack of consideration for each other, the shadow of “what if?” and literally the Italian volcano that looms over the village.
While Flo is traveling, worried about issues with Bas, he is unaware of the beauty around him. Too caught up in his own issues, he cannot take the advice of the travel journalist he is accompanying as a photographer, he cannot seem to catch a break and get the “perfect shot” of the sunset, or just enjoy the moment. He is more worried about “getting back” than eating, taking in the experiences, or watching the mysteries of the volcano (well, okay, the fumes from it could kill you, but that’s no reason not to appreciate it, is it?)
Each chapter shows us a piece of the puzzle that is Flo’s life, and as he wonders The Ifs: if he he and Bas break up, if he and Bas add a third to their relationship, what if he goes to NYC to work on his book, what if he kisses another guy or more?
Can Flo appreciate what is around him, instead of just worrying? And yet, even when Flo and Bas are together, sometimes they are the most alone. But then again, things have a way of working out. Then again, can they or is there a time limit on love?
Based on some of Floor de Goede’s own experiences, we follow this man approximately 10 years ago. In his forward he does mention that this was written in a less “enlightened” time. There are triggers for casual sexual encounters, partying, non-politically correct images of body images of woman, there are less than flattering comparisons to a man his animal of the moment snoring, and less than flattering things said about the German people and the tourists they meet. There are also some extremely NOT appropriate for work illustrations, which I wish I had known about, or I would not have read on lunch, through the website I get e-galleys my work computer so all could see the two orgy scenes (mostly tastefully done, but still not appropriate for all audiences) or the black gentleman who is stripping out of a (think tiger… I was not really paying attention, just wondering why he was wearing a Furry-pajama costume) suit when we find out his biological gender is all its, ah, glory.
The illustrations are deceiving as they look cute and bubbly but are mature as well. Of course, I assumed (once getting into it) that it was not for kids but thought maybe teens. They are not overly colorful, but not muted. They are not overly detailed, but they get the action and points across. They support the story, but never really have a “life of their own” as they are the story as is the text. This is not a GREAT book, but not a bad one either. It is an experience read that affects people differently based on their backgrounds, personal beliefs and the mood they are in at the time of reading.