Book Review – Not Quite Out

Author: Louise Willingham

Publication Date: February 9, 2021

Length: 338 pages

Read Date(s): June 15, 2021 – June 18, 2021


Goodreads Synopsis

William Anson is done with relationships, thanks. He’s starting the second year of his medicine degree single, focused, and ready to mingle with purely platonic intentions.

Meeting Daniel, a barely recovered drug addict ready to start living life on his own terms, might just change that.

There are two problems.

One: William isn’t out.

What’s the point in telling your friends you’re bisexual when you aren’t going to date anyone?

Two: Daniel’s abusive ex-boyfriend still roams the university campus, searching for cracks in Daniel’s recovery.

No matter how quickly William falls for Daniel, their friendship is too important to risk ruining over a crush.

William is fine with being just friends for the rest of forever.

Well, not quite.

My Review

I wanted to love this book so much because I was extremely excited to see a story from the POV of a bisexual man who was struggling with whether or not to come out. There are just a lot of things about this book that didn’t work for me. I didn’t enjoy the writing style. The author uses many of the same words and phrases over and over, which got on my nerves pretty quickly. I lost count of the number of times the characters asked each other, “Are you okay?” or some slight variation of that question. The pacing was also strange because it felt slow but also gave me whiplash with how abruptly some things happened.

The main character of this book, Will, is a creepy, obsessive ass. His constant dramatic breakdowns were annoying, and I hated the way he treated his friends. He latches on to Daniel and immediately becomes obsessed with saving him. Their relationship makes no sense to me. If I had been Daniel, I would have run so far from Will. Speaking of Daniel, the author really wasted his character. He experienced so much complex stuff in this book that was glossed over because the narrator of the story was Will. I would have loved to see an actual healing journey story from Dan’s perspective that chronicled his battle with addiction and his recovery from experiencing domestic abuse. He seemed like such a complex, interesting character that was made almost one-dimensional from the way Will perceived him.

Despite my dislike of the main character and his relationship with Daniel (and really almost everyone else in this book), I still appreciated the representation of his anxiety about coming out. The author did a good job of including some things specific to coming out for bisexual men. For example, Will wished that anyone would just ask ‘are you bi’ instead of asking ‘are you gay.’ That is something I’ve thought countless times. I also thought the book did a good job of representing fear associated with how to behave around other men when you are trying to stay in the closet.

Even though I didn’t like all the characters or relationships, I appreciated the messiness of them all. They were realistic people with real problems. If you like drama in your stories, you may like this one because it is full of incredibly broken people trying to navigate the complexities of life.

Overall, this book really wasn’t for me, but it does have some good aspects. Daniel is a fantastic character with a lot of potential and the representation of the anxieties of living as a closeted bisexual man was okay. However, I didn’t really care for the main character, Will, or his weird, obsessive relationship with Daniel. So, I rate the book 3 out of 5 stars.

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