I had the pleasure this past week of reading the debut novel of author DeeJay Arens, The View From A Rusty Train Car. It’s a winner!
DeeJay’s first print effort is the story of two boys, Jared (Jed) and Luke who become friends as pre-teens in 1987 when Jared moves into Luke’s neighborhood. As time goes on and the boys pal around more and more – paying special attention to tree fort they’re building together and a rusty old train car near that and both of their homes – they grow emotionally close. Eventually, while they’re still quite young, they declare their love for each other. It’s when they do this that they realize that what they have is not what the people in their world want to see. Parents on both sides react violently and often as time goes on for the boys and, later, young men.
Jared realizes over time that he is gay. He works to live his life in peace but he just can’t seem to get past his feelings for Luke and move on. Luke meanwhile, does not believe he’s gay at all but that he fell in love with a person – Jed – rather than a gender. He tries hard to live the straight life his family wants him to live. His actions, a result of those of others who do not attempt to understand, have dire consequences.
This book has been described by others as a “roller coaster”. It is that and more. You’ll find yourself believing this work of fiction as though it were real as the characters and their circumstances make you want to scream or shake someone. It twists and it turns and it keeps you turning pages until the end.
Great job DeeJay! I can’t wait to read your next great novel.