Entertainment :: Books

Looking After Joey

by Christopher Verleger
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Thursday Jul 24, 2014
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Every one of us, at one time or another, thinks his or her life is like a soap opera. We might even fantasize what it would be like to be a character in one of our favorite stories.

For Calvin, the main character in "Looking For Joey," award-winning author David Pratt's delectable comic romance novel, the fantasy becomes a reality when his favorite porn star steps out of the television screen and becomes an actual living, breathing person, as well as a daily reminder to be careful what you wish for.

Lonely, single and approaching middle age, Calvin spends his days working as an accountant, enjoying the occasional laugh with his catty best friend, Peachy. Often at night, he relies on the company of make-believe strangers with names like Roddd Packer, Reddy Toole and Jake Trouser Eagle.

One particular evening, Calvin awakens to find himself trapped in the sheltered universe of a gay porn movie, where no one works (except occasionally at the gym), everyone is irresistibly hot, despite a strict diet regiment of pizza and beer, and sex is not only constant but seemingly mandatory.

Calvin manages to escape, but only after having become better acquainted with a young "actor" of whom he is particularly fond, Joey Rhodes. Unbeknownst to Calvin, Joey follows him back to reality, where he is forced to learn--practically overnight--how to learn to be a gay man in New York City.

If you find yourself rolling your eyes upon learning the premise of this novel, fret not, because I shared the same sentiment, but almost instantly, given the author's crisp prose, bristling humor and likeable characters, I was hooked and soon found myself laughing out loud and simultaneously impressed with the originality of the story.
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More importantly and poignantly, Calvin and Joey's predicament evolves into a tender, heartwarming adventure, during which the clueless, innocent former film star matures into an admirable young gentleman, while his father figure adjusts rather well to playing the role of Henry Higgins.

Throughout it all, there is no shortage of dish to feast upon, as Peachy and Calvin attempt to assimilate Joey into the gay high society party scenes of Manhattan and Fire Island, where they cross paths with magnates in the arts, publishing and lubricant (no, that's not a misprint) industries.

David Pratt's "Looking After Joey" is a remarkably entertaining, ferociously amusing and surprisingly touching tale of friendship, family and the crazy things we do just to be fabulous.

"Looking After Joey"
David Pratt
Wilde City Press
$16.99

Chris Verleger is an avid reader, aspiring novelist and self-professed theater geek from Providence. Email cwverleger1971@yahoo.com.

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