After Christmas Eve
Author: Michael Rupured
Publisher: MLR Press
American release date: October 11, 2013
Format/Genre/Length: Novel/M/M Drama/225 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★
Philip Potter is looking forward to Christmas with his young lover, James. He’s a bit apprehensive, though. James has gone to see his wealthy father, Roland Walker—the same man who threw him on the streets after learning he was homosexual. But James has a dream of attending dance school and devoting his life to his passion. To make his dream come true, he needs his father’s help.
Unfortunately, Roland’s cruel refusal to fund James’ dream drives the young man over the edge and he takes his life. Philips arrives home to a confusion of police officers. One of them callously supplies the information that Philip’s ‘faggot boyfriend blew his brains out.’
Philip’s life is turned upside down. Fainting after he hears the news, he is helped up by a handsome man, English teacher Beauregard Carter, who helps him through the crisis, which is compounded the next day when Philip finds Faggots written on his living room wall.
Teenage boys are being murdered in the DC area, but it stirs little interested in the community because they are male prostitutes and gay. Philip finds himself a person of interest in the murders, and turns to the only attorney he knows—James’ uncle George, who seems much nicer than his brother.
Philip blames himself for not being there for James, and he’s at a bit of a loss what to do. Luckily, he has his dream job at the Smithsonian to ground him and give him something to hold onto. That, and his new friend Beau.
I first met Philip Potter in Until Thanksgiving, which is the story of his nephew Thad, and Josh Freeman. After Christmas Eve takes us back a few years, where we discover what helped make Philip the man he is in the first book.
I wasn’t sure how interested I was in a story about Thad’s uncle, but I quickly became rather enamored of the young Philip, appalled and horrified as well as amazed by his story. His youth and young adulthood was largely spent among people who didn’t understand him and didn’t want to. Prejudice and discrimination were rife. Gay men could not be themselves because many of the activities they enjoyed were illegal. Society was still greatly unenlightened, and horrible and cruel things took place under the guise of doing what was best for society.
Philip is a symbol of his time and his generation. Michael Rupured makes us see what it was like for men like him. Although I lived through that time, my life was rather insulated and wasn’t aware of such issues.
I came to like Philip, and felt for what he went through. I loved the ending and hope to see more. I do know a third book has been contracted. I will be reading it.
If you enjoy reading about characters who will make you care—make you feel—make you suffer and make you love—then this is the book for you.
Another winner from Michael Rupured. Keep the wonderful books coming, please!