Sweet Mungo – by Meriel Brooke – Review

The writing is excellent, story quite good but the characters just about OK

This is a tale of an abused child who tried to make the best out of his pitiable condition. From a terrible upbringing, he works hard to become an assistant stage manager and then an accomplished actor. He is also is a good singer. However, even as his professional life gets a kick, his personal life is in shambles. If being abused by his father and sodomized by his teacher were not enough, he is also gravely confused about his sexuality (and so am I!!!). The kind of home he was brought up in can be described best through this quote: “My mother does nothing without my father’s permission. We both keep out of his way as much as possible.” It is quite a solidly written piece although I wish I could say the same about the characters. Dialogs are sometimes too formal (“How fortunate I am to have heard those words from my two best friends. I don’t deserve your loyalty but I value it more than I can say. My ambition has made me self-centered, but now I’ve thrown away the career I’ve worked so hard for”) and at other times truly genuine and heartfelt.

Special moments like when Mungo was torn between deciding on whether to go for Nicki, Amy or Hillary, or Munroe’s molestation at the airport greatly makeup for the few flaws of the ebook. Regardless of the abuses, Mungo did get a lot of attention, no doubt, even if more from strangers than his own parents. Sometimes I felt sorry for her when the attention was harmful or uncalled for, and at other times I felt truly jealous! I suppose that is due to the power of Ms.Brooke’s writing. However, I am still torn between deciding whether Mungo was totally unlucky or deserved at least some of the crap he got (although the author did her best to portray him as a victim)? He is hardworking and sincere no doubt, but at the end of the day, despite the abuses he encountered, Mungo would have been more or less a selfish character had it not been for the selfless love he showered on Hillary (“I walked over to him and took his hands. I put his arms around me and he held me close”) and Amy.

Suffice it to say that I didn’t feel much for the characters – they were either too sweet or excessively brutal (and Mungo was well, a ‘victim’ with little personality of his own), but the writing is top-notch, no doubt. It is really rare to find such high quality writing in self-publishing world where hundreds of typos per ebook are the norm rather than exception. Recommended for serious readers of gay fiction.

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