Tigers and Devils by Sean Kennedy
Football, friends, and film are the most important parts of Simon Murray’s life, likely in that order. Despite being lonely, Simon is cautious about looking for more, and his best friends despair of him ever finding that special someone to share his life. Against his will, they drag him to a party, where Simon barges into a football conversation and ends up defending the honour of star forward Declan Tyler — unaware that the athlete is present and listening.
Like his entire family, Simon revels in living in Melbourne, Victoria, the home of Australian Rules football and mecca for serious fans. There, players are deemed gods and treated as such – until they do something to cause them to fall out of public favour. Declan is suffering a horrendous year of injuries, and the public is taking him to task for it, so Simon’s support is a bright spot in his struggles. In that first awkward meeting, neither man has any idea they will change each other’s lives forever.
As Simon and Declan fumble toward building a relationship together, there is yet another obstacle in their way: keeping Declan’s homosexuality a secret amidst the intrusion of well-meaning friends and an increasingly suspicious media. They realise that nothing remains hidden forever… and they know the situation will only become more complicated when Declan’s private life is revealed. Declan will be forced to make some tough choices that may result in losing either the career he loves or the man he wants. And Simon has never been known to make things easy – for himself or for others.
Why I bought it:
Well I must say that I heard some great things about the book and was encouraged to read this as an introduction to the sub-genre of MM romance. AND I should add that it was a gift; one that is most gratefully appreciated.
Dislike/like (ending on a high note):
I can’t say there was much to dislike about this story. If I really had to find something I just might say that at times I disliked Simon. WHY, you ask? Well keep reading…
The characters! They were so finely drawn that I began to believe they had become real people. Simon was so well characterised that every now and again I wanted to do a ‘Fran’ on him: I wanted to slap him around the head to make sure that he got his SHIT together. Declan was lovely, he reminded me of one of the players on my school’s football team, the silent and serious player. Both characters were lucky enough to have friends who kept them well grounded, which of course brought humour to the plot.
Nup, still can’t think of anything to dislike, unless you count the fact that it was 1.45am before I finished reading and it took a long time for my mind to slow down enough to get to sleep.
Loved: Sean’s style of writing. The language was so readable and the story moved at such a good pace that I cannot remember if I had a break from reading. I may have had a meal stop but I can’t remember ever moving away from my laptop. I enjoyed the fact that the story was set in Australia, I don’t often get the opportunity to read ‘home grown’ fiction. AND of course the story involved Australian football, both the sport and conversation of choice for ‘Stray-yens’ in the winter months.
The plot was exceedingly believable and there were no major sub-plots to get in the way of the story.
When I am reading for relaxation, I much prefer to read dialogue, and this book was written just the way I like. After teaching figurative language to teenagers I try hard to keep away from the flowery imagery contained in the ‘canons’ of literature and (to my everlasting gratitude) Sean delivered in Tigers and Devils. No overly long and convoluted paragraphs giving ‘superlative’ descriptions about a rainy day in Melbourne. Thank God!
So, what I think:
It was a wonderful book and has my recommendation as an introduction to the sub-genre. A truly great read. So, all I can add is: when is Sean’s next book expected to be published?
‘Tasting’ is my/Kris’ version of a mini-review where I talk a (very) little about what I liked and disliked about a book as well as who I think the story will appeal to. Oh, and I’ve added a bit about why I picked up the book in the first place – sometimes this can be interesting to know.