Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Review: Hanging by the Moment by H.B. Pattskyn

Hanging by the MomentHanging by the Moment
by H.B. Pattskyn
Published September 6th 2013 by Dreamspinner Press
Dreamspinner Press
Formats Available: .epub, .mobi, html, pdf
My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Pasha Batalov has lived his whole life doing what a good son is expected to do. He dropped out of school to help run the failing family restaurant, and ever since he’s put up with his difficult business partner, who also happens to be his father. And, of course, he keeps his sexual orientation a secret from his conservative Russian family. After being closeted costs him his first serious relationship, Pasha resigns himself to one-night stands and loneliness.

But after a chance encounter with lost delivery truck driver, Daniel Englewood, Pasha starts to question all of his assumptions about life. Daniel is sweet, funny, smart, drop-dead gorgeous—and for the last six years, he’s been living with HIV. Pasha worries that he won’t be strong enough to help Daniel if HIV turns to AIDS, but he can’t walk away from their deepening attraction. He also doesn’t know if he can be strong enough to face the hardest task that a relationship with Daniel demands: coming out to his family and friends, and risking losing everything else he holds dear.

This was just lovely.

It is my first time reading H.B. Pattskyn and honestly had no idea what to expect. From the blurb, I would suspect a plot with so much drama going on had the potential to get over-dramatic. I read it and found that it did have the usual drama, but there was also a lot of learning on my part and I surprisingly found it to be a light read despite the topic involved.

HIV is a subject not all readers would enjoy to read, many would even avoid a book with such a disease suffered by one of the main characters. The way the author wrote this, I found that there are ways to go around this disease despite the fears of it and those who do carry the virus can live normal lives. As long as they are responsible with their overall health and take the proper precautions to protect themselves from common infections as well as protect their partners who do not necessarily have to get infected themselves. This was such an eye opener for me and I am sure for other readers, so for that alone I appreciated this read so much.

I did find it frustrating the way Pasha's family thought they had a say in everything simply because they were related by blood. I come from such a culture and it can be frustrating and difficult at times (at time is putting it mildly!), getting away from prying eyes and separating the private from the public. Even more frustrating is that there seems to be a lack of a dividing line and everything is a grey area and so has the potential for a lot of malicious and unhealthy inter-family-gossip. I was proud of Pasha when he finally put his foot down, cutting the purse strings from a leech of a family member and finally getting the business back on track slowly but surely.

As for Daniel, he really was a different alpha male from all of the other books I had read. Although he was supposed to be the more dominant, I did not read him to be so egotistical to flaunt it and instead showed his weaknesses to Pasha - both the emotional and physical. This trait endeared him to me more than Pasha's character did and I so loved the way how he was sweet, understanding and just a stand up kind of guy. 

I was happy when Pasha's father finally saw through the difficulties and accepted Daniel. It was hilarious, really, that he preferred this partner of his child over and above his supposedly favorite son's wife. I know he claimed to read a lot to learn about his son's "lifestyle" but I honestly doubt if he understood everything and just was comfortable with the happiness his son was experiencing. Much like the happiness he had with his wife. I guess that is what really counts the most.

The title "Hanging By The Moment" is perfect for this book for it does reflect the saying that life is short so it is best to experience it fully rather than get hypercautious and lose out on life. Pasha and Daniel may have the shadow of a disease hanging over their heads but then again...


2 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for the thoughtful, lovely review! I grew up in a family a lot like Pasha's ;-) I think there are a lot of cultures that are like that.

    HIV was really tough to write about; I was about half way through the first draft when I found out via a random Facebook post that someone I used to go to high school with had HIV. We were close then but drifted--high school was over 20 years ago. It's not like I would have expected him to call me or anything, but it was still a blow to find out like that; suddenly the story I was writing became way more personal.

    Thanks again,
    Helen

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    1. No wonder your story had a personal approach. I did notice that aspect but was hesitant to make a comment. HIV is a very difficult topic and I was earlier briefed by my hubby how the rise in cases he sees even amongst children is causing our local medical community to take notice and action.
      This book has made me hyperaware now and I learned a lot.
      Thank you for writing this.

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