Thursday, October 3, 2013

Review: When Love Is Not Enough (Unconditional Love, #1) (Bittersweet Dreams) by Wade Kelly

When Love Is Not Enough (Unconditional Love, #1) (Bittersweet Dreams)

by Wade Kelly
Published August 29th 2011 by Dreamspinner Press
Dreamspinner Press
File Formats Available: .epub, .lit, .prc, html, pdf, Paperback

My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

A six-year downward spiral into a world of lies and deception leads to the end of one man’s life when self-discovery crosses the line between being the perfect son or following his heart.

Jimmy Miller never intended to lead a double life starting the day he fell in love with Darian, but his parents’ divorce, fighting in school, and constantly keeping secrets for his closeted best friend and protector, Matt, force his hand. Jimmy finds the demands too great to withstand and ends it all prematurely, leaving behind an angry best friend and a shattered lover.

Matt and Darian cling to one another in the aftermath of their loss, forging a new friendship immediately tested by the truths of their relationships with Jimmy that are hidden in the pages of Jimmy’s journals. Will Matt and Darian discover what truly happened to their friend? And will this tragedy birth something beautiful between them as they learn the balance between life, family, and friendship when love is simply not enough?

"Those who are dead are not dead they're just living in my head..."

 I kept recalling these lyrics when I was reading When Love Is Not Enough. And these lyrics are perfect for this story as we know from the very start that we are learning about Jimmy after his death and when we relive his life, his loves, his joys and his pains, it really all does happen in our heads. Reliving Jimmy. Hoping against hope that something would crack somewhere and tell us why he went that fatal route.

After Jimmy died, Matt needed to find the answers to the whys of it. And we do get to find out the whys - it is all there in Jimmy's diaries. These are the diaries no one knew contained what. It is only through these diaries that we find out for ourselves the reasons behind a drastic and fatal decision.

Jimmy died. He killed himself. 

Reading this, we learn how he was loved by his best friend, his boyfriend, his father, even his highly dysfunctional mother whose erratic behaviours clues readers in that something was quite not right up there in her head. Yes, they loved him in their own way. Was it the kind of love Jimmy wanted or needed?  

So why was love not enough? Why did Jimmy feel that no matter how he was loved, this was no longer enough? 

This is also the story of Matt and Dare, those same two boys or men in The Cost of Loving (Unconditional Love #2). Here we find out the reasons why Jimmy withheld his relationship with Dare from the very person he should have opened up to: Matt. Here we find the reasons behind Matt's seemingly illogical reaction to Dare, how he finds himself breaking all of his self-imposed rules, how he finds himself seeking to hold this man in his arms and be the very knight in shining armor he always role played. We also learn the reasons behind Jimmy's decision not to let the two meet.

It took me a while to finally just jump into my fears and finally learn the whys. I read the second book first, too scared to even touch this one. I felt, at that time, that my fears would not let me through this book. I am glad I did that, for it took me some time to brave it up. I read this. Now I know.

Yes, sometimes Love Is Not Enough. Sometimes it is never enough. For people like Jimmy, his love for those around him and their love in return was not enough to break down the barriers he had created around himself. These barriers had been created to protect himself from his mother's psychological pressures. The pressures were just too much and although many thought that she was unbalanced, no one, not even Jimmy's father, acted on it. As time went on and the pressures kept building up, so did the invisible walls around Jimmy. As he grew up and faced other external pressures, the walls kept getting thicker and started weighing in. Externally he did act fine, he did look fine, he was fine! But he was not fine and his diaries tell all. And even then, these same diaries did not tell all for he had reached the point where he kept things even from himself. 

Like all pressures that start to get too much, once the point of no return is reached, it explodes, or in Jimmy's case, it imploded on him. So there were no external clues blatant enough for others to notice. And for Jimmy, it was too late. Love was no longer enough.

Wade Kelly told me to take this slow and to take my time, but she encouraged me to read this. I did, and I thank her.

This is such a beautifully written story filled with emotions that are hard to get over with. Yes, this did make me cry, but I had prepared myself a long time before I had the guts to finally just pick it up and read. And learn. This is a story that shows us parents that although we love our children, we need to be more observant, we need to not only hear them, but we need to listen to them, we need to accept them and to be their pillars to lean on. As Jimmy showed us, we parents and friends may do all these and do all the right things, and yet we continue to still lose a lot of our youth, our loved ones, for sometimes, yes, it is not enough. 

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