Bernard: Diary of a 46 Year Old Bellhop
Author: S.L. Danielson
Distributor: Amazon Digital Services
Format/Genre/Length: Kindle/Romance/157 pages
Publisher/Industry Age Rating: 18+
Overall Personal Rating: A-
Bernard Covington is at the end of his rope in more ways than one. At the age of 46, he is unlovely, overweight, stuck in a dead end job as a bellhop at a hotel – and on top of all of that he’s a virgin who hasn’t got the balls to admit that he’s gay! What’s life got to offer him? Not a whole lot, so he’s opting out! Suicide attempt #4 – coming up!
Bernard utilizes both a large butcher knife and a bottle of pills this time, to “get ‘er done”, but instead he finds himself inside the ER of the local hospital, and the doctor who is on call on that particular night is gorgeous, while his nurse is incredibly kind to Bernard. Too bad he thinks he’s too much of a loser to deserve any sort of attention from anyone. And he feels it’s only a matter of time until he tries it again.
Doctor Jack and Nurse Nancy are determined to help Bernard, whether he wants it or not. They call in his mother, who is naturally concerned about him. They set him up with a therapist, Dr. Rasmus, whom Bernard finds he gets along with, surprisingly, and he discovers that he can talk to him about different things. When the time comes for his release, not only does Doctor Jack drive Bernard home, but he offers to spend some time with him, having taken the afternoon off in order to do so! Bernard is beyond speechless, he can’t believe that this beautiful man actually wants to be his friend. The more time he spends with Jack, the more he knows that he feels things for the doctor that he feels compelled to conceal, lest he ruin their growing friendship. Looking like he does, and being some ten years older than Jack, how can he possibly think that Jack would be interested in a loser like him, even if Jack were gay?
With the support of his doctor/friend, Bernard tries to put his life back together and make some much needed changes in himself. He and Jack only grow closer as time goes on. Bernard is becoming stronger, in some ways, but in others, he’s still the insecure overweight guy he always was, who is prone to tears and depression. When financial woes threaten to overwhelm him, Jack steps in and suggests that Bernard move in with him! Bernard decides to confess everything, and he finds that Jack has a story of his own to tell. When the scales tip in the other direction, and their relationship becomes unbalanced, can they put it back on an even keel?
Bernard is not your typical protagonist that you find in a m/m romance novel – he is 46 (old by the standards of some), grossly overweight, and stuck in a job with little intrinsic self-worth. I didn’t know what to expect from him, or his story. But I found myself being quickly drawn into his plight, and caring for him as a person, a real person, because face it, there are more Bernards in the world than pretty boys, and they have stories too.
Ms. Danielson’s prose is like Bernard – it’s plain and simple and to the point, and it conveys his story more eloquently than fancier words could ever do. She explores his feelings, his lack of self-esteem, his fears, his desire to be more than he is – and she does it well without being flowery. It isn’t until Bernard accepts himself for who he is and learns to love himself that he can affect any sort of changes in his life. I liked Doctor Jack who, even though he was a gorgeous guy, saw beyond the surface and into the inner Bernard. The good doctor has his own personal demons, and he is far from perfect. Bernard’s mother, Molly, is quite the character – she loves and supports her son and wants him to be happy, unaware that her requests for grandchildren drive him crazy. His twin sister Brenda is something of an enigma. He thinks that she despises him for being gay.
Together this is a story about a real person, one that you might find in everyday life – a person with real problems, looking for love, wanting to love and be loved in return. Isn’t that what we all want? I applaud Ms. Danielson for not sugarcoating it, and for creating such a wonderful hero in Bernard Covington, bellhop. I look forward to reading more of her work.
Overall Grade: A-
If you like SL Danielson’s Bernard, then try Lust in London, and Ranch Hands.