Late last week, at work, I started reading the first book from Author Rodney Ross, The Cool Part of His Pillow. Rodney has some previous screen plays under his belt and a long list of “creative” awards from his career in advertising but he hadn’t attempted book publishing before this came out in May. I was betting on it being a good first effort and given the synopsis on the back of the book, I didn’t figure on it being provocative, so I was comfortable taking it to work to read during the slow periods.
I have to tell you, the first 25 pages of this are laugh out loud funny at times and I tucked right into it. You get two mid-40s gay men that have been coupled for more than 20 years. They have nicknames for everyone where snarkiness knows no bounds. They’re pretty well off (one, Andy, is a banker and the other, Barry, is an entrepreneur in the home furnishings industry) so they live well and enjoy life but, despite their relative wealth and stability, they’ve not adapted a “better than thou” syndrome.
Now, given the previously mentioned cover synopsis and the overview you can find on Amazon, you go into this book knowing that tragedy is going to strike this couple. Andy is killed in the story. What you need to be prepared for is a very palpable portrayal of Barry’s grief over his loss. Though I didn’t personally cry (maybe because I was at work), my heart absolutely went out to this fictional character. His story is the story of so many of us, gay or straight, that has had to try and come to terms with the death of a spouse and then to move on.
Though his grief is by no means lessened, by page 145, Barry does attempt to get a completely new start in a new place away from the history that he shared with Andy. It’s at that point that Ross ramps up some of the comic relief again. Barry begins working for a lunatic in the theater business – sort of – just to have something to do during the day and he begins trying to date. It’s in dating where Ross’ sense of humor comes back into play and we see some of the old snarkiness in Barry that made the very first pages of the book so much fun.
There are ups and downs from there… I just don’t want to give the story away. Suffice to say, you’ll be spellbound. The tale is well woven. I loved the book and I hope that it does well for Rodney Ross so that he quits trying to write screen plays and instead focuses on more fiction.