“I’m conscious this could be rather burdensome to hear, but you remain the thing I have most chosen for myself. The thing that’s most exclusively mine. The one thing that brings me the deepest joy.”
Look, Alexis Hall can do no wrong in my book. Seriously. I’ve been reading his books for years; trekking though gay 50 Shades (the indomitable How to Bang a Billionaire series) to learning a WHOLE new subsect of the English language with the heavily accented Spires series (Glitterland is still one of my all time favorite books). I’d move mountains for this author because he contains multitudes in his pages; humor and angst ride side by side, wacky characters scream from his pages parallel to the ones who cry quietly out for help.
And while, Boyfriend Material actually isn’t one of my favorites that Alexis has done, damn was it a fluffy book worth reading and knowing. It’s the male Bridget Jones Diary and I did enjoy it.
Boyfriend Material introduces us to Luc and Oliver. Luc, not only a certified Mess™, but one who has to live with his Mess™ being tabloid fodder due to his aging, famous Rock Star dad, needs to get a boyfriend to clean! Up! His! Act! (it’s for the beetles, y’all). Enter Oliver, an unfailingly polite, ethical some might say boring barrister. They have nothing in common, yet they agree to fake date for a time before they part ways and never speak to each other again.
This is a wild ride from start to finish. Luc is snarky, witty and wholly relatable to all of us who are trying and sometimes falling to hold their adult lives together. And Oliver truly is the epitome of a perfect book boyfriend. Put them together and you have a mismatched comedic couple from start to finish. More on that: Luc and Oliver go well together even when they shouldn’t. The care for each other is present almost from their first meeting. And it only grows with the pages. Oliver gets Luc’s crazy; he understands it in an innate way that just makes you want to hold both of their hands and say “awwww.”
This book is a comedy. Luc’s inner monologue contains zingers that had me unattractively piglet snorting into my elbow. Oliver, who generally plays the straight man to Luc’s zanieness, has the most perfectly timed deadpan humor that I’ve seen in a long time. The book will have you rolling in parts.
However, there are some parts of the book that I tilt my head at. Number one, it’s a pretty long book with very little plot. That’s not necessarily a bad thing because it’s character driven, but I was about 150 pages in when I looked up and realized that… nothing had really happened. It’s a lot of inner monologue and banter and really nothing much actually happens until the ending fifty pages.
Also the amount of zany characters in this book can be tiring. One or two off the wall secondary characters always makes for great laughs. But one after the other, each one more out-there than the last, can get a little tiring. How is every single person in Luc’s life out of their fucking mind? I needed a nap and a xanax after keeping everyone’s quirks straight.
Luc. Baby boy. Dear God this kid is exhausting. In a good way! But also in a way that I don’t know how Oliver manages to deal with him. He is a bundle of angst and PTSD. Now much of that trauma is absolutely earned, he still makes decisions and acts in ways that had me shaking my head, uncertain how I’d be forgiving him if I were Oliver.
But I’m not Oliver and Oliver’s mellower personality is much more suited to keep that kid in check. Speaking of Oliver, towards the end you want to wrap him up in a blanket and hug the shit out of him. Then maybe hit him upside the head.
Overall, this book is a feel good book and we need more of them. It doesn’t pretend to be deep, or angsty for the sake of it. It dials itself up to ten on tropes and twenty on fluff and asks you to hold on until the end.