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Featured Story: Working It Out


Lugh

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Today GA is proud to say we are beginning our Hosted Author's Featured Story Mondays. We would like to begin this journey by introducing you, our readers, to one of our oldest hosted authors, Don Hanratty, and his trilogy, Working It Out. Cia was so gracious as to do our first review. If you can, stop by and give it a look and drop off a few reviews of your own. It can be found pinned on the GA Stories Welcome page for the next week.

 

 

 

 

 




review by Cia

 


The first stories I read on GA were Don's. Working It Out was a story I enjoyed immensely for many reasons. In order to review it, since it has been two years or so since I read it, I decided to give it a quick skim. That was about eight hours ago. In the midst of going about life-feeding the kids, grocery shopping, dishes and laundry-I was hooked once again.

 

That, I think, is one of Don's strongest attributes as a writer. No matter the content of the stories you can't help but be sucked in to their lives. Working It Out is an excellent example of that. The young men in the story are just entering college, they come from fairly affluent families and they're jocks on scholarship who become roommates.

 

Mike is gay. Matt is not. Somehow time and events change that. Yes, the guy turned gay for his friend who loves him is a plot device used by many but in this case Don not only made it seem plausible but as if there was no other direction for the story to take.

 

Over the course of the several years that the story encompasses many things happen to both Matt and Mike. Loss, pain, death, religion... these are all subjects that come up as they face death of loved ones, plus discrimination and violence after they come out. Their relationship shifts along with their relationship to the Broman family members who play key parts in the story.

 

All in all, while I don't think the story is strictly realistic, I was able to suspend disbelief long enough to enjoy it. With plenty of heartbreak, I barely came out of it without the sniffles this time. Don't even ask how many tissues I went through the first time I read Working It Out. That was between groaning and laughing at the Broman brother's torture of Mike with extremely lame jokes which inserted some much needed levity into the story.

 

Don's writing is nearly flawless when it comes to technical skills like grammar, punctuation, and spelling. He instills lessons along with some very pertinent life philosophy but he keeps it to a believable level. Many of the 'lessons' are ones that I think two college age guys with an actively involved, religious and conscientious family would be taught. Between those times the guys make mistakes, goof off and act like teenagers and young twenty somethings do. The story has several sex scenes as well as mentions of 'off-screen' sex. For this type of story, essentially a modern romance, they were vital for the storyline. The scenes themselves were well done, graphic but not vulgar, just as I imagine athletic sex between two young men like Matt and Mike would be.

 

So, my opinion? 4.5 out of 5 stars if I had to rate it. The story was an excellent work of fiction and one that I was happy to read again. It makes me think I should go back and read more of the older stories. Lucky for me Don has Working It Out 2 & 3 completed.

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  • Site Administrator

I wholeheartedly agree with Cia's review. Working it Out is one of my favorites. In particular, I think Don does a wonderful job of addressing religion and showing that you can be both gay and Christian.

 

Don also has a great story called Beloved that is currently in process. (careful though, it is already over 540,000 words and still going)

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I read this story way back when, even before I ever entered the GA chat room.

 

The story is enjoyable; I actually read it twice. But my major problem with it is that I don't think it's believeable that Matt would "turn" gay for Mike, no matter how good looking Mike is. I believe that we are born this way, so by the time a guy is college age, he is either straight or gay, and any thoughts of experimentation would be left behind in high school.

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  • Site Administrator

That is one of the things I had to suspend disbelief on as well. However, I'm not sure if a person would have no inklings that they would be willing to be in a same sex relationship until they were 18 or not. One thing you have to remember, Matt was written as being bi, not gay. The mindset of a person who is bi is not the same was one who is gay imo.

 

You can't lump everyone into the same mental progression when it comes to the realization of their sexuality. In some ways being bi can be more confusing. The degree of your attraction isn't all or nothing and for me, it very much depends on the person. It's feasible that Matt was the same way.

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Working It Out is by far one of my favorite stories, I read this years ago and have reread it at least a half dozen times.

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I agree with Cia about the sexuality development, Trevor. It can take some much longer to get a sense of just who they are. And sexuality isn't either/or. There are a lot of us that are truly straddling this fence with definite attractions to both sexes. This is even true of a guy who is pretty strait, but has a deep level of affection to a male friend to the extent that he is very willing to have sex with that friend. I don't think that it's hard to believe. And Don is an excellent writer and story teller.

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