17 November 2014

Driving into the Sun by Dev Bentham

 Bad choices. We all make them, some more than others. Dusty’s choices have left him unemployed, broke and practically homeless. Despite the major issues he has with his family, his only rational choice is to sell everything and move into his parents’ basement. At thirty. Looking for a ride west, he answers a phone ad. The voice at the other end of the line flows like dark, rich honey. Finally something to look forward to—listening to Joe’s voice all the way from Illinois to Idaho.

Rather than the hip crooner of Dusty’s fantasies, Joe turns out to look more like a panhandler. Is that because Joe dresses down, or are Dusty’s preconceptions about Native Americans clouding his vision? Joe is silent more often than not. He has a complicated past and still has amends to make. But he is ready to move on. Dusty feels trapped. Two damaged men, one small car driving two thousand miles into the sun—sometimes things need to break down before they can get fixed.
Driving into the Sun is an absolutely beautiful love story: both external love between two people and internal love – learning to love yourself. Dusty is not in a good place in his life. He’s been unemployed for a year, ever since he lost his job in the financial industry and his boyfriend because his boyfriend was stealing peoples’ money. He feels he has no other choice but to move back home with his parents and hope that his brother will give him a job – not an exciting prospect as his father is homophobic and has not made his disappointment and dislike of Dusty’s sexuality a secret. But what’s a guy to do when it’s clear that his life has become a series of bad choices, one right after the other?

While Dusty does make a really bad choice to hang out with Ryder at the beginning of the road trip instead of staying with Joe, the “bad choices” that have put him in the situation where he feels like he has to go home is the choice of falling in love and trusting that the person he loves has his best interest at heart. Personally I don’t think that qualifies as a bad choice; rather it is a reflection on the other person’s character if they take something as important as love and misuse it. Unlike a lot of people, Dusty learns from his actual bad choices. Instead of whining about how unfair life is – and if anyone deserves to do that it’s Dusty – he sees his mistakes as the life lessons they are and resolves to do better.

It’s because of this that he finds himself quickly falling for Joe. After the fiasco with Charles, Dusty swore off men because he knew that he wasn’t the kind of guy who could separate sex from love and he just couldn’t go there again. But Joe’s actions spoke far louder than words (and not just because Joe wasn’t all that talkative), and Dusty found himself falling for Joe and I can’t fault him there. I loved the dynamic between Dusty and Joe. Even though they were only together for a couple of weeks, they got to know each other gradually. That may sound contradictory, but anyone who has ever been on a road trip knows that you get the real version of the person you’re with after a couple of days. I enjoyed witnessing their relationship develop and how Dusty helped Joe as much as Joe helped him. The sex scenes between Dusty and Joe are not only hot, but emotionally moving as well. But my favorite part of the book was when Dusty actually listened to what the people in his life were telling him, especially at his parents’ anniversary party, and made the decision to start his life over. Driving into the Sun is a book that I know I will read again. Ms. Bentham has done an excellent job in weaving Dusty and Joe’s tale and I look forward to checking out more of her work. 


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